Renault Group

Decarbonized mobility: focus on Renault Group's trajectory

05 June 2024
3 min
Decarbonization Renault Group
Given its significant weight in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the transport sector, particularly the automotive industry, is committed to a far-reaching energy transition. Renault Group has put in place a solid strategy to promote low-carbon mobility. Objective? Make a success of its trajectory towards net-zero emissions, with the implementation of a detailed action plan covering the entire car life cycle. This plan aims at significantly reducing the GHG emissions generated by the Group's activities, not only during the vehicle production phase, but also upstream, from design and procurement of parts and materials, and downstream, when vehicles are on the road.

Let’s find out how Renault Group is rethinking all the stages in the life of a car to improve the environmental impact of your journeys today and tomorrow.
by Hélène Mazier

What are the challenges of decarbonizing mobility?

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector

Decarbonizing mobility is one of the main challenges of the energy transition. The main source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the transport sector accounts for around 23% of global GHG emissions, according to figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

More than two-thirds of these emissions are generated by road transport, and more than half by private vehicles. The automotive sector therefore needs to make the shift to decarbonized mobility.

Stepping out of sales of combustion-powered vehicles by 2035

Under the Paris Agreement, 195 states have committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, including the European Union.

To achieve this goal, the European Commission is recommending that EU member states reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2040. To achieve this, they need to step up the pace of sustainable mobility. This encompasses all carbon-free modes of transport, from bicycles to electric cars.

Bearing this in mind, the European Parliament has voted in favor of phasing out the sale of new combustion-powered cars by 2035, failing which manufacturers would be subject to significant financial penalties. The automotive industry therefore needs to rethink its business model. “Our industry is ready to take up the challenge of providing zero-emission vehicles,” said Sigrid de Vries, Director General of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) at the time of the Parliament's vote in February 2023. As a player committed to green mobility, Renault Group can only endorse these words.

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies.

Vehicles emit the most GHG emissions when they are in use, on the road. In 2019, these accounted for 85% of total emissions generated by a car during its life cycle! Replacing petrol and diesel fuels with cleaner alternatives is therefore the main lever for action for automakers. The sector is stepping up research into all available technologies, from electric to hydrogen and even alternative fuels.

In fact, over their entire lifecycle, vehicles powered by greener energy have far less impact. The example of the electric vehicle speaks for itself. According to a study by Transport & Environnement, an NGO promoting sustainable transport in Europe, “an electric car purchased in 2022 and used in Europe emits on average 3 times less CO2eq than its gasoline counterpart over its entire life cycle”. In France, thanks to our largely decarbonized energy mix, an electric car emits up to 5 times less than a combustion-powered equivalent.

The resource challenge

However, the electrification of the vehicle fleet is increasing pressure on certain resources, in particular the materials used in batteries, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel. After the semiconductor crisis between 2021 and 2023, some experts fear, for example, a shortage of lithium by 2025, an essential component for batteries.

Not to mention the price volatility of certain materials, or their increasing scarcity, such as copper, an essential component in electrical cables.

Faced with this growing demand, the automotive industry must therefore anticipate the availability of materials and move more towards the circular economy and the reuse of parts and recycled materials from end-of-life vehicles in the manufacture of new cars.

What is Renault Group's decarbonization trajectory and action plan?

A pioneer in decarbonized mobility, Renault Group has implemented an ambitious action plan to reduce the carbon footprint of its vehicles. This strategy covers the entire lifecycle of a car: design and procurement, manufacturing, use and end-of-life.


Right from the vehicle design stage, Renault Group favors materials that emit fewer GHGs, including recycled materials with a lower carbon footprint than virgin materials. We also work upstream with our suppliers to promote the use of recycled and/or biosourced materials, energy savings and the use of renewable energies for their production. The New Scénic E-Tech Electric, for example, is made from 24% circular-economy materials. And the company has set a target of 33% recycled materials by 2030.

This is a major challenge, given that managing the supply of parts and materials for automotive production accounts for around 16% of a car's GHG emissions over its lifecycle.


