Driving Green Uk Vehicle Manufacturing Road To Zero Emissions

Driving Green: UK Vehicle Manufacturing’s Road to Zero Emissions

The UK’s automotive sector has reached a remarkable milestone, with CO2 emissions per vehicle produced now halved compared to 1999 levels, according to the 25th Sustainability Report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This achievement underscores the industry’s commitment to sustainability and positions the UK as a prime candidate for producing the…

Driving Green Uk Vehicle Manufacturing Road To Zero Emissions

The UK’s automotive sector has reached a remarkable milestone, with CO2 emissions per vehicle produced now halved compared to 1999 levels, according to the 25th Sustainability Report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This achievement underscores the industry’s commitment to sustainability and positions the UK as a prime candidate for producing the next generation of zero-emission vehicles.

Published on July 9, 2024, the report highlights a significant reduction in direct carbon emissions from vehicle factories, thanks to substantial industry investment. Compared to 1999, CO2 emissions have decreased by 54%, energy usage per vehicle has dropped by 18%, and water consumption per vehicle has been reduced by 17.7%. These figures are even more impressive when considering the long-term reductions of 33% in energy use and 42% in water use since 1999.

The UK automotive industry is also contributing to lower on-road emissions, with a record number of electrified vehicles being produced in 2023—an increase of 48% from the previous year. Independent analysis suggests that with the right investment conditions, UK factories could produce over a million zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) annually by 2035, significantly boosting the domestic economy.

The SMMT report calls on the new Labour government to leverage this decarbonisation success for economic growth. The government’s commitment to an industrial strategy and the recently published Automotive Sector Plan are critical components of this vision. Collaboration is essential to enhance the UK’s global competitiveness, attracting investment not only in vehicle manufacturing but also in supply chains and related sectors. Key to this success will be the provision of sustainable and affordable energy, favorable trade agreements, and the establishment of a robust market for ZEVs.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, emphasized the sector’s ongoing commitment to reducing carbon emissions. “Britain’s automotive sector has been cutting carbon for decades and this new milestone is significant, not just for industry but for the nation’s move to net zero. We look forward to working with the new government to deliver its green growth agenda that puts Britain at the front of the queue for global investment and sustainability leadership. Automotive can be the driving force behind this strategy, reducing carbon emissions still further while growing the economy, improving air quality, and delivering new jobs and skills for people across the country.”

The automotive industry is a cornerstone of the UK economy, contributing £93 billion in auto-related manufacturing and £22 billion in added value, while typically investing around £4 billion annually in research and development. The sector includes more than 25 manufacturers producing over 70 vehicle models, supported by approximately 2,500 supply chain businesses. This results in significant employment, with over 198,000 jobs directly in manufacturing and 813,000 jobs across the industry. Many of these positions are located outside London and the Southeast, with wages approximately 13% higher than the UK average. The automotive sector also supports vital industries such as steel, chemicals, plastics, rubber, advertising, finance, and logistics.

Seven Measures to Enhance the UK’s Automotive Sustainability Advantage

  1. Publish a comprehensive green automotive transformation strategy to achieve ultimate sustainability and circularity goals.
  2. Introduce fiscal, tax, and regulatory measures to attract investment and ensure global competitiveness.
  3. Support the development of a sustainable, transparent UK supply chain.
  4. Empower a skilled, diverse workforce to drive the industry’s future.
  5. Develop a regulatory ecosystem in partnership with businesses that aligns with global standards and sustainability objectives.
  6. Ensure UK sustainability data requirements meet the high ambitions of global automotive companies.
  7. Maintain and support access to critical raw materials and facilitate cross-border trade to attract investment in zero-emission and sustainable technologies.

This significant progress in reducing carbon emissions showcases the UK automotive sector’s potential to lead in green growth, paving the way for a more sustainable and economically robust future.


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