Automakers Are Increasingly Adopting Circular Economy Strategies
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Automakers Are Increasingly Adopting Circular Economy Strategies

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Sofía Garduño By Sofía Garduño | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Thu, 03/17/2022 - 16:02

Volvo mixed two sustainability strategies, electromobility and recycling, in the development of its new C40 Pure Recharge. The vehicle was just released in Mexico, where Volvo has found a welcoming market.


“We are pleased with the results we have had in the last four years in Mexico. We grew over 30 percent in one year, 20 percent in another and 10 percent during the most critical time of the pandemic. This 2022 we start the year with 25 percent growth and we are coming for more,” said Raymundo Cavazos, CEO, Volvo Cars Mexico.


The C40 Pure Recharge is the brand’s first fully electric motorized automobile. The vehicle is leather free and has partially recycled carpets. “Sustainability is as important as safety to us”, said Håkan Samuelsson, CEO, Volvo. By 2040, Volvo aims to achieve climate neutrality and since 2019, it has vowed that every new car will be either partially or completely battery powered. Also, by 2025, Volvo aims to use 40 percent of recycled aluminum, 25 percent of recycled steel and 25 percent of bio-based plastics in its vehicles.


The circular economy strategies that OEMs are implementing towards a greener future are a response towards the increasing scarcity of resources. Using recycled materials in vehicles is gaining popularity among automakers because sustainable value chains are becoming more important for the industry, as reported by PWC.


Mercedes-Benz, for example, is working towards the use of recycled materials in its vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz EQC, for example, can be ordered with components that replace plastic for recycled materials and textiles made entirely out of recycled PET bottles. Likewise, the Mercedes-Benz EQS is composed of 80 percent recycled steel. By 2030, the automaker expects to increase the use of secondary raw materials in 40 percent of its vehicles. The company has even started building its own recycling plant in Germany.


General Motors (GM) is also increasing the use of sustainable materials. Some of its vehicles have components made out of recycled materials such as fiber made out of plastic bottles.  Over the next 10 years, GM aims to achieve 50 percent of sustainable material content in its vehicles.


Auto brands are also promoting recycling vehicles at the end of their lifecycle. Volkswagen (VW), for example, claims that 95 percent of a VW vehicle can be recycled and has invited the public to take their car to a certified recycling center. GM has also identified components with potential to include recycled content such as fans, floor carpets and console retainers. The waste of a vehicle can be used for construction or as a heavy petroleum replacement, among other uses.


Automakers are also being pushed towards recycling by local legislation. For example, the EU’s Directive on the End-of Life Vehicles aims to prevent vehicle waste and encourage their recycling to reduce waste.



Photo by:   Pixabay, RoadLight

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