In the wake of the Volkswagen diesel scandal, it’s impossible to hear an automaker talk about its overall environmental efforts and not think to yourself, “for real?” Still, we’re willing to listen. And Hondarepresentatives gave it their best shot yesterday in Marysville, OH as they introduced a small group of journalist to the company’s expanded initiative aimed at cutting CO2 emissions and the total life-cycle environmental impact of Honda products.
Called Green Path, the initiative now includes a $210-million expansion at Honda’s Marysville, OH manufacturing plant to install a better, cleaner paint shop. Speaking at the facility yesterday, Honda representatives said that the plant room is not only better for the environment (it uses limestone dust instead of water to capture paint particles, for example, reducing water usage by about 2 million gallons annually. Overall, the new paint shop will have 60 percent less VOC emissions and reduce CO2 emissions by 18 percent), it also makes the cars look better. That’s whey the two-step temperature curing process will initially only be used on Acuras to differentiate them from the competition. Honda will fire up trials in late 2017.
There’s more to Green Path than the new paint show, of course. The company wants to reduce – in some cases eliminate – what it calls substances of concern (SOCs), things like lead and mercury. There are also new wind turbines in Ohio to supply power to Honda plants, the Environmental Leadership Program for independent dealerships to make their own green moves, and swapping out fluorescent light bulbs for LEDs, among other efforts. In the Marysville Auto Plant, for example, the Assembly department has over 10,000 task light bulbs. The fluorescent ones used to need to be replaced every three years, but the new LEDs have a life span of 16 years. Honda says that calculating up the impact of all of these little changes will remove an average of 3.822 kilograms of CO2 from the production tally of each car it makes. The company’s stated goal is to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent (compared to 2000 levels) by 2050.