The Group knows that a bolder approach to making the best use of both raw materials and recovered or recycled items can make a big difference in reducing the environmental footprint of products throughout all stages of their life cycles. This approach advocates using eco-compatible materials and substances and investing types of design that create more opportunities to recover and recycle the vehicles at the end of their lives.
In 2013, 41.9% of the weight of type-approved Group vehicles in Europe was made of recycled materials, in line with previous years. These results were also reached through participation in numerous international research projects on innovations in the use of recycled materials and biomaterials. These initiatives evaluate the environmental benefits of using different formulas of polymers – post-consumer recycled plastic or biopolymers – reinforced with natural fibers.
In general, all innovation and development of materials takes place at the Centro Ricerche Fiat's Group Materials Labs (GML), which are also responsible for monitoring the impact of the chemical substances used during vehicle production and sale. Furthermore, CRF's GML ensures that the European regulation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) – which sets the thresholds of concentration of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) – is complied with throughout Fiat Group and coordinated with Chrysler Group.
This includes keeping abreast of changes in legislation and assessing how this will affect products and/or processes.
The International Material Data System (IMDS) enables suppliers to enter all information on the composition of the products they provide. Fiat Group Automobiles’ End-of-Life Integration System (FELIS) integrates all data from the IMDS with the product development management system. Currently the IMDS is available in Europe, Turkey, Latin America and China and its integration into the relevant NAFTA databases is proceeding. This year the number of suppliers that used the IMDS grew even more than in previous years (+5% vs 2012(1)). The IMDS is important not only for analyzing vehicle recyclability and recoverability, but also for monitoring heavy metals use and substances potentially critical to the automotive sector, i.e., those in the Global Automotive Declarable Substance List (GADSL).
The IMDS is also used to verify compliance with REACH, which governs the manufacture, import, sale and use of chemicals. Composition data is also checked for the use of certain minerals whose availability on the market is seen as critical by the European Union for geopolitical reasons. Examples include rare earths or some noble metals used in catalytic converters.
The recyclability and recoverability of type-approved vehicles, as well as vehicles currently being built, continued to be monitored in Europe in 2013. All vehicles that the Group sells were 95% recoverable and 85% recyclable by weight, in compliance with European Directive 2005/64 (also known as Reusability, Recyclability, Recoverability - RRR), which establishes the limits of recoverability and recyclability.
For more than a decade, the Vehicle Recycling Laboratory at the Group’s Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC) in Windsor (Canada) has been involved in improving the understanding of product recyclability through the entire product life-cycle from development, concept and use, through to end-of-life disposal and recycling. To support vehicle end-of-life research and development, the laboratory is equipped with material identification equipment, vehicle fluid removal equipment, unique vehicle dismantling equipment, and advanced data analysis equipment. The ARDC performs vehicle teardowns to satisfy International Dismantling Information System (IDIS) requirements. In 2013, the ARDC conducted a complete teardown analysis on the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee to identify the types of materials in all vehicle components. The information from this analysis was used for both RRR processing (ISO 22628) and IDIS requirements.
This year, Chrysler Group's Organic Materials Engineering organization approved seven additional materials for the Chrysler Plastic Number (CPN) Index which contains recycled content, renewable content or low emission polymers. The CPN Index is used to track specific grades of plastic materials approved for use on Chrysler Group programs. More than 70 specific grades with recycled content are listed, with the earliest active approval going back to 1993.
In 2013, recycled material used in wheel liners (Jeep Wrangler and the new Chrysler 200 sedan) rose from 52% to 64%, and resulted in an expected cost savings of €1.20 per Jeep Wrangler in post-consumer recycled material. In addition, Chrysler Group now uses a renewable soy-based foam product in the A and B pillars and rear wheel wells on several vehicles. Because its density is lower, less foam is required resulting in a weight reduction of up to 0.68 kg per vehicle. This product blocks unwanted noise in the passenger compartment and enhances driving experience while contributing to improved fuel economy. In addition, the lower viscosity makes it easier to work with than traditional acoustic material used for this type of manufacturing.
(1) Data refers to the Italian registered companies.
Mass-Market and Premium Brands in Europe
|of which thermoplastics||163.0||12.0||64.8||39.8|
|of which thermosettings||23.9||1.8||0.0||0.0|
|In 2013, average weight of renewable materials for Group vehicles in Europe was 7.5 kg.|
(1) Average for 2013 existing range of type-approved vehicles in Europe, based on Directive 2005/64/EC.
(2) In addition to “other metals”.