Environment and Climate

Environmental protection in production

The German automotive industry is aware of its responsibility throughout the entire cycle of a car’s production and use: from the selection of materials, via production in Germany and fuel-efficient operation to closing the materials cycle at the end of the life cycle.

Reducing classic pollutants

Road traffic emissions are falling ever further. While mileage is increasing. The past linkage between mileage and emissions has been broken. This enormous success is due in no small part to the introduction of the catalytic converter, the reduction of refueling emissions, the particulate filter in diesel cars, SCR systems in commercial vehicles and the ongoing optimization of engine designs. This costly and innovative technology has been behind the automotive industry’s success as regards air quality in recent decades.

TREMOD, a calculation model developed by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (Ifeu) in Heidelberg, on behalf of the VDA and Federal Ministry of the Environment, makes it possible to quantify the downward trend in pollutant emissions. Road traffic emissions in the next few years – accompanied by higher mileage – will continue to fall. The models calculate a reduction in emissions from road traffic by 2030 compared to the base year of 1990 by:

  • more than nine tenths for volatile hydrocarbons (HC),
  • more than nine tenths for particulates (PM),
  • more than nine tenths for carbon monoxide (CO) and
  • almost nine tenths for nitrous oxides (NOx).

These impressive figures speak for themselves. Both physically and technically
there is scarcely any scope for significant improvement over and above the forecast performance – and its high cost would be economically unjustifiable. The automotive industry has achieved its mission of improving air quality. The challenge now is to achieve the quickest-possible renewal of the fleet so that there is a rapid increase in the proportion of new, especially clean vehicles.

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