Lower carbon footprint of a vehicle is important for the industry, societal well-being and the government. Data shows that the planet has 1.2 bn vehicles on the road now and by 2035 it will touch 2 bn. Total new vehicle sales were 84 mn last year and will grow to about 130 mn per year by 2035. Out of these 98 % of vehicles are either powered by petrol or diesel. The number of XEVs will grow to about 12 % by 2035, besides the 40+ % start-stop hybrids.
Another data point from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, US) indicates that 14 % of the greenhouse gases (GHG) are generated by transportation. Data of Europe from EU shows that in 1990, 14.9 % of GHG came from transportation and in 2014 that increased to 23.2 %. Every litre of fuel burned in a vehicle releases about 3 kg of CO2 in the atmosphere.
REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINT
Reducing carbon footprint is not limited to addressing tailpipe emissions by having better powertrains. Reduction of carbon footprint starts at the drawing board and continues through vehicle development and integration, manufacturing, logistics and eventually ends at the customer ownership through the lifecycle of a vehicle. Every sub-system, its development, manufacturing, recyclability and use of energy contributes to vehicle carbon footprint.
This backdrop enhances the prominence of leveraging design and software profoundly to reduce carbon footprint. Using tools and processes, more than 90 % of the activities can be performed in the virtual space instead of developing and integrating systems, building and shipping vehicle prototypes and then testing. Virtual models can be tested for functionality, manufacturability and robustness of any component in a vehicle platform. A new design can be simulated in a current manufacturing line and process or a new design can be simulated in a new manufacturing set-up with numerous settings. Efficient assembly processes through just in time delivery of systems reduces warehousing and logistics activities, resources and carbon footprint. In entirety, it brings together frugality in product development and facilitates faster product launches.
Continuous design and software improvement have resulted in reduction of developmental time and cost between 20 to 35 % across the board. The wastage of material during the product life cycle has reduced by 22 %. Ensuing options from design and software studies are evaluated, risks pre-empted by life cycle assessment and then implemented in manufacturing. Many of the upstream and downstream activities have been streamlined through these tools and techniques to get a lower carbon footprint.
Other key aspects are the cost of ownership and vehicle reliability. These can be improved by optimising design and subsequent simulations. Today, virtual engineering models and XIL tools have a much better correlation with the immense real world data available in the global automotive space. The developmental and manufacturing time of a vehicle has reduced by 30 to 50 % compared to the early 21st century launches.
The serviceability aspects, obtaining and storing spares have improved since simulations are being carried out in realistic environments. This has increased turnaround efficiency of vehicles in service. The customer ownership and touch points of buying a new vehicle and after sales service experiences are simulated too after studying the unique ecosystems and familial habits. These have contributed to reduction of carbon footprint by eliminating inadequate activities.
Design and software in the automotive world are dynamically integrated in product co-development and infrastructure lifecycles. Going forward, with vehicle sharing and autonomous vehicles, the industry will have to reset its partnerships, implement newer business initiatives to collaborate closely with like-minded stakeholders across regions for sustainability.