When the general public think about suppliers to the automotive industry they think about steel, aluminium, plastics, composites and any other of the 30,000 parts that go into the modern car. But now sustainable mobility is the new mantra with Board-level authorisation to implement radical change to achieve ambitious climate goals. How will this new directive affect automotive suppliers in the coming years?
Volkswagen : “Work with us to cut carbon emissions, or risk losing your business with us.”
Car manufacturers such as Volkswagen are now turning their attention to their supply chain to help eliminate CO2 from their operations. VW plans to begin giving its suppliers “S-ratings”, for sustainability. Like its German rivals BMW and Daimler, Volkswagen has already pledged that its zero-emissions vehicles will be built in a carbon neutral fashion relying on renewable energy.
The Energy Footprint of Data
The new generation of Electric Vehicles, whilst promising huge simplification in part count by removing drive train and fuel delivery systems, will however generate unheard of amounts of a new by-product – data.
This data will consume electrical energy all the way through the life cycle of the EV from High Performance Compute in the design phase, Lithium Ion battery manufacturing, in-life recharging of the EV, next generation autonomous driving applications and ultimately End-Of-Life recycling. Data is the new oil and is therefore sometimes described as refined electricity. The transition from fossil fuel mobility to clean e-mobility is within reach, in theory.
This auto industry move to replace many thousands of physical parts with a combination of fewer physical parts and extensive data is at the very early stages, and will only move in one direction. Indeed, the automotive use case is but one of numerous examples of digitalisation in many industries. Replacing the physical world and processes with data-driven systems is part of a much wider secular trend. The carbon footprint of the source electricity is ultimately one of the final pieces in this puzzle.
Thinking about how this mega-trend affects national infrastructure is creating new opportunities for the most innovative companies, and perhaps also even at a government level. This is a question of a clean green truly sustainable circular economy. How do we avoid merely shifting the source of emissions from the automotive supply chain and in-life use of vehicles from dirty combustion engines to dirty electricity? How do we hope to transition towards a data-driven (electrical) future when many traditional manufacturing powerhouse countries simply do not have a clean way of producing electricity at scale in the time frames under consideration for their carbon commitments?
Move Data Production and Storage to the Power
One clear answer is to move data production and storage beside clean sources of energy. This is counter-intuitive to many people currently responsible for administering the data assets of their company. The desire to have their data “on-premises” is viewed as a primary driver, coming before cost saving, clean energy or any other factor. Holding back this 21st Century mega-tide of compute and information is not an option! Digitalisation, the move to the cloud, the data tsunami driven by EV’s and autonomous driving is rising up on us, like it or not.
And at Hydro66 we are on the front line of helping companies manage the sometimes painful transition from on-premise data hosting solutions to clean, green truly scalable data solutions which will take Enterprise business forward into the next phase.
For every server run in Germany, 14000 servers can run in North Sweden with the same emissions.
Difference in CO2 emissions/kWh between North Sweden and average Germany is 14000x.
I will be attending AutomotiveIT Kongress in Berlin on Thursday 21st March and I would love to meet up in person to discuss how together we can make a difference for this and future generations. And all the while making a tangible difference to emissions commitments being made by company and government leaders today. Please contact me to arrange a meeting if you are also attending or let’s talk on the phone!