Mercedes starts to manufacture the EQE and EQS models with aluminium of a significantly reduced carbon footprint as of this summer. As aluminium production emits up to four times more CO2 than steel, this is an important step in further reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its EVs. Compared to the average, the reduction in the aluminium is calculated at 70%.
The EQE and EQS use bodies from conventional steel, but the green aluminium will be used for safety parts like the shock towers or the longitudinal members. The EQE and EQS are the first models to benefit, but the material will also be featured on the C-Class, GLC, E-Class and S-Class. It will also play a significant role in Mercedes new architecture for electric vehicles, called MMA (Mercedes Modular Architecture).
Thanks to hydro power
Mercedes partners with Norsk Hydro, the Norwegian specialist in sustainable aluminum, which makes the metal in its homecountry next to a hydropower plant. As aluminum requires many times more heat than regular steel to extract it from its ore, most of its carbon-footprint comes from the energy supply. At Norsk Hydro, this is made from renewables.
Norsk Hydro delivers this low-carbon aluminium, which contains a minimum of 25% post-consumer scrap, to the Mercedes foundry in Untertürkheim. The green variant must make up 60% of this type of alloy melted in the plant. Mercedes’ ambition is to reduce the footprint even further in the future, aiming for an aluminium type with a 90% reduction of CO2 by the end of the decade.
A good fit
Due its high-strength but low weigth characteristics, alminium is a good fit for electric vehicles, as it can shave of some the cumbersome weight. In a battery pack, of which the construction is the biggest CO2 emitter over the lifecycle of an EV, it is also the metal with the highest share. The downside is that one ton of aluminum emits on average 16.5 tons of CO2, compared to steel which emits only 2.3 tons, when produced with conventional blast furnaces.
Converting these furnaces to green electricity has considerable impact on the carbon footprint of these metals, acheiving reductions from 25 to 40%. As car makers aim to make cars circular and reduced the CO2 emission from used materials, steel production needs to be adressed foremost. According to Designnews the share of steel in BEVs accounts for 20% of its manufacturing emissions. In an ICE car, the share increases to 35%. The only other car manufacturer having signed with Norsk Hydro is Porsche.
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