While the manufacture of vehicles in factories represents a small part of a carmaker's carbon footprint (less than 1% for Renault Group), this stage nevertheless represents another lever for action. To limit its CO₂ emissions, the Group relies above all on green energies and energy efficiency within its plants. In other words, “consume less and consume better”.

 With a view to industrial decarbonization, the Group has reduced workshop sizes and implemented monitoring software to optimize electricity, gas and water consumption items.

The use of renewable energies also provides clean energy for the manufacture of low-emission vehicles. In Spain, for example, all the electricity produced already comes from photovoltaic solar farms. In France, a geothermal system will be installed at the Douai site. This “environmentally-friendly” heating system will supply 70% of the site's heating needs!


As mentioned above, the use phase of vehicles represents the biggest share of their carbon footprint and therefore, the main lever for action for a carmaker. A priority for Renault Group.

To reduce this impact, the main focus is on electrifying the range. A pioneer in electric mobility at the turn of the 2010s, Renault Group brands now include around ten electric vehicles in their passenger car and commercial vehicle ranges. The company has made this a key strategic focus, creating Ampère, an entity dedicated to electric mobility, which brings together the group's production sites for electric motors and cars.

Renault Group also supports the mobility market by deploying IRVE (Infrastructure de Recharge pour Véhicules Électriques) charging stations and recharging services in its dealerships, as well as at home and in the workplace.

The company is also turning to other alternative energy sources, notably hydrogen for large commercial vehicles such as the Master, through its subsidiary Hyvia, jointly owned with the American PlugPower.

Finally, the development of car-sharing, a segment in which Renault Group is positioned through its Mobilize brand, also helps to reduce the carbon impact of mobility.

In recent years, efforts have also focused on internal combustion vehicles. Between 2010 and 2022, a huge amount of work has been done to reduce their consumption and, consequently, their emissions", explains Virginie Sauvet Goichon, Climate Plan Leader, Renault Group. She adds: “the development of eco-driving with on-board tools enabling drivers to adapt their driving to reduce fuel consumption has also borne fruit. Not to mention the introduction of hybrid vehicles to the ranges.”

Renault Group also acts to reduce the impact of its after-sales activities, in terms of GHG emissions and resource consumption. Embracing circular economy principles to prolong product life, the company provides customers with original spare parts that have been remanufactured or reconditioned to meet quality standards. The company also offers reused parts from end-of-life vehicles, as well as repair services and the retrofitting of internal combustion vehicles into electric vehicles. To develop this range of products and services, Renault Group relies on its entity dedicated to the automotive circular economy: The Future Is NEUTRAL.

End of life

As previously stated, recycling end-of-life vehicles are key regarding low-carbon mobility. It now makes it possible to produce new, cleaner vehicles while reducing their impact. This is also where The Future is Neutral comes in, having developed closed loops for recycling materials such as copper, plastic, steel and aluminum, and reintegrating them into the production of new cars. The automaker intends to accelerate its efforts in this area, particularly for electric vehicle batteries. By 2030, Renault Group has set itself the target of reusing around 80% of the strategic ores from recycled batteries - nickel, cobalt and lithium - in the manufacture of new batteries.

Finally, the development of car-sharing, a segment in which Renault Group is positioned through its Mobilize brand, also helps to reduce the carbon impact of mobility.

Where does Renault Group stand on its trajectory?

Renault Group is aiming for net carbon neutrality of its emissions by 2040 in Europe and by 2050 for the rest of the world. And the company is well on the way to achieving this. Between 2010 and 2023, the automaker has already reduced its carbon footprint by 28%.

The road to 2050 is still a long one, but all the levers for action and the efforts to be made are now clearly identified. Especially since, thanks to the Carbon Management Platform tool set up by the automaker, each employee can now visualize the impact of his or her job on the Company's carbon footprint. “We were the first to democratize the issue of decarbonization, to leave behind a world of experts and bring all employees on board, making it a subject for everyone, in all businesses and countries where the Group is present, so that everyone can act at their own level on each of the levers to reduce our impact”, Virginie Sauvet-Goichon emphasizes.


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