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You are the sustainability manager for a manufacturer of electric mobility scooters for the disabled. At present, your material and energy flows are entirely linear (no reuse or recycling). Your CEO has seen a presentation on ‘The Circular Economy’ and has asked you to investigate the extent to which this concept could be applied to the company and its products. You are primarily responsible for the sustainability of the manufacturing activities of the company, but your role also involves you in the planning of future products and the business model of the organisation, since all these also affect industrial sustainability.

  1. Describe the different components used in your product and comment on the degree to which their material flows can be made circular. The main types of component are:
  • Structural parts (chassis, wheels, suspension, seat assembly, etc.)
  • Electrical parts (motors, switches, wires, circuit boards, batteries) and
  • Miscellaneous parts (tyres, transmission, bodywork, upholstery, etc.)

Note: Some of the components are manufactured by your suppliers and simply assembled in your factory. This includes most of the electrical parts.

  1. Describe a future sustainable industrial system in terms of the stages in the lifecycle of a typical product after the company’s material and energy flows have been made as ‘circular’ as possible.
  2. For each of the types of component above, describe the short term and longer term steps that the company should take to get to the sustainable system you described above. Where possible, illustrate your arguments from case studies in the literature and indicate briefly any relevant policy implications.

1.A systematic understanding of the activities of industrial organisations at all points of the product life-cycle from raw material extraction to disposal and a critical awareness of current approaches to mitigating the associated environmental impacts.

2.A comprehensive understanding of assessment and analysis techniques that can be applied to the student's own research into ways to reduce the environmental impact and energy consumption of industrial organisations

Benefits of Circular Economy

The circular economy is a system where products, parts and materials are retained as much as possible and then these are traded in a closed loop. It is also a system that allows for recycling, refurbishment and reusing products and its parts. The aim of the circular economy is therefore to retain as much as possible from the discarded parts of the product. It also allows for optimal reuse of the products, recycling of the products and the materials. In a circular economy the toxic or harmful substances are removed and there no presence of waste because all the residuals are made as useful as possible.  The goal of this kind of economy is therefore is to decouple the growth of economy from the consumption of the resource by focusing much on value retention. Both the natural and the social capital plays a very role. As there is continuous launch of electrical vehicles, the habits of human beings are also changing (Chew. 2016). Transport are made to use less amount of fossil fuels and are electrical as much as possible the companies also will take huge initiative in installing charging infrastructure for the electric vehicles within a few years. Huge amount of investment are been made both by public and private sectors in order to install charging infrastructure as much as possible. Many kinds of electric vehicles are sold all around the world. In order to increase the sales of the mobility scooters some of the countries have even started reducing the prices. The electrical scooter is a mechanical device which is composed of different mechanical components (Chou and Mathews 2017). The motion system of the scooter consists of the steering wheels, tyres, braking system and their parts of sub systems. The structural parts however were made to provide structural solidity to the scooters. The power train group of the scooter consist of lithium battery electronic controller.

The circular economy benefits in macroeconomic and microeconomic levels. The industrial system that is regenerative by design is also a part of the circular economy. When the circular economy is adopted the waste can be reduced. Circular economy aims to change the production system from a linear to a circular model. Adopting circular economy will also a have   a positive effect on the environment which will also reduce the exploitation of the resources on environment (Horváth and Fogarassy 2017). It also has the potential to bring down the emissions. In order to adopt circular economy materials which are non-toxic and energy efficient are used. Residues from water and gas should be absorbed so that it is possible to reuse them in the process. Along with environmental benefits which exists in circular economy there is also a reduction in virgin materials. This kind of economy also reduces the reduction of exploitation of ecosystems and land. For this reason there is a rise in the value of and there is a balance in the system. For this reason the negative effects have also reduced. It minimizes waste and emissions. The system of circular economy makes most of the use of renewable energy without using fossil fuels.

