China’s carbon neutrality target has posed a serious challenge to the automotive industry. Due to its long industrial chain and close relationship with the energy and transportation sectors, automotive companies’ emission reduction strategies are of great significance and require systematic research. While earlier studies concentrated too much on a technical aspect or a production link and lacked a systematic emission reduction plan on the strategic level of automotive firms, this paper aims to provide the emission reduction strategies and specific emission reduction measures of car companies under China's carbon neutrality target. In this paper, we identify the key carbon reduction paths of automotive companies by analyzing their major carbon reduction drivers and key emission links. The research is carried out in the following order: Firstly, this paper collected information on carbon reduction in vehicle companies through both access to extensive literature and in-depth interviews. Then this paper conducted the identification of the key factors influencing automotive company’s emission and mitigation. Based on the policies, technologies, and industrial development prospects related to China's future automobile industry, four main pathways of carbon reduction for automobile enterprises were put forward. Afterwards, more detailed emission reduction measures within each pathway were researched, resulting in a list of twenty-five measures for auto companies. This paper draws the following conclusions through the analysis: Currently, the drivers of emission reduction facing carmakers in China are mainly non-compulsory, such as corporate image enhancement. In the future, with the inclusion of the auto industry in the carbon market, drivers for car companies will evolve into mandatory ones. Therefore, automotive manufacturers should make strategic preparations. This paper examines the carbon emissions of various stages of automotive production from three emission scopes. Based on the forecast of China's technology, industry, and policy, four major carbon reduction pathways for Chinese auto companies are identified. The four pathways are green manufacturing for scope 1, adoption of renewable energy for scope 2, low-carbon life cycle design of products for scope 3, and environment, social, and governance (ESG) investments for carbon offsetting. Through a more detailed analysis of the four mitigation pathways, this paper creates a list of carbon emission reduction measures for automakers in China. Based on the obtained measure list, a case study is conducted for a traditional Chinese auto company V. It is found that currently the measure with the best overall benefit for company V is self-built renewable energy, and the most important of the four pathways is green manufacturing. However, the limitation is that subjective scoring may introduce bias into the results. This paper provides a systematic and comprehensive description of the key emission reduction paths of Chinese automakers, which contributes to the development of their emission reduction strategies. The list of twenty-five measures proposed in this article can serve as a toolkit for automotive companies. Automotive companies can choose the evaluation dimensions on their own and evaluate the list based on the chosen evaluation dimensions to find the most important carbon reduction measures.
Mr. Fuquan Zhao, Professor, Tsinghua university