Across the world, the introduction of regulations to curb CO2 emissions is continuing. In Europe the limit for new-car fleet-average emissions will be reduced to 95 g CO2/km by 2021. At the same time, energy is becoming more expensive and raw materials increasingly scarce. These factors, along with increasing urbanization and the worldwide growth in goods and traffic flows, define the parameters within which the Volkswagen Group conducts its core business as a mobility provider, and help to explain our focus on combating climate change. We are carrying out large-scale investment in research and development with the aim of achieving our ambitious environmental goals, and in order to become market leader in the field of electric mobility. And we are progressively integrating environmental considerations into our value chain and across all Group brands and companies.
Our Powertrain and Fuel Strategy
The Volkswagen Group is facing up to the challenge of innovative powertrain development. In 2013 alone, our research and development spending totaled approximately €10.2 billion. Much of this investment was devoted to reducing the CO2 emissions of our new-vehicle fleet, within the framework of our Powertrain and Fuel Strategy. Under this strategy we are continuing the electrification of the model range, increasing the number of natural-gas vehicles and steadily improving the efficiency of our gasoline and diesel engines. As a result of these efforts, the Volkswagen Group has become the world’s leading innovator in the field of powertrain technology, according to the Center of Automotive Management (CAM). CAM published the results of its latest comparison of the powertrain development activities and innovative capability of 20 international automobile manufacturers in December 2013. The high quality and large number of its powertrain innovations meant that the Volkswagen Group was able to extend its leadership over the previous year. 46
Research and Development Projects
Together with partners from the field of industry and research, in 2013 we again took part in a range of industry-leading joint research projects:
Lightweight design: With the new Golf, the Technical Development department has succeeded in turning the tide of spiraling weight. The new-generation model is lighter than its predecessor. Thanks to extensive lightweight design measures, weight has been reduced by as much as 100 kg, depending on specification level, and even more in the case of the Golf estate. The Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen (NFF) is stepping up its focus on lightweight design with the construction of an Open Hybrid LabFactory at its Wolfsburg site, where it will be researching new development and production methods in cooperation with Volkswagen and suppliers. The NFF is a research center set up in 2007 with the support of the Lower Saxony state government and the Volkswagen Group to serve as a platform for cooperation between industry and science.
At the same time, we are working with Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and other partners to develop a laser process for the automated cutting of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) components. This would allow this lightweight material to be used in automotive mass production, thereby reducing vehicle weight – which will be one of the most crucial parameters in automotive design and production in the future. If cars based on CFRP are to be massproduced in future, then automated production technologies – in particular cutting technologies – are essential. In the joint project “HolQueSt 3D”, seven partners from industry and research, led by Volkswagen, are working together to develop a process for 3-D high-performance laser machining of CFRP lightweight structures.
THE ROAD TO CARBON-NEUTRAL MOBILITY
New materials for e-mobility: The limited battery capacity of electric vehicles means that efficient temperature management is one of the technical challenges that have to be addressed when developing electric mobility. Cooling of the passenger compartment in summer and heating of the passenger compartment in winter means taking valuable energy away from the high-voltage battery, significantly reducing the range of the electric vehicle. Valuable energy can be saved, and the vehicle’s driving range extended, by using new materials to assist cabin temperature management. The e-STROM initiative, which runs from 2013 to 2016, is developing concepts based on innovative materials that will provide a basis for efficient temperature management in electric vehicles. The aim of the project is to reduce the climate-control-related drain on the battery at all times of the year, so that use of comfort-related vehicle functions does not impact on the driving range of electric vehicles. The joint project, coordinated by Volkswagen Group Research, is being supported by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the government’s high-tech strategy.
Intelligent grid integration of electric vehicles: A further pilot project launched in 2013 and coordinated by Volkswagen Group Research is the INEES project on intelligent grid integration of electric vehicles and provision of grid support services. The project has been awarded “Lighthouse Project” status by the German Environment Ministry. The idea is that electric vehicles would form a local energy buffer of significant size that would help to stabilize the grid by offsetting fluctuations in production of wind and solar power. As and when required, the batteries of electric cars in this buffer – provided they were coupled to a charging station – would be able to flexibly feed power back into the grid. This would help to stabilize the grid during periods when the amount of power being generated was temporarily not sufficient to meet demand.
Goal: to be market leader in electric mobility by 2018.
Our Electric Mobility Program
Our goals for 2018 also include becoming the electric vehicle (EV) market leader by this date. By the end of 2014, a total of 14 models from various Group brands will already feature an all-electric or hybrid powertrain. If there is sufficient demand, up to 40 new models could be fitted with alternative powertrains. We have already built up the necessary know-how for electric motors and battery systems at our own components plants. We began manufacturing battery systems at the Braunschweig plant in Germany in March 2013 and have also trained almost 70,000 development, production and service staff in EV technology – the biggest training initiative of its kind in our industry. The Modular Transverse Matrix platform (MQB) is key to a speedy and cost-efficient introduction of electric mobility across all brands and vehicle classes. From the outset, the MQB was designed to cater for electric powertrain technology as it takes account of all types of powertrain, including systems of the future. The common engine mounting position not only reduces the number of engine/transmission combinations, it also means that alternative powertrains, too, can be integrated in the vehicle with a minimum of effort. The heavy investment in this system is now paying big dividends in terms of the speed and cost efficiency with which it is allowing the Volkswagen Group to get alternative all-electric, fuel cell or plug-in hybrid powertrains into production. The MQB is therefore a foundation not only for economical and resource-saving production but also at the same time key to rolling out efficient mobility concepts for the future.
