Volvo Ups the Ante on Emissions Reductions

Volvo Group, the transportation equipment manufacturer, has set a tall order for itself. It wants to reduce its carbon emissions from the construction equipment, buses and trucks it makes by 30 million tons by the end of 2014.

To accomplish that, the group has expanded its partnership with the WWF Climate Savers program.

Volvo also said its joint-venture company, SDLG, which manufactures construction equipment in China, will become the first Chinese company to be a member of the Climate Savers program.

The Volvo Group was the world’s first automotive manufacturer to join Climate Savers in the fall of 2010. The agreement with WWF committed Volvo’s truck brands to reduce total CO2 emissions during the lifetime of trucks manufactured and sold from 2009 to 2014, by 13 million tons, compared to trucks manufactured in 2008.

This would be accomplished by using the latest technology in fuel efficiency, says Volvo. To put the Volvo/WWF alliance is perspective, the 30 million ton reduction goal is the equivalent of the total carbon dioxide emitted by all of Sweden over a seven month period.

Other aspects of the agreement include:

  • A commitment from Volvo Buses also to expand the number of field tests with plug-in hybrid buses during the agreement period. The plug-in technology has excellent fuel-savings potential for city buses.
  • During the development of fuel-saving technology, Volvo Construction Equipment will prepare a new prototype with additionally improved fuel performance, compared with existing models.
  • Volvo will develop a new truck prototype with 20 percent lower fuel consumption than a corresponding truck manufactured in 2008.
  • Prior to 2014, Volvo will offer the commercial market trucks that operate on renewable gas.
  • The Volvo Group will also reduce CO2 emissions from its production plants by 0.2 million tons (12 percent) before 2014, compared with 2008.

Independent technical experts will monitor Volvo’s compliance with the Climate Saver commitments.

That’s a really ambitious and tough emissions reduction agenda under a compressed time frame, and it applies also to Volvo-manufactured trucks under the Mack and Renault nameplates.

But Volvo has some experience at this: in what today might be considered the Dark Ages of this sort of activity — 2007 — the group opened the first carbon-neutral automotive plant in Ghent, Belgium, where the electricity comes from wind power.

Impressive stuff. The company’s long-term objective is to make all of its facilities carbon-neutral.  It’s setting a great example on how to go about doing it.

[Image Credit: Volvo Buses from Volvo Group website]

writer, editor, reader and general good (ok mostly good, well sometimes good) guy trying to get by

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