The group is investigating ways in which the automotive sector can improve the material efficiency of car manufacture, as well as other methods of reducing emissions including shared use.
Evolving regulations, mainly driven by the European Union are challenging the automotive sector to reduce the operational greenhouse gas emissions of its cars, while maintaining their brand and model distinction. To date, there has been a focus on technical options to achieve this, particularly through the use of alternative drivetrains and lighter materials.
An alternative strategy to these technical substitutions is to reduce the size of cars and thus reduce the total demand for material per vehicle. There is concern that lighter cars could be less safe, however, research into US insurance records show that there is no relationship between vehicle weight and severity of crash victims injuries.
In the UK, we own approximately 1 car for every 2.2 people and each car is used for approximately 9 hours per week, but per person and per km use has decreased over the last decade , demonstrating there are increasing opportunities to use cars much more intensively. This could be through ride sharing or shared use of vehicles.