Structure and Components of Electric Mobility Scooters

An electric mobility scooter has wheels, a seat, handlebars and a steering arrangement which is a form of delta style arrangement. These scooters usually run on batteries which is stored on the scooter and charged electrically whenever required. Mobility scooters can be of various types starting from large and heavy weighted scooters which is generally used for travelling rough terrain, there are also small and light scooters which can be easily fold into smaller parts (Horváth. and Fogarassy 2017). These types of scooters have lots of advantages. It is quite helpful for people suffering from obesity, lung problems or any kind of arthritis and are also quite affordable. The scooters are also recently modified so that it becomes appealing to the users.

Some of the main components that are used to make mobility scooters include

 It consists of wheels, suspension and chassis, electric parts that includes motors, batteries, circuit boards and wires and the rest consists of tires, bodywork and transmission. Electric vehicles are a very good alternative to the traditional vehicles. A powerful design tool used for a greener product is known as Eco-design which helps to produce products which are more sustainable. The structural parts of the scooters are designed to provide a structural solidity to the transport which consists of the chassis, the steel frame and the seat (Lixandru et al 2017). Unlike the traditional scooters which uses fuel tank and thermic engines as a source of energy, mobility scooters use electric motor and lithium batteries. They are less expensive and also provides less environmental damage. The power is provided usually by the electric motors. The stainless steel which is used in the structure of the scooter are usually rust proof and light weight. Seats have been made quite comfortable by providing padded footrests.

Electric vehicles are a very good example of circular economy as it contributes in reducing the consumption of energy and also reduces harmful emissions. Initiative should be taken for installing a number of charging columns as much as possible. Using renewable energy sources and low emissions are the key factors which made them the circular model (Diehl et al 2018). Through the circular economy of the battery used in the scooters carbon footprint of battery and electricity can be reduced by the production of green technology. Most of the greenhouse emissions are produced during the production phase of the battery, therefore environmental impacts of the battery need to be improved. The traditional scooters which uses fuel tank and thermic engines as a source of energy, mobility scooters use electric motor and lithium batteries. They are less expensive and also provides less environmental damage. The power is provided usually by the electric motors. Second life batteries can act as a sustainable option for storage of renewable energy (Horváth. and Fogarassy 2017). Using of vehicle to grid services will help to phase out fossil fuels by stabilizing the grid. The two kinds of sustainable materials in a circular economy are mostly biological and technical which includes plastics, metals, wood and paper.

Advantages of Electric Mobility Scooters

 Biodegradable tyres or tyre made from synthetic rubber can be used in the structural part. The price of the scooters can also be reduced by using the battery swapping models as it will also lead to reduction of number of batteries used in circulation. In a circular economy materials are made to cycle indefinitely and all are sustainable sources of energy. It aims on producing waste free design (Chou and Mathews 2017). A charger of 24volt is used for a three wheeled mobility scooters. Other components which are used in making the mobility scooters includes charger sockets, handlebar grips, throttle potentiometers, circuit breakers of  the scooters, horns and switches, steering parts, hub caps and many more. This type of scooter is very much similar to the electric wheelchair. The tiller which is the steering part is located centrally at the front of the scooter. It is also used for limiting speed and light and for turn signals. Directions are often controlled by switches and thumb paddles. There are two types of mobility scooters, they are front wheel drive and rear wheel drive. The front wheel drive mobility scooters are usually best suited for indoors and are smaller in size (Gradin et al 2018). On the other hand rear wheel drive can be used for both outdoors and indoors. Material hygiene will be used for improving the material management of the product. It can be also used for high level of efficiency of the materials. In case of a thermic engine used it should not exceed beyond 50cm3. Most of the electrical parts of the scooters are been manufactured by the suppliers and are assembled in the factory (Lixandru et al 2017). The electrical system of the scooters mainly consists of the power source and the battery and it basically controls the electrical devices such as the horn, lights and the turn indicators. The steering system, tyres, suspension, the transmissions and the braking system are all parts of the motion systems. The principle parts of the structural groups include chassis, seat and the polymer body or the frame. It might also consist of a thermic powertrain. The powertrain group which is electric may consist of an electronic controller, a battery made up of lithium and a hub wheel motor.

