Sustainable by Design

Everybody wants it. So why is it so hard to get?

Sustainability. It’s what every company wants: the ability to keep on keeping on, in a responsible way, even under the most intense economic and industry conditions. But getting there isn’t easy, even when, as in Aptiv’s case, you have more than a century’s worth of proven sustainability already under your belt.
Driven by three rapidly evolving megatrends (safe, green, connected), the automotive industry is rapidly evolving, forcing even the biggest players in the space to take a hard look at what they need to do to keep up.

Let’s take a closer look at the challenges posed by these trends and what they mean to companies like Aptiv moving forward.

Challenge #1: Stagnating safety statistics. 
There is no denying we have come a long way in the realm of automotive safety. The number of traffic fatalities have gone down dramatically over the past five decades—from five per million miles in the 1960s to just one per million miles today.   
The problem, however, is that we have gone as far as we can go with passive safety systems like seat belt and air bags. Over one million people around the world still die in vehicle related accidents every year and the overwhelming percentage of those deaths are caused by one thing: human error. 

What the safer megatrend means for automakers?

In two words: safety automation. Scalable advanced safety solutions like blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking (AEB) are just the first active safety steps toward eliminating virtually all driver error, saving over one million lives and 40 million injuries every year. One major key to sustainability for automakers in the next decade and beyond? Making a significant investment in the advanced active safety technologies that will help save drivers from themselves and each other. 

Challenge #2: Increasingly stringent emissions standards.
Air pollution is another challenge no company (or country) hoping for sustainability can choose to ignore. With the typical passenger vehicle on the road today emitting 4.6 metric tons of CO2 every year, it’s easy to see why air pollution is the number one environmental cause of death in the European Union. This global crisis needs to be addressed, now, and that’s why around the world emission regulations are becoming increasingly stringent to help improve air quality and reduce transportation environmental impact on the planet.

What the greener megatrend means for automakers.

We only need one word here: electrification. Slated to be a more than $10 billion market by 2025, electric vehicles will dramatically reduce transportation CO2 emissions, which account for 15 percent of global totals. Automakers looking for long-term sustainability are investing in a portfolio of high-voltage electrification solutions to meet this rising demand.

Challenge #3: Changing consumer expectations. 
Urbanization and consumer expectations have completely changed the game for automakers. By 2025, six billion smartphones will be in people’s hands, replacing the PC as the “go-to” connected device for consumers. They are demanding the same connected, digital experience in their vehicles that they now have with their phones, posing a huge challenge to automakers who want to provide an optimal in-cabin experience without adding potential driver distractions.

What the connected megatrend means for automakers.

OEMs need to respond, fast, to the changing expectations of their consumers. This means finding newer, more connected ways to improve in-cabin sensing and interface solutions, as well as tapping into over-the-air (OTA) solutions that will allows OEMs to update vehicle software remotely, thus saving themselves billions of dollars in warranty and recall costs annually by 2022… and all of us a trip to the dealership.


Good intentions are not good enough.

These are the megatrends shaping the future of the automotive industry. The OEMs and solution providers who find the best ways to address them now are the ones best positioned for sustainability tomorrow. Achieving sustainability takes a lot more than good intentions. It takes a lot more than hard work. It takes a plan. At Aptiv, we have that plan in place. Because we believe true sustainability never happens by accident. It happens by design.