Audi subjects each and every model to a comprehensive life cycle assessment or LCA – whether combustion engines, plug-in hybrids, or all-electric vehicles – which makes the environmental impact of Audi’s models transparent over their entire life cycle.
As part of this LCA, Audi divides the life cycle of its vehicles into three stages: First, there is vehicle production. This stage includes the extraction of raw materials as well as the production of the components and final assembly of the cars in Audi’s plants. Secondly, the utilization stage – here, the effects of electricity and fuel supply are taken into account in addition to direct emissions generated during driving. And then there is the third stage, recycling at the end of the vehicle’s life.
The transformation to electromobility impacts all stages of a vehicle’s life cycle as well as the making of individual components in upstream production processes. As with any industrially manufactured product, vehicle production entails emissions that can occur at different points in a car’s life cycle. In the production of electric cars, a much larger proportion of carbon emissions are attributable to upstream production processes in the supply chain compared with the production of vehicles with combustion engines. This is primarily due to battery production, which is energy-intensive. That’s why Audi relies on measures to avoid and reduce emissions both during production and in later phases of the life cycle in order to improve the ecological balance of its products.
In production, Audi sees the sustainable use of resources as crucial in order to manufacture electric vehicles as efficiently and environmentally friendly as possible. As such, a central goal of the cross-site “Mission:Zero” environmental program is to make production carbon-neutral at all sites by 2025 and to optimize the use of resources.
The utilization stage begins the moment a car is delivered to the customer. It is during this stage that another significant proportion of the carbon emissions that occur during the life of a car are generated. Electric cars do not emit carbon on the road. And charging consistently with green electricity goes a long way to further improving the carbon footprint. Compared with the average electricity mix in the EU, carbon emissions can be reduced by about half over the car’s life cycle when only green electricity is used for charging.