This module assesses a single indicator: a measure of the ratio of the company’s research and development investments in mitigation-relevant technologies. The indicator identifies the ratio between the company’s research and development investment and the required investment as set by a scientific benchmark.
Out of the 25 companies assessed, eight companies (BAIC Motor Corporation Ltd, Chongqing Changan Automobile Company Ltd., Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Renault; Tesla Motors, Inc., and Volkswagen AG) have research and development expenditure towards non-mature, low-carbon technologies that is equal to, or better than, the scientific low-carbon sectoral benchmark of 5 percent of total capex. Two of these companies, General Motors and Volkswagen, are both investing significantly in battery technology, indicating a commitment to meeting future battery needs in an electric vehicle-dominated market. BAIC and Tesla’s low-carbon investments, aligned to the scientific benchmark, both support creating green energy transport ecosystems through the provision of solar power and electric charging stations.
Of the other 17 companies assessed, many performed poorly in this module due to a lack of publicly available information on research and development expenditure towards low-carbon technologies. Ten companies (BMW AG, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Groupe PSA, Honda Motor Company, Mazda Motor Corporation, SAIC Motor Corporation Limited, Subaru Corporation, Suzuki Motor Corporation, Tata Motors, Toyota Motor Corporation) were identified to be making low-carbon investments (aligned to the scientific benchmark) towards conventional mitigation technologies (i.e., mature technologies that improve the efficiency of conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles). However, details on the research and development expenditure on non-combustion engine drivetrains was not identified. It is not clear whether this lack of data truly reflects a lack of expenditure or is due to a conscious decision by the companies not to share this information.
Six companies scored 0 percent in this module. For five of these companies the poor performance is again driven by a lack of data availability; for four of the companies (Dongfeng Automobile Co., Ltd, FAW Car Company Limited, Geely Automobile Holdings Limited; Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd) no research and development expenditure data was identified. Hyundai could not be assessed on this indicator due to lack of a reasonable capex estimate for the company.
Mitsubishi (with 0 percent) and Daimler (with 8 percent) were the only two companies assessed to have available research and development expenditure data that was deemed not to align with the scientific low-carbon benchmark.
This module ranking is heavily influence by data availability. There was a lack of reported data for several companies, and as such it is not clear whether this reflects a lack of expenditure or is due to a conscious decision by the companies not to share this information, although it is worth noting that non-mature technology clearly exists within the majority of the companies’ portfolios. Companies should begin to share more details on research and development expenditure to demonstrate their commitment to decarbonisation and the low-carbon transition.