Vehicles have a dramatic footprint on the environment, with tailpipe emissions, car body manufacturing, and road infrastructure driving global warming. Fuel emissions cause up to 90% of the industry’s negative impact on the planet, but plastics, battery acids, and by-products of manufacture also remain in the environment for many years. Consumers have voiced their interest in backing sustainable companies; however, top manufacturers are sitting up and taking notice, setting new sustainability standards, and developing innovative eco-friendly materials. The following are just a few ways car design has become more environmentally friendly in recent years.
Photo by Sarmad Mughal
Marques like BMW, Porsche, and Land Rover are making synthetics and fabrics ‘in’ once again for car interiors to make ‘green’ and ‘stylish’ synonymous. Forget about sitting in a luxury car filled with bovine skin; it’s all about organic, natural materials catered towards customers who are interested in luxury alternatives to leathers. Bentley, for instance, is wooing eco-friendly buyers with seat upholstery made from a 100% organic leather-type textile. At the same time, BMW has designed beautiful faux leather seats made from recycled raw materials, as well as textiles made from wool. Porsche, additionally, offers buyers of its futuristic Taycan electric vehicle the option of fully vegan interiors, with carpets made of recycled fishing nets. Polestar is another company aiming to reduce its carbon footprint by using natural fiber composite solutions to reduce plastic content, reduce weight, and improve crash behaviour in internal panels.
Titanium-Based Exhaust Systems
Lightweighting vehicles is a priority for manufacturers who wish to improve fuel economy and increase vehicle efficiency. As stated by experts at www.tmstitanium.com, titanium is an ideal material for this purpose since it combines lightness with strength, high-temperature resistance, and 100% recyclability. Today, titanium is utilised in exhaust systems and engines in vehicles like the new T.50s Niki Lauda Supercar and the Chevrolet Corvette Z206, owing to its ability to improve fuel combustion and acceleration while boasting anti-corrosive properties.
Manufacturers often use TPO plastic sheets for the dashboards of C-segment cars. Although these sheets are recyclable, a problem arises in two of their primary materials – polyethylene and polypropylene. These materials require petroleum to be converted into useful material, thus resulting in carbon emissions. South Korean brand, Hyundai, has set new standards in this respect. Its Soul EV model, for instance, has a dashboard made from bioplastic with a difference – it is made of biomass and has a carbon-neutral impact.
100% Recycled Vehicles
In October 2020, thermoplastic honeycomb core manufacturer, EconCore, formed part of a team that built a car made entirely out of recycled materials. The concept car was an electrically powered, lightweight vehicle put together by the ecomotive team at the Eindhoven University of Technology (EUT). The vehicle’s entire chassis was made of PET honeycomb cores to demonstrate how flexible recycling materials can be and how effectively they can combine qualities such as lightweightedness, rigidity, and strength.
Consumers increasingly show their interest in backing sustainable enterprises, and the car manufacturing industry aims to fulfil their demands. From sustainable interiors to exhaust systems made with 100% recyclable metal, car components, systems, and bodies increasingly create a smaller carbon footprint. Concept cars such as that produced by the talented team at EUT, meanwhile, show the extent to which carbon-neutral car manufacturing can soon become a realistic aim for committed firms.