In case of an electric mobility scooter the seat is over four or five wheels. There are different types of mobility scooters which ranges from light, small manual scooters which are used for travelling without any use of motor. There are also mobility scooters of mid-range which are for both outdoors and indoors. There are many advantages of electric mobility scooters and is especially helpful for those people who have mobility problems (Kerdlap and Gheewala 2016). The mobility scooters have high demand for the disabled people as they do not look like a wheelchair. They are also more powerful when compared with the electric wheelchairs. In order to make the scooters more appealing to the customers the manufacturers have modified a lot. Therefore, the scooters look very similar to small thin cars. However, there are also some limitations in using mobility scooters like as it has a longer length it limits the turning radius. Presence of the ground clearance which may be low can make it quite impossible to navigate through certain obstacles. The less weight of the scooters is also a cause for concern in most cases. The limitations of scooters might also prevent the disabled people from using electric scooters. Electric mobility scooters are quite simple to operate specially those of mid -range mobility scooters  (Malik,  Dincer and Rosen 2016). Recharging of batteries for the electric scooters is also quite comfortable. Using small motorized vehicles can also prevent muscle strain and mane kind of injuries.

Limitations of Electric Mobility Scooters

A sustainable development strategy that is used to tackle various environmental degradation problem and resource scarcity is known as the circular economy. The three principles of circular economy are reduce, reuse and recycling of materials. Most of the materials used in this kind of economy can be recycled and are renewable in nature. The life cycle assessment of a product is a way in which the environmental impacts are associated with the stages that includes from extraction of raw materials through processing, distribution, repair, maintenance and recycling (Gradin et al 2018).

 The stages of a lifecycle of a typical product includes the introduction stage which consists of development of product, the stage of growth, the stage of maturity and the decline stage. However, some big brands might have long lasting life that may never end.

Introduction stage

The manufacturers of the product at the stage of introduction or development will try to make the product according to the need of the customers. There is no marketing expense in this stage. All the cost are put into research. The manufacturers can face loss and they usually have to bear a heavy cost for the production this stage. The company also does not provide all the information in the market. Manufacturers will then definitely try to produce more efficient products. Different products have their different strategies and marketing mix.

In the second stage the manufacturer tries to bring a new product into the market and also starts selling. However, the revenue will not be covered in this stage. The company also bears some cost of advertising in this stage (Lixandru et al 2017). After the introduction come the stage of growth where manufacturers have increased their production and the consumers have started purchasing more of their items. This is the third stage of the life cycle of a particular product. A huge investment in advertising are made in this stage and marketing is also done in this stage as the firm faces huge competition. The product now will also need some support for advertising. Manufacturers will also try to invest more money into the product. In the growth stage the product is also in the profit stage (Diehl et al 2018). The product will also bear its own cost. This period is comparatively shorter than rest of the stages.

The maturity stage often comes after the growth stage. In this stage the product generally remains in the top position and has become quite familiar with the conditions of the market (Ghisellini, Cialani and Ulgiati 2016). In the mature stage the product also enjoys the brand power. Huge amount of money is invested for advertising for the sustainability of the product. The mature stage is known as the last stage for gaining huge amount of market share. The product will be very mature in this stage and will be quite familiar with the market conditions.

The decline is the last stage which comes after maturity stage. The product here has already enjoyed huge profit and sales and therefore will quit the market. The industrial system in the modern world is responsible for raising the quality of life of the people. Most of the business are already engaged in reduction of impact by introducing new products and business models. Industrial systems have been improving different prosperities. In the decline stage, which is usually the last stage of the product will usually quit from the market. The sales of the product then will go down in the market. In case of sustainable products in the decline stage the discarded materials will be refurbished. There is absolutely no need of investing huge amount of money in this stage.

