Carmakers improve resource efficiency in 2010

23rd November 2011


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UK automotive manufacturers lowered their carbon, water and energy intensity during 2010, but could not improve on pre-recession figures.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) 12th annual sustainability report reveal that as output from the sector increased by 27% last year, leading carmakers were able to cut the amount of CO2 emitted in producing cars by 10.5%, from 0.9 tonnes in 2009 to 0.8 tonnes.

However, carbon intensity remained higher than in 2004–2008, where figures dropped closer to 0.7 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle. Similarly, in 2010 manufacturers used 8% less energy and water to make each car than in 2009, but the figures remain higher than those of 2007 and 2008.

More positive results were seen in terms of waste, with firms cutting the amount of waste to landfill to 8.8kg per car – an 18% improvement on 2009, and a 69% fall since 1999.

Also, emissions from new vehicles continue to fall with CO2 from new cars dropping a further 3.5% to 144.2g/km. According the SMMT, in 2010 half of all new cars had an emissions rating of below 140g/km and the number producing less than 100g/km doubled.

“We are making significant steps towards creating a globally competitive UK automotive sector, while keeping an eye on improving our environmental credentials to ensure a strong, long-term future for the industry,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.

“Manufacturing is vital to a rebalanced economy and cleaner, greener processes will support the transition to a low-carbon future.”

The SMMT’s annual report, includes data from 18 firms including BMW, Toyota, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover and Vauxhall, which are committed to controlling and reducing the environmental impacts of their company operations and improving the fuel efficiency of their products.

The report also reveals that the participating firms are increasingly embracing renewable energy, with installations at their sites producing more than 36GWh of electricity during 2010, saving 19,000tonnes of CO2.

At the same time SMMT has awarded Jaguar Land Rover an award for automotive innovation, for developing a protype of the world’s first luxury hybrid 4x4, the Range_e.

The Range_e, which was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, can emit as little as 89g of CO2 per kilometer.

Everitt said the protype clearly demonstrated the automotive sector’s commitment to lowering vehicle emissions, while meeting the demands of consumers.

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