The important criterion of environmental performance

Statutory requirements and a general rethink among end customers, vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers have brought about a greater focus on sustainability in the automotive industry. As a consequence, environmental performance also plays a key role in the InCar®plus project.

The ecological sustainability of the solutions was evaluated using life cycle assessments (LCAs). These take a holistic approach by considering the entire life cycle of a vehicle: from raw material extraction and material manufacture to component production and vehicle use to subsequent recycling. A wide range of environmental impacts are taken into account. In addition to global warming potential, other impact categories, individual emissions, water/resource consumption and energy requirements are analyzed.

While the body sub-project is aimed at reducing environmental impact primarily through lightweighting, optimization of the powertrain contributes to improving efficiency. In some cases these efficiency measures have a disproportionately high effect on emission reduction. Another focus of InCar®plus is the electrification of the powertrain. Reflecting the holistic approach, how the electricity is produced plays an important role. Depending on the country-specific electricity mix, results can vary widely. The greater the proportion of renewable energies, the better the LCA.

Lightweighting measures, efficiency enhancements and electrification of the powertrain enable emissions in the usage phase to be significantly reduced. This is increasingly shifting the emphasis of environmental impact toward the production phase, which in turn increases the importance of sustainable material and technology selection. An integrated approach is also crucial here. Only a combination of body, powertrain, chassis and steering system measures will contribute to tomorrow’s sustainable mobility.

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