BMW has flagged the potential to upcycle older cars in greater numbers than today as a means of reducing waste, instead of continually buying new ones.

    The idea was put out there by BMW’s sustainability team lead Monika Dernai, at a speech in London reported by Auto Express.

    “We really need to think about prolonging the life of cars; not having a used car market where you sell cars to each other, but maybe take a car and extend its lifespan,” Ms Dernai said.

    “The idea could be that you could freshen up the interior,” she added, suggesting that reducing consumption is an important component to reducing our environmental impact.

    “We need new skill sets in the aftermarket and to design cars so that the seat can be removed and a fresh seat can be moved in – then it’s a used car that looks like a new car,” she added.

    Whether her bosses atop BMW love an idea that might reduce new car sales is another question altogether, but it would clearly reduce emissions. Building cars is an intensive process.

    “It can have the same owner, who then doesn’t buy a new car, but we still have a business model as BMW and the whole of society benefits from that,” Ms Dernai contended.

    “Can we actually just move everybody to public transport? I think the answer is no. You’re worried about the public transport in the UK, but if you look at the US it’s even more desolate. So I think there’s still a market for cars out there.”

    Upcycling is a nascent industry, but there’s a growing trend of electrifying classics. The industry move to software updates over-the-air also represents a paradigm shift in how long tomorrow’s car will stay shiny and new, as well.

    What are your thoughts on this idea?

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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