On the new e-mobility Internet portal, launched in November 2013, the Volkswagen brand is showcasing its electric vehicles and EV-related ideas and technologies. It all began with the NILS concept car and today Volkswagen already has the Touareg Hybrid , Jetta Hybrid , the limited-production XL-1 and the all-electric e-up! on the market. 474849
SEAT concluded its CENIT VERDE electric mobility project in 2013. In the course of this four-year research project, more than 800 professionals from 16 companies and 14 public research centers and universities, led by Centro Técnico de SEAT, came together to develop EV automotive technology, infrastructures and energy systems. The project results were presented in the form of the “SEAT Leon VERDE ” prototype, a plug-in hybrid based on the new Leon. The project has broadened the technological know-how and competitiveness of the participating companies and promoted the technologies necessary for a general roll-out of electric mobility. SEAT is continuing to supply plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles to company fleets for quality testing and improvement purposes.
THE E-UP! – THE NEW BENCHMARK
In 2013, the Volkswagen brand presented its first production electric car: the e-up! . From launch, the e-up! was also backed up by extensive services:
In cooperation with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, Volkswagen is offering a complete wallbox-plus-installation package for vehicle charging. The wallbox reduces the charging time required, compared with the standard solution, to six hours.
If “BluePower” electricity is used, e-up! drivers can not only drive with zero tailpipe emissions, they can also charge their vehicle on carbon-neutral electricity, produced by hydroelectric power stations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In this case, operation of the first all-electric volume-production model from Volkswagen has a zero carbon footprint along the entire energy chain. The green power is supplied in cooperation with partners LichtBlick and Volkswagen Bank.
Using the “Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote” app, e-up! owners can access vehicle data and program a variety of settings via a smartphone or the Car-Net website, irrespective of their current location.
The Environmental Commendation for the e-up! provides customers with a transparent analysis and description of the vehicle’s improved Life Cycle Assessment performance compared with a conventional petrol-engined model, and highlights the role of integrated product development.
MQB – Supporting Achievement of Emission Targets
The Volkswagen e-up! .
The “Think Blue.” Philosophy
The “Think Blue.” philosophy expresses the Volkswagen brand’s thinking on environmental sustainability, looking in particular at the question of how to balance personal mobility with good environmental practice. At the same time this internationally focused strategy adopts a perspective that goes far beyond the products and technologies themselves. It inspires and motivates customers and the public at large to contribute ideas and input and looks to engage with a wide range of environmental organizations throughout the world, in a variety of ways. 50
One of Volkswagen’s priorities as an automotive manufacturer is to develop eco-friendly products and technical solutions, focusing amongst other things on fuel-efficient technologies, on electric mobility that caters to everyday needs, and on innovative mobility concepts like the carsharing project “Quicar” or the “Think Blue. Factory.” program. In each market, “Think Blue.” activities focus on the most urgent environmental challenges in that particular country – for example in Mexico and Spain measures against soil erosion, or in South Africa biodiversity conservation. “Think Blue.” also aims to raise public awareness of the importance of sustainability and involve the public in this “rethinking” process, not least by coming up with entertaining ideas to promote awareness of fuel-efficient driving techniques. 51
In the annual “Think. Blue Challenge.” rally, the driver with the lowest fuel consumption wins.
Raising awareness: “Think. Blue.” already has a high profile at the Volkswagen plants.
Since 2010, “Think Blue.” has been steadily evolving and taking root in the various business units of the Volkswagen brand right across the value chain. This starts at the planning and vehicle design stage, where the Technical Development department has set ambitious goals in terms of an integrated approach to climate protection, resource conservation and health protection throughout the product life cycle. Since late 2012 this strategy, known as “Think Blue. Engineering.”, has brought together all programs and measures aimed at improving the life cycle environmental performance of new vehicle models, based on the environmental goals of the Technical Development department. Environmental aspects are identified at an early stage and taken into account across the entire product life cycle. In 2013, Volkswagen Research and Development created the “Think Blue. Engineering. Awards” to promote special projects that can make an important contribution to climate protection, resource conservation and health protection.
In addition to the ongoing technological development of products and production processes, the Volkswagen brand has also launched a “Think Blue.” campaign to reduce CO2 emissions at its authorized dealers in Germany by 25% by 2020. From 2014, an eco-efficiency advisory service available for all dealerships will suggest possible improvement measures. Particularly eco-friendly dealerships will be issued with the “Future Climate® inspired by Think Blue.” certificate. More information about “Think Blue.” and about current projects can be found at www.volkswagen.com/thinkblue.
GREEN PROGRAMS OF THE BRANDS
All the brands have launched initiatives to identify potential and
to develop strategies and solutions for achieving the Volkswagen Group’s sustainability objectives. In 2013, SEAT launched ECOMOTIVE FACTORY, an umbrella initiative for all production-related environmental activities. The aim of this project is to put SEAT vehicles at the forefront of environmentally friendly production by 2018. To achieve this goal, a variety of production-related environmental protection measures have been adopted that will lead to a reduction of up to 25% in electricity and water consumption, CO2 emissions, emissions of volatile organic compounds and waste output. ŠKODA has grouped its sustainability efforts within its GreenFuture strategy. Based on the three pillars GreenProduct, GreenFactory and GreenRetail, ŠKODA is aiming to increase its portfolio of eco-friendly cars and produce and sell them in a sustainable manner. Scania’s green strategy, known as “Ecolution by Scania”, aims to reduce customers’ energy consumption and CO2 emissions not only at the product development stage but also through optimized vehicle operation, driver training and the ideal maintenance. Audi will be expanding its “ultra” model strategy in 2014, with eleven new models. In the A4, A5 and A6 ranges, a new, powerful and highly efficient 2-liter TDI engine will be launched, developing 100 kW (136 PS), 120 kW (163 PS) and 140 kW (190 PS), with emissions ranging from just 104 to 119 g CO2, depending on the model.