BMW issued a warning that the embargo on Russian natural gas will bring the entire German auto industry to a standstill. To wean itself off natural gas, BMW is exploring investments in solar, geothermal, and hydrogen energy, and plans to build the world's first car factory entirely free of fossil fuels.
BMW production director Milan Nedelkjovic said in an interview that the company is looking into adding solar panels and has a plan with the local government to deliver hydrogen to its plant in Leipzig, Germany.
He also added that, outside Germany, BMW's new plant in Debrecen, Hungary, will switch to solar power on a massive scale, while researching the use of geothermal energy, and it will be the world's first car factory to be completely free of fossil fuels.
Geothermal power is more stable than weather-dependent renewables, but its high up-front costs and complex permitting procedures for drilling cannot compare to wind or solar.
It is reported that 54% of BMW's energy consumption in 2021 will come from natural gas, while natural gas consumption in the entire German automotive industry accounts for 37% of the total. Therefore, not only BMW but the entire auto industry is greatly affected by the embargo policy. To break free from dependence on Russian gas, the German auto industry wants to build a new system to ration existing supplies in the event of a sudden stoppage.