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Designers: PDR, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Manufacturer: PDR, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Over 20 million vehicles reach the end of life each year in the EU and US, estimated to be at least 30 million annually.
While recycling rates are higher in developed countries at least 25% of each vehicle scrapped goes to a landfill.
Steering wheels, with complex, multi-material construction and integrated controls are a particular problem and defy recycling to make a significant proportion of the 25% of each vehicle that goes to landfill each year.
Metals, polymers, elastomerics, synthetics, and electronics are typically combined in a way that makes disassembly impossible and thousands of tons of valuable resources are wasted each year.
Cercle is the first automotive steering wheel to adopt a full circular economy approach to design allowing easy and complete disassembly and recycling at end of life whilst incorporating complex controls and haptic feedback into traditional control surfaces.
Onboard steering wheel-based controls are standard and next-generation vehicles are anticipated to require even more integrated electronics and haptic feedback abilities to further enhance the driver experience.
This increased intelligence and complexity are key touchpoints of any vehicle and further add to the challenges of recycling.
Cercle is the result of an extensive research and design program involving multiple partners across Europe to address this problem.
The result is a contemporary steering wheel design with integrated controls, and inbuilt haptic feedback, all within a rational aesthetic that is fully recyclable.
Key to Cercle’s success is its ability to conform to a traditional high-quality steering wheel aesthetic and familiar design cues.
Designed to be simply disassembled into component waste streams the design uses sustainable and reusable materials throughout without compromising this key touchpoint within the vehicle.
Compliant with challenging functional and safety requirements, Cercle allows extensive interactive controls including haptic feedback to support the driver experience.
Its recyclability and novel construction design do not compromise the user experience.
The design of a truly recyclable steering wheel is a major EU environmental objective.
Cercle supports the key ambition of a full circular economy-based transport system, a competitive and responsible automotive industry and eliminates up to 6 million steering wheels sent to landfill annually in the EU.