Bridgestone South Africa

Motor Industry Symbolises Future Hope

Jan 31, 2020

By recognising the detrimental role it plays in global warming, the motor industry was able to begin searching and finding solutions to climate change problems, thereby promoting a positive, pollution-free future for generations to come.

Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2), other air pollutants, and greenhouse gases collect in the atmosphere and absorb the sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface. Normally, this radiation would escape into space, but these pollutants, which can last for years or even centuries in the atmosphere, trap the heat causing the planet to get hotter; a process known as the Greenhouse Effect.

Legislation Helps Solve Global Warming Problem

Apprehensions concerning climate change have permeated global discourse giving birth to a twenty-fold increase in the number of global climate change laws since 1997. This is how various world powers are handling the problem:

  • America  While President Trump’s regulatory reforms have led to an economic boom and energy surges, greenhouse gas emissions from major industrial sources have been reduced proving that federal regulations are not necessary to drive CO2 However, the US transportation sector, which generates about 1.7 billion tons of CO2 emissions annually, showed a 3,4% increase in 2018, thus leaving many environmental issues for post-Trump administrators to solve. Transportation, the Largest Source of Energy-Related Greenhouse Gas Emission in the United States

Energy Related CO2 Emissions By Sector

  • China Despite being the largest emitter of CO2, China has developed one of the most stringent emission standards in the world, with China 6  being due for implementation from July 2020.
  • Europe – The European Union has worked with member countries and nations globally to combat climate change. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it signed the Paris Agreement thereby undertaking to accelerate and intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future. The European Union is on track to meet its emissions reduction target for 2020 and is putting together legislation to achieve its 2030 target.

Greenhouse gas emission trends

  • South Africa – Participated in and signed the 2016 Paris agreement discussions, which included making commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of up to 42% by 2025. Following extensive stake-holder engagement and revision, Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni introduced the Carbon Tax Bill to Parliament for consideration during November 2018 and Dr Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs published the National Climate Change Bill for public comment.

Global Motoring Trends Evident at Festival of Motoring

Global motor industry trends related to combating climate change, especially of European origins, were made palpable through electric car displays at the recent Kyalami Festival of Motoring.

Electric cars are market disruptors because, although they may cost a similar amount to combustion engines in Europe, they require fewer repairs and far less oil. Although business is being taken away from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) in terms of servicing, it is opening up a world of possibilities in developing new markets, including car batteries, telematics, vehicle tracking and support services.

Currently Europeans are confidently investing in electric cars as they envisage that their chosen models will enjoy the same, if not greater longevity than combustion engine counterparts. This is because downloadable upgrades will be available online allowing regular updates and making constant trade-ins unnecessary for those wishing to experience latest car trends. Europe is rewarding those investing in electric cars by providing them with incentives such as free parking and exemption from registration tax and company tax benefits in certain European Union companies

Norway boasts the largest per capita demand for electric vehicles in the world. In March 2014 it became the first country where one in every 100 passenger cars on the road was a plug-in electric and passed the 5%market penetration in December 2016 and 10% in October 2018. The Norwegian plug-in car segment market share has been the highest in the world for several years, achieving 39.2% in 2017 and 49.1% in 2018 and over 50% in 2019.

Registration of Light Duty Plug in Electric Vehicles in Norway by Year 2004-2018 (new and used imports)


Prototypes of Volkswagen’s ID series were unveiled at the September 2016 Paris Motor Show. When pre-orders opened in May 2019 for the ID 3, the company received 10,000 registrations within 24 hours due to the growing demand for electric vehicles. VW expects to produce 330,000 of this model a year, which will meet 2025 emission standards. The Volkswagen ID.R made its debut at the Festival of Motoring.

The Volkswagen ID.R making its debut at the Festival of Motoring, KyalamiThe Volkswagen ID.R making its debut at the Festival of Motoring, Kyalami


Through the Audi E-Tron it is clear that electronic cars promote safer driving because of greater digital connectivity, such as Google navigation features installed in the car rather than hand-held cellphone navigation systems.

