The MINI Cooper SE Convertible will go down in history as being BMW Group’s first production car to feature alloy wheels made from 100% recycled aluminum. Granted, the zero-emission cabrio is limited to 999 units and is not sold all over the world, but it does highlight the company’s ambitions regarding a circular economy. To make it happen, the automotive conglomerate joined forces with wheel manufacturer Ronal.
Compared to a regular aluminum wheel made in the traditional way, BMW and Ronal were able to cut CO2 emissions during the manufacturing process by as much as 75%, from approximately 130 kilograms (287 pounds) to just 30 kg (66 lbs). The new shoes made entirely from recycled aluminum boast aerodynamically optimized real metal inlays and a neatly designed center cap to make them stand out. As with most EVs, the wheels have an aero-focused design to reduce drag thanks to a complete enclosure of the wheel exterior.
At the end of the MINI Cooper SE Convertible’s life cycle, the wheels can be fully recycled. This is a 17-inch cast alloy wheel with an Electric Power Spoke two-tone look specific to the limited-run model. As for the car itself, it’s made in The Netherlands by VDL Car alongside the conventionally powered Convertible. The Cooper SE Hardtop is built at home in Oxford, UK.
MINI has already announced the next-generation Convertible will be assembled in Oxford, likely from around the middle of the decade. In the meantime, the hatchback in both ICE and EV flavors will transition to the next generation later this year. The purely electric model will no longer be assembled in the UK as production will take place in China.
Before the end of this year, we’ll also see the new Countryman. To be manufactured in Leipzig (Germany), the compact crossover will be offered with combustion engines and electric drivetrains. Come 2024, MINI will indirectly replace the quirky six-door Clubman with a small electric crossover previewed by the Aceman concept.