BMW’s new Hungarian plant to be world’s first fossil-free car factory


German carmaker BMW plans to run its new factory in Debrecen, Hungary, fully on renewable electricity, completely dispensing with fossil fuel, the company’ chief executive Oliver Zipse said on the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday.

The majority of the electricity required for production would be generated directly on site, with the rest coming from renewable energy sources, said Zipse. The plant’s construction will begin on June 1, and the first pre-series cars of the all-electric Neue Klasse are scheduled to hit the market in 2025.

The decision not to use natural gas at the facility was made to reduce the carmaker’s carbon emissions, stated the company’s spokesperson, adding that the concept will ensure security of supply and price stability.

To date, the carmaker uses natural gas in its production process mainly to run combined heat and power plants and for the ovens in its paint shop. In 2021, the company consumed 3.5 million megawatt hours (MWh) of natural gas globally, accounting for more than half of the company’s total energy consumption of 6.5 million MWh.

The plant in Hungary is expected to have a production capacity of 150,000 cars per year, including traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and electric vehicles, creating more than 1,000 jobs.

The investment in this case was one billion euros, with the Hungarian government providing a subsidy of 12.3 billion forints (approximately 32.13 million euros).

Beside the decision to power Hungarian factory with green energy, the company also announced that it is utilizing innovative technology and taking advantage of new choices to preserve resources and minimize emissions from painting bodywork.

The company becomes the world’s first automaker to use matt paints derived from biomass instead of crude oil in its European operations.

By adopting more sustainable product for vehicle coatings, the company can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 40% per coating layer, reducing emissions in plants by more than 15,000 metric tonnes by 2030.

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