BMW has been quietly investing in sustainable ways of making cars for quite some time now. The first major step was made when the BMW i sub-brand was founded, with cars like the BMW i3 and i8 being made with renewable energy. To this end, the Leipzig plant, where the i3 is made, has been fitted with four wind turbines that generate the power needed for the assembly process among other things. For this year’s Advent, the turbines were lit up to replicate candles.
Each Advent Sunday, one more of the turbines is lit up in bright white rather than the usual blue, until the Fourth Sunday of Advent, when all of them will be aglow. Each ‘candle’ is evenly illuminated by the eight powerful LED lights that surround it and are powered by electricity from the turbines themselves. This is basically their second job now, as they did so well on providing power for the Leipzig plant.
At 190 meters high and with nominal power of 2.5 megawatts each, the turbines generated a combined total of 26.4 gigawatt hours of electricity purely from wind in 2019 – enough to power more than 5,000 three-person households for a year. The wind turbines provide about one fifth of all the electricity used at BMW Group Plant Leipzig. When production is not running, they power other areas of the facility and ensure the base load is covered.
In addition, they feed energy into the BMW Battery Farm, which is also located on-site at Plant Leipzig. The battery farm comprises up to 700 interconnected high-voltage BMW i3 batteries and has been in operation since 2017. In combination with the turbines, it connects the plant’s own renewable energy generation with a local energy storage facility and a major industrial consumer. Being integrated into the public grid as well, the battery farm helps to reduce the load on the network and contributes additional power.