Audi E-Tron - The Future of Passenger VehiclesAudi E-Tron – The Future of Passenger Vehicles

South Africa, Identifying Opportunities

Although not at the forefront of the electric car revolution, South Africa is aware of the opportunities this evolving industry presents:

  • Career opportunities – New careers will result due to electronic car developments, a highly positive development for South Africa given the high unemployment levels. This would include more sophisticated careers, for example, high voltage technicians and research and development specialists in the battery storage and recycling industry.
  • Development of new industries – New industries are developing around new car batteries and those entering their second life, for example, in homes needing to store solar power. These industries present established and emerging economies with development opportunities.
  • Future Developments - It is estimated that by 2025 renewables will be insufficient to meet global consumption, making the launch of electronic cars overdue. VW and Audi confirm that hydrogen cars are being tested in Europe and may well be a future alternative globally, South Africa included.

Elon Musk Makes Car Predictions

South African born entrepreneur and businessman, Elon Musk, founded Tesla Motors in 2003 and used the company to make ground-breaking developments in the electronic vehicle (EV) market. Although EVs currently only account for 1%of the US car market, Musk believes that the industry will undergo a multiplier effect with engine factories closing, EV factories opening, currently preferred brands entering crises, and more customers identifying Tesla as a solution. This thinking has led Musk to assert at recent shareholder and investor meetings: “ I think it's basically financially insane to buy anything except an electric car that is upgradeable to autonomy."

What Does the Future Hold for Cars?

Motor vehicle industry experts claim a global auto industry revolution, thanks to the advent of EVs and concern for the environment. The industry is experiencing superfast shifts comparable to the industry’s early years, unlike the gradual evolution experienced during the mid-twentieth century.

Ozgur Tohumcu, CEO of Tantalum and car technology innovator  attests to recent radical developments in the vehicle market, siting the following examples:

  • Voice commands for your car – Your car’s computer will respond to voice commands, for example, when you ask your car to find parking, it will identify the best option and then facilitate payment through your credit card.
  • More map options – As navigational maps are overlaid with more data, you will be able to choose your route based on a broad array of criteria, including the safest, most scenic, or least polluted.
  • 3D printing technology to create individualised cars – By using 3D printers you will be able to design a car around a pre-determined engine but with features from different cars. This will help you design a vehicle which, although costly, will help you stand out from the crowd.
  • Brain assisted vehicle – Many crashes could be avoided if drivers react to problems more quickly. That’s why Nissan is investigating wireless headsets which enable brain-to-vehicle technology to improve response times.
  • Mechanic-on-wheels – Vehicle computers will be able to diagnose their own mechanical problems and needs, for example, software upgrades, book the next visit to a mechanic, renew insurance after scanning, and identifying the best insurance option.
  • Shared autonomous vehiclesSelf-driving carswill allow more car sharing because most cars are not in use for 80% of their time. This creates a wonderful opportunity for co-ownership and allowing owners to only pay for the portion of the car they use. These developments offer great potential for:
    • Younger people, who may not be able to afford their own vehicle
    • People with disabilities, who aren’t able to drive
    • Older people who may need to stop driving.
  • Doctor in your car – Ford is developing technology that monitors a driver’s health from their seat. Developments include an electrocardiography reader that monitors heart function without having to touch the skin, and technology to monitor glucose levels.
  • Intelligent dashboards – BMW has already developed safety-promoting augmented reality dashboards with sophisticated computing capabilities. These dashboards enable information, such as speed and turning directions, to be displayed on  the windshield within the driver’s field of vision. This enables drivers to drive more safely as they never need to take their eyes off the road.

Tyres Keeping up with Trends

Dries Venter, Technical Manager of Bridgestone, confirms that Bridgestone, as a tyre manufacturer, is keeping up with developments in the Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) market by providing environmentally friendly tyres through its Ecopia range. These tyres are well suited to the needs of consumers and the environment, especially in terms of fuel economy, safety and reliability, while also promising longevity. By using silica more effectively in the tyre compound, heat generation is inhibited which leads to the reduction in energy loss and lowered rolling resistance.

Thus, the revolution in the vehicle industry is positively influencing a plethora of related industries which are combining forces to ensure a brighter, sustainable future for all.

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