 Significant changes in the industrial system are therefore needed to make the system fully sustainable. Industries might refurbish sophisticated products many times. It should also make use of most of the discarded materials (Ghisellini, Cialani and Ulgiati 2016). Usage of those materials are necessary which can be reused again and again. All these can also help in reducing global warming. The consumer products have also been made disposable. The future sustainable industrial system will also work towards minimising the environmental impacts of the processes and the products. It will also promote the marketing of greener products. The introduction of EcoDesign will also deal with the product creation. The industries will understand the importance of the green importance and will then aim for sustainability. (Chou and Mathews 2017). New technologies may come into its place. Profits along with sales usually tends to go down in this stage. However, not all products will go into the stage of decline and quit the market, new systems of research and training will be made. All the manufacturing design should have sustainable component as a main part. The industrial systems have evolved with the technological changes so that it can survive in the next generation. A lot of significant changes have been taken place in order to make it sustainable.

Sustainable development is a kind of development which meets the present needs without compromising the need of the future generation (Diehl et al 2018). In order to meet the various social needs of the humans a key strategy adopted by the industrialization of various countries by creating industries, manufacturing output in order to create economic development. Industry had always been the main contributor of the environmental pollution and therefore there is an increase in the intervention of the government. The future industrial development usually focuses on the  hi tech industries that will have low amount of raw material use and high level of usage of new technologies.

The electric mobility scooters are made up of different components which consist of structural parts, electrical parts and also other miscellaneous parts. The structural parts that consist of the outer framework of the scooter, chassis, assemble of seats, wheels and suspension (Geissdoerfer et al 2017). The wheels over here can be made sustainable in the short term and the body of the scooter too can be replaced with the steel which can be reused. The electrical parts which are mostly made by the manufacturers of the company consists of circuit boards, batteries, switches and wires. The most important part of the scooter which can be made sustainable is the battery (Yu and Wen 2018). Replacing the petrol scooters with zero emission mobility scooters is the most important step towards sustainability. As batteries needs to be charged every time the company can install charging points at various location in the long term. The electronic system of the scooter consists of the battery and the power source which also manages the turn indicators, horns and lights (Chew. 2016). In the long run the electronic and the electrical system of the scooter can be changed. The electronic parts will be way different from the traditional scooters. There will be increase in the use of lithium ion batteries. However, the recycling of lithium ion batteries are also quite difficult. The environmental challenges like water scarcity, fossil fuels and fossil fuels depletion impact both the developed and the developing nations. In order to make the firm a sustainable system innovative transportation should be made to facilitate cost effective movement of the product. Energy efficiency of the vehicles should also be increased. Production should be made in such a way in order to minimize the wastage of resource (Geissdoerfer et al 2017).

The electric mobility scooters reduces dependencies on oil and also increases the mobility of elderly. According to Alan Parker power associated mobility scooters batteries are made in such a way so that it can travel for at least 30km before recharging. In order to make scooters sustainable permanent magnets are used in motors that are brushless and batteries are made up of lithium. The case study from electric scooters used in China states that they are very environment friendly and also there are tremendous growth in this product. The high speed of the scooters also help in increasing the accessibility for shopping. One of the policies is to promote product lifetimes with the help of customer legislation. The next policy can be harmonising the information of product that is electric scooter (Tyfield and Zuev2016). Some of the product policy instruments include Ecodesign directive, green public procurement and by extending the responsibility of the producer. Impacts of the electric mobility scooters are highly dependent on the characteristics of local transportation system.


 Building a smart and integrated public policy on the different issues of environment is a very important concept. The electric mobility scooters will represent as a greener alternative to those scooters which uses fossil fuels. As the population of the world is rising it is very important to switch from linear to circular economy. Circular economy has to be developed to ensure safe living and healthy living and not causing any kind of harm to the environment. Due to the rapid change in climate along with increasing capacity for electric power, electric mobility will be very much environmental friendly. The process of transforming into electric mobility is quite a complex method. In order to extend the sustainability mandate industries collaborate with industry and environmental organizations to reduce negative impacts. Therefore, in order to change the manufacturing activities of my company, the wheels and the batteries can be made sustainable for manufacturing electric mobility scooters.

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