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Breaking news for environmentalists and business strategists in the automotive industry…
The municipality of Heidelberg, a city in southern Germany, is building bridges and a highway network for bicycles. Residents get free public transportation and bonuses for purchasing battery-powered vehicles and installing charging stations. The automobile-free movement is part of a plan to minimise carbon emissions in the city.
Meanwhile, the Great American Rail-Trail project of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy aims to provide non-motorised travel between Washington DC and Washington State – a stretch of 3,700-plus miles between coasts. The contiguous route connects abandoned railway lines and multiuse paths, facilitating access to areas of historical, cultural and industrial interest. The trail is expected to be completed by 2040.
- To reduce the environmental footprint of automobiles, automakers need to focus on aspects that span the production, use and end-of-life phases.
- Replacing internal combustion engines with battery and fuel cell electric technologies will not by itself resolve the carbon issue.
- Automakers need to adopt circularity-focused design practices and maximise consumption of renewable and reusable materials for producing new vehicles.