The environmental impact of the automobile and its components is of growing importance not only in public debates but also in the complex decision making process regarding future car concepts. To calculate the environmental compatibility of car components BMW has developed various quantifying instruments and a holistic Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) approach.
The development phase significantly affects the entire life-cycle of a product. Suitable design criteria, recycling requirements and in-house standards have therefore been developed and established.
One of the most important objectives in optimizing the environmental compatibility of the automobile is the realization of intelligent lightweight concepts. This means one has to find the most appropriate solution in terms of ecology and economy. Due to modern development processes car manufacturers and their suppliers have to intensify their cooperation also in this area.
This paper presents some results of the cooperation between BMW and Hydro Aluminium for optimizing the life-cycle of various lightweight door concepts. Some general conclusions and „lightweight laws” have been deduced therefrom.
This integrated life - cycle approach on a component base has the potential to become a practical development tool for managing the additional conflict of objectives with a view to the life-cycle ecology and economy of the automobile.