The thinking caps are working overtime in the auto industry in the quest to provide motoring solutions using the least amount of fossil fuels and generally being more enviro-friendly.
While recycling has been a long-used concept, a consortium of 19 industrial companies and research institutes, including the BMW Group, Evonik, Thyssenkrupp, the Fraunhofer Institute, and the Technical University of Munich, has set itself the goal of developing new processes for using sustainable materials for circular automotive production.
The core of the ‘Future Sustainable Car Materials (FSCM)’ initiative launched by BMW is to develop process routes and material concepts for large parts of the value chain, thus enabling a circular economy in vehicle production.
“We are pleased to contribute our specialty chemicals expertise to this pioneering consortium of industry leaders and internationally renowned research institutions to develop circular plastics solutions for the automobiles of tomorrow,” says Lauren Kjeldsen, member of the Executive Board of Evonik Operations GmbH and head of the Smart Materials Division.
According to the principle of the circular economy, materials must be kept in the value chain after they have reached the end of their useful life so that new objects, such as automotive parts, can be produced without the use of fossil resources. It is particularly challenging to keep these materials in the cycle while maintaining the same quality and safety properties.
“Our mechanical recycling experts work closely with recyclers to prepare methods for cleaning up plastic parts, such as separating paint at the end of useful life,” says Patrick Glöckner, Head of the Global Circular Plastics Program at Evonik. “We also work with compounders to develop solutions for using the highest possible proportion of recycled plastics in new automotive parts.”
On the other side of world, in San Diego, California, solar carmaker, Aptera, is about ready to launch the first in a series that will make the power of the sun a reality.
Steve Fambro, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, explains: “We’ve solved the equation for a more efficient way to travel by harnessing the power of the sun, and we’re excited to introduce our Launch Edition vehicle to the world. Our efforts have resulted in the Aptera vehicle, that can take you where you want to go using the creative energy directly from our sun and efficiently converted into free movement.”
Aptera’s Launch Edition was created with one purpose in mind — energy efficiency. Its shape, ultra-lightweight, and ultra-strong materials allow Aptera to slip through the air using a quarter of the energy compared to other electric and hybrid vehicles on the road today.
Equipped with roughly 700 watts of proprietary solar technology, Aptera drives up to 60 kilometres a day directly from the sun’s rays.
Aptera’s Launch Edition comes integrated with a solar charging package allowing most people to drive for weeks, even months, without ever having to plug in to charge. However, should this be necessary,
any standard power outlet in the world becomes a place to charge your vehicle. When plugged into an outlet, Aptera’s Launch Edition can charge at 13 kilometres an hour or roughly 240 kilometres overnight.
This is only the beginning of Aptera’s plans to move solar mobility forward. After the company’s Launch Edition production line is up and running, Aptera expects eight different assembly plants to be in operation around the globe by 2028.
“While our delivery timeline is funding dependent, our goal is to begin production by the end of 2023,” Chris Anthony, Co-Founder and Co-CEO said.