Sustainability

Bentley begins rainwater storage at its Crewe headquarters and production facility

A new rainwater harvesting station was installed at Bentley's headquarters recently.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

The town of Crewe, England gets, on average, 30.4 inches of rain per year, according to climate-data.org. That's about the same total as Minneapolis, Minnesota. In a move designed to increase the company's sustainability, Bentley has launched a new water usage reduction program.

This isn't the company's first foray into reducing water usage. For the last twenty years, they have worked to reduce the amount of water used per car by 89 percent. They're not the only company that has taken this step. In 2019, FCA reduced its water use by 40 percent, and carbon footprint by 27 percent, and waste generated by per vehicle.

Bentley driving lake car Bentley, like other automakers, is driving toward a more sustainable future. Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

As part of the new initiative Bentley now was a recycling system that works with the water used in the manufacturing process and new captured rainfall storage that can be used for facilities maintenance.

The new water harvesting system consists of one water capture tank, located on the Crewe site, that is equipped with two integrated filters and pumps, that supplies a direct, pressurized supply of water to appliances. It has a capacity of 20,000 liters and can produce more than 1,800 liters of water on the average day.

Peter Bosch, Member of the Board for Manufacturing, said: "At Bentley, we are focused on ensuring that we lead the way in the delivery of sustainable luxury mobility, taking into account the environmental, social and economic impact of our work. Our efforts on water usage reduction over a long period is remarkable, continuing to find new and innovative ways of protecting the environment.

"With the installation of this new system, we will be able to further reduce the demands that our business places on the mains water supply, while doing so in an environmentally-aware manner."

Last year, its Crewe factory was awarded carbon neutral certification from the Carbon Trust.

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The Michelin VISION tire is the tire of the future for the company

Photo courtesy of Michelin

Sustainability is in focus for most of the world's automakers. Making cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans that pollute the Earth less than their predecessors is their focus alongside emerging safety and driver assistance technology. Others in the auto industry supply chain are also looking to become more sustainable, including Michelin.

The tire company has announced that by 2050, Michelin tires will be made entirely from renewable, recycled, bio sourced, and otherwise sustainable materials. Today, nearly 30 percent of the materials used in manufacturing Michelin Group tires is are sustainable.

A study released last year, Emissions Analytics, an independent global testing and data company that studies real-world emissions and fuel efficiency for passenger and commercial vehicles, found that pollution from tire wear can be 1,000 times worse than what comes out of a vehicle's exhaust pipe. Unlike exhaust pollution, tire and brake pollution is mostly unregulated.

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In 2017, Michelin introduced the VISION tire, a concept that is airless, connected, rechargeable, and entirely sustainable. Since then, the company has invested in recycling efforts, buying up rubber pellet recyclers in the State of Georgia and in Spain.

The current lineup of Michelin tires consists of products that contain more than 200 ingredients each. The main part of the equation is natural rubber, which is harvested from rubber trees via a process that requires tapping a tree much in the same way that maple syrup comes from maple trees. Rubber trees traditionally need to be at least six years old before they are harvested.

Other materials in Michelin tires include synthetic rubber, metal, fibers, and components that are designed to strengthen the tire's structure like carbon black, silica, and plasticizers.

In a statement, a spokesperson fro Michelin said, "Michelin's maturity in materials technology stems from the strength of its R&D capabilities, which are supported by 6,000 people working in seven research and development centers around the world and mastering 350 areas of expertise. The commitment of these engineers, researchers, chemists and developers has led to the filing of 10,000 patents covering tyre design and manufacturing. They work hard every day to find the recipes that will improve tyre safety, durability, ride and other performance features, while helping to make them 100-percent sustainable by 2050."

Michelin has partnered with a number of companies to create materials of the future. Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles, the two companies that are spearheading the BioButterfly project, have been working with Michelin since 2019 on producing bio-sourced butadiene to replace petroleum-based butadiene. Using the biomass from wood, rice husks, leaves, corn stalk, and other plant waste, 4.2 million tons of wood chips could be incorporated into Michelin tires every year with the materials replacement.

A partnership between Michelin and Pyroware can produce recycled styrene from plastics found in packaging. Styrene is used to produce synthetic rubber. Eventually, tens of thousands of tonnes of polystyrene waste could be recycled back into its original products as well as into Michelin tires every year.

Additionally, Michelin will launch the construction of its first tire recycling plant in the world with Encivo, a Swedish company that has developed a patented technology to recover carbon black, pyrolysis oil, steel, gas and other new, high-quality reusable materials from end-of-life tires.

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Land Rover currently offers a plug-in electric variant of its Range Rover.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Chief Executive Officer Thierry Bolloré has announced a new global strategy called 'Reimagine'. Under his leadership, the company is poised to transition to a sustainability-focused version of two iconic British brands.

JLR has been floating parts of the plan for months now. News coming from its headquarters in England has been promoting a focus on sustainability including word that they are working with Econyl nylon to develop high-quality interiors made from ocean and landfill waste.

Jaguar Land Rover Econyl interior The Econyl process includes recovering nylon waste and transforming it into a premium material. Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

Despite the shared focus, the Jaguar and Land Rover brands are committing to remain distinct in their design and product offerings, with different architecture.

Nameplate by nameplate, the company will work to make an all-electric version of JLR vehicles available by 2030. JLR is planning to welcome six all-electric Land Rover models in the next five years. Read more about those here.

At the same time, Jaguar will be transforming into a purely electric automaker. In a statement, the company described what is coming for Jaguar:

"...with a dramatically beautiful new portfolio of emotionally engaging designs and pioneering next-generation technologies. Jaguar will exist to make life extraordinary by creating dramatically beautiful automotive experiences that leave its customers feeling unique and rewarded. Although the nameplate may be retained, the planned Jaguar XJ replacement will not form part of the line-up, as the brand looks to realise its unique potential."

By 2030, it is anticipated that 100 percent of all Jaguar sales and 60 percent of Land Rovers sold will be equipped with zero tailpipe emissions.

The company is also striving to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039. Nissan, Bentley, Volvo, Audi, and Ford have recently made similar statements.

JLR is also readying for hydrogen fuel cell power as it expects the hydrogen economy to expand in the coming decades. This vision is shared by Hyundai. Development of these vehicles is already underway. Test models are slated to arrive on U.K. roads in the next year.

JLR's subscription service, PIVOTAL, will be rolled out to other markets in the coming years.

The new vision is expected to require a £2.5 billion ($3.48 billion USD) annual investment from JLR that will include purchasing and developing electrification technologies, connected services, and data-centric technologies.

The company, which has been hit by slow sales and production delays as the brand has worked to reinvent itself, will work with major shareholder Tata Motors to achieve positive cash net-of-debt by 2025.

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