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February 2022 | Companies

Sustainable Mobility: What Is the Role of Automotive Component Manufacturers?

Sustainable mobility is a central topic for both public and private stakeholders. It's a goal that the European Union has set a deadline for: 2035, the year in which the production and sale of cars with internal combustion engines are targeted to end.

The goal of sustainable mobility presents a series of challenges for which the automotive sector is already working on a new roadmap based on the sustainability of all processes.

 

Sustainable mobility in the automotive sector: Key challenges

 

To achieve sustainable mobility, the automotive sector faces four main challenges.

Renewal of the vehicle fleet to achieve sustainable mobility

Spain has one of the oldest car fleets in the EU, and the transition to cleaner mobility has implications at all levels.

State aid plans for the purchase of sustainable vehicles are a crucial step. In this regard, various market studies and opinions indicate that a significant number of consumers would be willing to change their buying habits to reduce environmental impact.

Phasing out internal combustion engines

The phase-out of internal combustion engines must be accompanied by the establishment of efficient charging infrastructure and networks. The production of green energy must also be promoted for this new paradigm. Renewable energy sources will be essential in achieving emission neutrality.

Repurposing components for driving sustainable mobility

Recycling and reusing components play a crucial role in achieving ambitious European environmental plans for sustainable mobility. The sector of automotive component manufacturers in Spain has been committed to recycling, remanufacturing, and reusing components for many years.

The circular economy framework for automotive component suppliers already allows for the recovery of up to 95% of a car's parts. This recovered material is reintroduced into the industry or directed to other commercial niches.

R&D oriented towards achieving sustainable mobility

To make the electric vehicle the car of the future, ideal conditions for its use must be developed. Innovation plays a crucial role in this regard. The automotive sector is one of the largest investors in the vital process of R&D and innovation.

Innovation and the development of new systems and technologies are deeply embedded in the component industry, which in Spain alone invests three times the national average, equivalent to 4% of its turnover.

 

Decarbonization, another major challenge for the automotive sector to achieve sustainable mobility

 

The role of automotive component manufacturers is essential in achieving the decarbonization of the automotive industry. Different methodologies can be observed aimed at achieving the goal, such as digitization, for its role in improving energy efficiency, or, as mentioned earlier, the contribution of materials to decarbonization through the circular economy, process improvement, and the substitution of synthetic elements.

A few months ago, the Repsol Foundation Chair for Energy Transition at the Pontifical University of Comillas analyzed the keys to decarbonizing the automotive sector in a seminar. This event featured the presence of some companies affiliated with Autoparts from Spain, such as Gestamp or Grupo Antolín.

During the seminar, Santiago Esarte, Advanced Manufacturing Manager at Gestamp, stated, "We need information that goes beyond energy consumption and process optimization based on data and evaluation of new procedures."

Carolina Valdivielso, responsible for Climate Change and Circular Economy at Grupo Antolín, also present at the event, emphasized automobile recycling, sustainable materials, and raw materials, emphasizing the need to replace synthetic fibers with natural ones. "We must achieve waste reuse by providing value inside and outside the industry, integrating plant fibers sustainably," she highlighted.

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