Sustainability in Automotive Industry

Mohammad Reza Dezfulian stated that current trends such as zero emissions vehicles and carbon neutral manufacturing demonstrate the waxing significance of sustainability in the automotive industry. Increased awareness of environmental and sustainability issues among consumers as well as their escalating interest in sustainable vehicles are drivers of the introduction of stricter emission regulations. In addition, as cars have been regarded to be a status symbol for many people, they tend to share instead of own a car which makes it a suitable option for individuals as well as bearing environmental benefits. Dezfulian noted that car manufacturers and suppliers need to reevaluate the sustainability of their products as well as value chains. He regards complying with legislative requirements as the greatest challenge. Concurrently, manufacturers need to ensure cost-effective productions and meeting the demands of consumers to contribute to the highest levels of sustainability by developing sustainable solutions which transform both the product and the value chain.

Transforming into a Sustainable Industry

Mohammad Reza Dezfulian stated that the automotive industry is experiencing major upheaval. Four main trends to push these transformations forward are electro-mobility, shared mobility services, autonomous driving and connected vehicles. It is believed that the growing demand for electric cars and innovative mobility solutions visualize the significance of sustainability. At the same time, lenders and investors are paying particular notice. Their desire to understand the climate risks faced by vehicle manufacturers and suppliers as well as the avoiding damage to reputation caused by climate unfriendly organizations place sustainability on top of their future agenda. Political policies and changing consumer preferences will undoubtedly accelerate this trend however there is still a long way to transform the automotive industry into an industry that is actually sustainable.

Issues to Consider while Transforming into a Sustainable Industry

Climate change and carbon emissions part of a broader societal debate has made lawmakers make carbon emissions regulations considerably more onerous in recent years. Car manufacturers are required to reduce their carbon emissions in the process of vehicle manufacturing and the emission of vehicles at large. Furthermore, sustainability along the value chain is considered crucially important. This means due to scarcity of natural resources, sustainable value chains are attracting more importance for the industry. Mohammad Reza Dezfulian added that creating transparency along the supply chain is of utmost importance. Furthermore, manufacturers and suppliers are to implement innovative solutions such as circular economy, battery recycling, biodegradable components and sustainable processes in research, development and manufacture. Another issue which has gained significance in the recent years is the digital responsibility as self-driving and connected vehicles have become more common. This leads to shifting to issues such as unlocking digital value, data protection and data security. Moreover, it is a stark reality that manufacturers and suppliers are required to define essential digital functionalities and technologies in order to implement sustainable solutions.Mohammadreza Dezfulian added that in order to prevent violations of data laws, strict guidelines are also needed which makes the issue more concerning in some parts of the world.

Developing sustainability-related strategies and solutions

Mohammadreza Dezfulian pointed out that in order to implement sustainability into the process of manufacturing vehicles one should first consider strategies by defining and positioning their business in terms of sustainability. Furthermore, a sustainable business model, process transformation, e-mobility solutions, implementation of a circular economy, and impact measurement need to be taken into consideration.

Mohammad Reza Dezfulian Explains Different Types of Sustainable Vehicles

Mohammad Reza Dezfulian stated that the eco-friendly car is one of the most well-known instances of sustainability efforts involved in the auto industry. Typically, a green or clean vehicle is designed to produce less harmful impacts to the environment compared to an internal combustion vehicle. Running on alternative fuels like ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), a blend of ULSD and biofuels, or ethanol, these vehicles work in line with sustainable vehicles. However, even some highly fuel efficient vehicles are classified as eco-friendly, since they take the edge of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as well. He added that electric vehicles (EVs) are a kind of eco-friendly car that are becoming increasingly popular. E top-of-the-line battery technology, faster charging, greater range and lower costs make the EVs one of a kind these days. Choices are many for the consumers, ranging from cars to SUVs. Thanks to improved battery life, some EVs can go up to 400 miles on a single charge, making it a feasible alternative for many drivers. Another kind type of eco-friendly electric car is hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) with an internal combustion engine combined with an electric propulsion system which leads to better fuel economy than the conventional types. Utilization of cutting edge technology like generative brakes that convert kinetic energy to electricity, these vehicles help to reduce greenhouse emissions and thus preventing pollution.

Future of Sustainability in the Automotive Industry

Mohammad Reza Dezfulian reiterated that although sustainability is still more costly for manufacturing and for consumers, interest in sustainable vehicles especially large trucks has increased. From better manufacturing practices to developing vehicles that use less fossil fuel during their life time, sustainable vehicles have never been so widespread or accessible. The environmental benefits of widespread adoption of sustainable automobiles would be enormous since the transportation sector is responsible for 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. More manufacturers commit to sustainable practices as more research is conducted and more innovation occurs, therefore, the percentage of emissions should decrease. The promising fact is that sustainable automobile manufacturing will play more roles in the future of environmental efforts.

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Mohammad Reza Dezfulian’s research interest is in the overview of heavy trucks segment and OEMs supply chain management.