In many ways it’s a blow for the industry that a carmaker as big as Škoda isn’t committing to zero emissions. It sets the Škoda apart from most of the other major European manufacturers, and not in a good way, with most equivalent brands planning to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
What Škoda is doing is looking across its business operations – from the materials it uses in its cars, to the energy used to make the cars, and then to recycling – to make the brand cleaner and more sustainable as an overall package. EVs do feature; it’s just that internal combustion, albeit increasingly electrified, continues to feature beyond 2030.
Called ‘Next Level – Škoda Strategy 2030’, the major target of the plans is to reduce fleet CO2 emissions by more than 50 per cent compared to 2020 levels. By 2030, it wants 70 per cent of its vehicles sold in Europe to be EVs, with three new battery electric models due to go on sale by 2026, one of which will be a production version of the 7S concept, revealed in July. These three cars will be the major models taking the brand up to that 2030 date, alongside the existing Enyaq iV.
The other notable headline is Škoda’s commitment that its three Czech plants will operate on a net-zero basis by 2030 with the plants in India CO2 neutral by 2025. This will be achieved by increasing the use of renewable energy and comprehensive measures to increase recycling, minimise resource use and utilise green logistics throughout the supply chain.
Škoda is looking to expand the use of recycled metals, glass and plastics. It already uses recycled PET bottles and in future will adopt composites made from a mixture of plastic and organic materials. Further research is currently being undertaken on additional organic materials for future adoption. As well as the types of materials, the plan includes expanding their use into new components within a car. Leather is treated sustainably, or eliminated altogether if a customer selects the option to do so.
Presently, around one third of the materials used in a new Škoda are from recycled stock, with up to 50 per cent in some components. With regards batteries, Škoda is planning to use spent Enyaq iV batteries as stationary storage. By way of an example, these static storage units will be available to Škoda dealers in showrooms to power chargers and reduce grid reliance, with up to 300kWh of storage available and a transmission power of up to 150kW possible. These units extend the useful life of batteries to around 15 years – if not more.
Supply chain and logistics is the other area that Škoda is concentrating on. It is increasing its reliance on automation and digitisation to increase efficiency. At one of its Czech plants, Škoda uses electric trucks for internal transport, whilst some of the HGVs used by the company have been switched from diesel to CNG and LNG – much cleaner (and quieter) fuels in comparison.
When vehicles and their components come to be recycled, Škoda is working with external partners to develop processes which promote higher recycling rates and reduce emissions.
A holistic approach to reducing environmental impact is laudable and Škoda is evidently doing this. However, it is doing this in part because it isn’t eradicating CO2 from its fleet. Being 70 per cent EV by 2030 is better than nothing, but it feels like a bit of a weak promise for such a prominent brand.
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