Preparing for circularity

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Overview of the most promising solutions for circularity

Low-carbon materialsRecyclers and material suppliers deploy energy-efficiency measures and scale the use of renewable energy in the recycling of automotive materials.
Low-carbon productionOEMs and component suppliers deploy energy-efficiency measures and scale the use of renewable energy in component production and vehicle assembly.
Minimised production scrapOEMs and component suppliers collaborate with material suppliers to reduce material scrap in production.
Modular vehicle designCars are designed based on a modular concept that simplifies repair, disassembly, and remanufacturing.
End-of-life managementIndustry works together to increase efficiency of disassembly. Components and materials are channelled towards specialised facilities.
Circular material stockAll materials are 100% recyclable. Waste is reduced and materials are recycled at the highest level by specialised recyclers.
Components as serviceCritical components are sold as a service rather than as a product by OEMs. For instance, batteries are a high value component with the potential for an extended life in automotive and non-automotive applications.
Reuse and remanufacturing at scaleNecessary technologies are improved, processes automated, and large-scale facilities established to increase cost-competitiveness.
Workshops as a circularity hubWorkshops increase cost efficiency, optimise maintenance services based on predictive analytics, and use manufactured parts as the default option.
Purpose-built vehicleOEMs provide purpose built/purpose adjusted vehicles to mobility providers, that enable improved capacity use and optimised vehicle lifetime.
Alternative drivetrainOEMs scale alternative drivetrain solutions with substantially lower exhaust emissions to reduce use phase emissions.
Energy grid integrationOEMs scale smart charging and vehicle- to-grid technology for battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and fuel cell electric vehicles.
Leasing and subscriptionOEMs and fleet management companies increase their offerings for fleet-based private mobility.
Vehicle on demandA variety of on-demand solutions are already on the market, including car rental, car sharing, P2P sharing, and micro mobility.
Mobility on demandRide pooling has the potential to optimise capacity use of the vehicle by increasing life-cycle kilometre per vehicle, as well as the average number of passengers.
Breathing fleetsFleet management companies share the fleet across multiple service offerings. Cars are shifted from one service offering to another.
Source: Raising ambitions: A new roadmap for the automotive circular economy (World Economic Forum)

OEM action

OEMs are already taking significant action around circularity. For instance, BMW¹, together with its national sales companies, has 2,800 return points in 30 countries offering environmentally friendly recycling, while the group currently manufactures an average of just under 30% of its vehicles from recycled and reused materials.

Through BMW i Ventures, the group has also invested in key technologies that can make a decisive contribution towards achieving its long-term vision of carbon neutrality. For instance, it has invested in Prometheus Fuels, which has developed technology that enables carbon-neutral synthetic fuels to be produced using green energy.

By the end of 2025, Audi² wants to reduce the environmental impact of group sites by 35% per car produced, compared to 2010, and its vision is to produce vehicles at all sites with no CO₂ emissions or wastewater. The company is taking steps to make the life-cycle of batteries as sustainable as possible, while it has also launched the Aluminium Closed Loop project in which offcuts are returned to suppliers and recycled.

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