Long-lasting cars can address environmental woes: BMW boss
Making cars that last long can be helpful for the environment, believes Monika Dernai, the head of the sustainability team at BMW. She said that one key way for the automobile industry to reduce its environmental impact could be by making cars that will last longer than now. She said this would reduce waste and the impact of automobiles on the environment. In an interaction with AutoExpress, she said that the automakers need to think about prolonging the life of cars by introducing new designs, new materials etc.
Talking about the automobile industry's environmental impact, Dernai said it is a very complex issue. “We really need to think about prolonging the life of cars; not having a used car market where you sell cars to each other, but maybe take a car and extend its lifespan," said Dernai. She also said that the idea could be freshening up the interior.
The automotive industry is blamed for its massive impact on the environment, be it during the vehicle manufacturing process or the vehicle's overall lifespan. Several countries worldwide are looking to phase out internal combustion engine-powered vehicles in favour of new and more eco-friendly electric models. However, despite this effort, one issue is often neglected, which is the huge environmental impact of EV production. Swedish automaker Volvo has claimed that steel accounts for an average of 33 per cent of its vehicles' carbon footprint, and the global steel industry emits seven per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
To address the concern of the environmental impact of the automobile industry, Dernai believes the industry players need to bring in new skill sets in the aftermarket and also be required to design cars so that the seat can be removed and a fresh seat can be moved in. This makes even a used car a new-looking model. “We need new skill sets in the aftermarket and to design cars so that the seat can be removed, and a fresh seat can be moved in – then it’s a used car that looks like a new car," said Dernai. She explained that this could result in the owner not buying a new car. “It can have the same owner, who then doesn’t buy a new car, but we still have a business model as BMW and the whole of society benefits from that," she added.