Audi is working on a 12-month pilot project to recycle broken car windows into new ones, to eventually be installed in the Q4 e-tron electric SUV.
The company says these recycled car windows could cut CO2 emissions from the glass supply chain by about 30 per cent, and reduce consumption of quartz sand.
“Faulty car windows often go in the recycling bin when the cracked part cannot be fixed. A closed material circuit does not yet exist for damaged car glass,” the company said.
The project involves Audi plus partner companies Reiling Glas Recycling, Saint-Gobain Glass, and Saint-Gobain Sekurit.
How does it work? Faulty or broken car windows are broken into small pieces, the non-glass impurities like glue residue are removed, and the resulting glass granulate is melted down and turned into new plate glass. That plate glass is then turned into a new car window.
“If this pilot is successful, the windows that are produced this way will be used in models in the Audi Q4 e-tron series in the future,” Audi adds.
The company says it’s part of a wider “circular economy strategy”, with its supply chain and purchasing teams tasked with looking at products over their entire life cycle. Aluminum scraps from Audi’s press shop have been introduced into a similar closed circuit since 2017.
“Our goal is to use secondary materials everywhere it is technically possible and economically reasonable to do so. We’re working on introducing materials we have direct access to into closed circuits,” says Head of Procurement Strategy Marco Philippi.
“As of now, for example, old car glazing is not being used to produce new car windows. We want to change that.”
That’s despite a claim from Paul Sansom, the managing director of Volkswagen Group Australia which oversees the Audi brand among others, that VGA will become “the most significant source of electric vehicles in this country”.
The MEB-based Q4 e-tron is now looking like it’ll be beaten to market by the MEB-based Cupra Born, due here late this year.