Why cars must live longer to cut CO2 emissions

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One automotive giant says the prospect of a 15-year lifespan is ’not crazy’

Automotive giant Stellantis wants to extend the life of its vehicles beyond the current 12-year average to 15 years.

To achieve this, the parent company of Citroën, Fiat, Peugeot and Vauxhall will seek to salvage reusable parts from scrapped cars, which will have the added benefit of reducing its overall CO2 footprint.

Alison Jones, the company’s head of circular economy, told Autocar that the reuse of components is part of Stellantis’ pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2038. When quizzed on the 15-year lifespan of a vehicle, she said: “I don’t think is too crazy”.

Department for Transport figures show that the UK car parc is one of the youngest in Europe at an average of 8.6 years. For context, the figure in Germany is 10.1 years. New car sales have been fuelled by low-interest PCP offers, scrappage deals and the high value of scrap.

In September 2022, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares announced that the company’s Circular Economy Hub in Mirafiori, Italy, will become a used vehicle dismantling centre, where used, worn or defective components will be disassembled, cleaned and remanufactured according to OEM specifications.

The plant will also recondition used vehicles before reintroducing them to the second-hand market.

Stellantis isn’t alone in this sustainability push. Renault’s Refactory site in France processes around 55 vehicles and hour and Toyota is about to start remanufacturing used cars at its plant in Derbyshire.

Toyota GB present, Agustín Martin, told Autocar: “I think we’re very familiar with the usual two-to-three-year cycles that are extremely popular in the UK, but we need to go beyond that say: ‘Okay, what happens in that second cycle and in the third cycle?’”

Stellantis says the ‘Circular Economy’ will play a key role in meeting its target of carbon net zero by 2038. The strategy is based on four Rs: Reman, Repair, Reuse and Recycle.

In summary, these are:

Reman – Used, worn or defective parts are thoroughly dismantled, cleaned and remanufactured to OEM specifications. Nearly 12,000 parts covering 40 product lines, including electric vehicle batteries, are available.

Repair – Worn parts are repaired and reinstalled into customers’ vehicles. In 21 locations around the world, e-repair centres work on electric vehicle batteries.

Reuse – Approximately 4.5 million multi-brand parts in inventory, still in good condition, are recovered from end-of-life vehicles and sold in 155 countries through the B-Parts e-commerce platform.

Recycle – Production scraps and end-of-life vehicles are fed back into the manufacturing process. In just six months, the business unit has collected one million recycled parts.

The company has also launched a new SUSTAINera label for parts and accessories, indicating a savings of up to 80 percent materials and 50 percent energy as compared to their equivalent new parts.

Alison Jones added: “The SUSTAINera label represents our promise to provide customers sustainable, transparent and affordable products and services to our customers for all brands of vehicles, without compromising quality, while preserving the environment through decreased waste and less use of our planet’s resources.”

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.


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