Today is no different. Cars are becoming an extension of smart technology, designed to complement our wide shift towards convenience, connectivity – and sustainability. Vehicles like the Audi e-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace are in high demand because they’re powered by electricity and offer a sleek, futuristic look.
When it comes to the future, this is just the beginning.
A perfect storm
It’s difficult to think of a time when manufacturers have faced such a perfect storm of pressure for change to be achieved quickly. Demands are coming from three directions: legislators, investors and customers.
Legislation is a major driver for change, with the EU having set an obligation to become greenhouse gas neutral by 2050, while its 2030 reduction targets have also been increased from 40% to 55%. Road transport is a major source of greenhouse gasses, producing around 15% of the EU’s CO2 emissions.
Funders, too, are increasingly interested in sustainability.
“Attracting capital markets and funds that lay key emphasis on environmental, social, and corporate governance, which in turn raises capital funding,” says Matthias Schmidt, European Autos Market Analyst at German-based Schmidt automotive research.
There is also consumer pressure. In a recent UK survey two thirds of people questioned said they considered the environmental impact of their latest vehicle before the purchase, with over half (52%) stating that it would be the primary consideration when deciding on their next car purchase. It also found that people were willing to pay over £2,000 (about € 2,700) more for a vehicle with a greener emissions rating.
This means the automotive sector has to re-evaluate everything from fuels to supply chains, design and marketing.
Contrary to some public opinion, the car industry realises it needs to get onboard with sustainability and is already taking major steps to do so, says Martin Ledwon, Vice President Marketing, Sustainability and Communications at UPM Biochemicals.