Implementing Life Cycle Engineering in Automotive Development as a Helpful Management Tool to Support Design for Environment

Florian Broch, Jens Warsen, and Stephan Krinke

Abstract This chapter describes the implementation of life cycle engineering, a life cycle management component that focuses on the environmental performance improvement, in the context of automotive design for environment. The purpose of life cycle engineering is to derive measurable technical targets from life cycle assessment (LCA). This approach is described using the example of lightweight design. The progress in this methodology is the ability to calculate measurable targets – such as weight reduction, fuel reduction on a vehicle level, or the amount of secondary material – on the basis of LCA results. It is important to note that LCA is not used here for comparing the environmental performance between competing materials or technologies. Instead, life cycle engineering, as a helpful management tool to support design for environment, shows the technical roadmap of measures that must be taken in order to assure environmental progress over the entire life cycle. In doing so, this tool supports putting life cycle assessment results into business practice.

Keywords Life cycle engineering • Automotive • Design for environment • Lightweight design • Life cycle management


Life cycle management (LCM) is a management concept used by businesses to ensure a continuous sustainable performance improvement of their activities (UNEP/ SETAC 2009). It aims at minimize environmental and socioeconomic burdens in the entire life cycle of a product (Remmen et al. 2007). The mobility sector is a key branch for the development of technologies that help to minimize environmental impacts. For the Volkswagen Group, the motivation for this is not only driven by external factors like environmental regulations, financial markets, customer requirements, competitors' behavior and the volatility of energy and resource prices, but also because, as a major automobile manufacturer, the Volkswagen Group takes seriously its responsibility for the sustainable development of the economy, the environment and the society. Based on this, the Volkswagen Group set itself the goal to become the world's most sustainable automobile manufacturer by 2018. In order to achieve this, a set of ambitious environmental targets has been elaborated to be pursued continuously in different business units like technical development, production, and sales division. The environmental strategy applies not only to all brands of the Volkswagen Group in all regions, but also to the whole value chain.

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