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Automotive Industry Gears Up for Greener Future: Regenerating Spare Parts and Developing Modern Combustion Engines

AUTOMOTIVEAutomotive Industry Gears Up for Greener Future: Regenerating Spare Parts and Developing Modern Combustion Engines

The problem with the availability of semiconductors is delaying the development of electromobility, as is the lack of sufficient charging infrastructure or high prices of electric vehicles. Although the automotive industry has been preparing for 2035, when the EU wants to move away from traditional fuel engines, many experts believe this deadline is unrealistic. Regeneration of spare parts is becoming an increasingly popular method to green the sector and reduce CO2 emissions. This process saves energy and resources used in the production of new components, and allows drivers to reduce purchase costs. It is becoming a more important branch of the automotive industry.

“Automotive parts manufacturers attach great importance to innovation. Their products are very innovative, meet very high standards and reducing CO2 emissions is really our priority,” says Mariola Hauke, Legal Manager at the European Association of Automotive Parts Manufacturers CLEPA. “The European Commission has decided that by 2035 we must stop producing cars with diesel engines in Europe. Many suppliers and manufacturers are aware that this will be very difficult to achieve. However, companies are investing a lot in research and development to meet this deadline.”

Reducing the carbon footprint is a key challenge for the automotive industry. There are many strategies to achieve this, one of them is vehicle electrification. Replacing traditional drives with electric and hybrid ones will reduce exhaust emissions and increase energy efficiency, especially if the energy comes from renewable sources.

Challenges hinder the development of electromobility. “In almost all European countries, the infrastructure does not allow for the development of electromobility as is expected,” says Anna Ścieszko-Osińska, President of the Warsaw Mechanical Works (WUZETEM). “The development of electromobility will not proceed as quickly as everyone thinks. There are huge problems with obtaining the semiconductors needed for electric cars production. We are dependent on China and obtaining them from other parts of the world is expensive. Instead, it would be best to regenerate the parts we have, either in diesel or combustion engine cars, as the carbon footprint is smaller than when procuring these semiconductors and producing and disposing of electric cars”.

Regeneration of parts is another method of greening the automotive sector. In 2020, factory regeneration of parts reduced CO2 emissions by 800,000 tonnes, which is equivalent to the carbon footprint left by 120,000 average EU residents. Regeneration brings greater savings in resources and energy compared to recycling.

“New EU regulations are entering regarding the possibility of regeneration and grants for regenerated parts. We can save up to 70% of the costs of new production by regenerating parts. This can be done in such a way that these parts are considered almost new at low regeneration costs”, says Anna Ścieszko-Osińska.

The sales value of regenerated parts in Europe was 7.5 billion euros in 2021. According to Coherent Market Insights, the global market for regenerated car parts will be worth $118.2 billion. The main driver of the market is the growing demand for cheap spare parts.

“This is a huge opportunity for the automotive market as new regeneration technologies can be cost effective, while profit and margin on regenerating will probably be higher than on new parts, which are very expensive to produce,” points out the WUZETEM board president.

A way to cope with the ban on producing new combustion engine cars may be the factory regeneration of used cars. This has been recognized by Renault. Since 2020, a used car factory in Flins, France, has been operating and can renew nearly 200 cars per day and up to 45,000 per year. Renault expects revenues from regenerating used cars by 2030 to be higher than from selling new cars.

Anna Ścieszko-Osińska concludes by saying, “The automotive industry is looking to the future with optimism, as it is looking forward to the development of modern combustion engines, possibly with biofuels or hydrogen fuels, which will certainly be a huge challenge for manufacturers but a positive one.”

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