Most CO2 emissions are generated during vehicle operation and not at the production and recycling stages of its life cycle. So the most effective way to reduce mobility-related CO2 emissions is to make vehicles more fuel-efficient. Our approach, however, goes even further. Because while the car will continue to play a key role in the mobility of the future, it will also be integrated more extensively than ever with other modes of transport.
Our philosophy of “intelligent mobility” combines meeting mobility needs with protection of the environment, and is based on achieving efficient synergies between people, infrastructures, technologies and the various modes of transport. In particular, the development of efficient vehicles and mobility-related services must be integrated into a diverse network of factors such as changes in vehicle usage, social and demographic trends and infrastructural and eco-logical challenges. The Volkswagen Group’s extensive range of mobility-related services therefore also includes eco-friendly driver training programs, environmentally compatible fleet management support, and car-sharing services.
CO2 Emissions during Vehicle Operation
In accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), our 2012 Sustainability Report for the first time reported on the Volkswagen Group’s non-energy indirect emissions (Scope 3 emissions). A Scope 3 inventory comprises 15 different categories of emissions, including activities such as employee commuting, use of sold products, end-of-life treatment of sold products and various categories of upstream emissions. The bulk of our CO2 emissions (approximately 76%) is accounted for by use of sold products (vehicles). We can tackle these emissions not only by producing more fuelefficient vehicle models but also by offering new forms of vehicle use, fuel-economy training programs and information for customers. Emissions from upstream transportation and distribution, employee commuting and end-of-life treatment on the other hand make only a small contribution to total Scope 3 emissions, at well below 5%. Nevertheless, here too the cataloging of emissions has sharpened our focus on key action areas, given that we are aiming to set a good example in all areas, and to exploit all options open to us (figures). 61
In November 2011, Volkswagen Financial Services launched the “Quicar – Share a Volkswagen” carsharing project in Hanover. In the meantime the number of pick-up points in the city – specially designated parking places and car parks – where a fleet of 170 Volkswagen-brand vehicles are available for short or longer-term rental has increased to almost 100. Quicar provides high availability, with efficient vehicles and an attractive and flexible charging system. It is also easy and convenient to use. The Quicar fleet comprises mainly Golf BlueMotion models equipped with a 1.6-l TDI engine, offering average fuel consumption of just 3.8 l/100 km and emissions of only 99 g CO2/km. In late 2013, Quicar had 10,119 registered customers. The average duration of a rental was 2.8 hours. In September 2012, Quicar came out “best in test”, with an overall score of 1.8, when German consumer institute Stiftung Warentest compared nine carsharing providers from Germany and the Netherlands. Booking, driving and online experience were among the categories where Quicar impressed the reviewers. 62
Popular with the public: the Quicar carsharing project has more than 10,000 users in Hanover and the surrounding region.
Quicar scored a best-in-test 1.8 from consumer organization Stiftung Warentest.
In April 2013, through its joint venture with Pon Holdings, Volkswagen Financial Services acquired a stake in Collect Car (Greenwheels) – the Dutch car-sharing market leader, whose European fleet comprises approximately 2,000 vehicles. The aim is to jointly develop the Greenwheels business model and to bring it to other European markets as well. With this investment Volkswagen Financial Services has taken the next step in its bid to become the world’s leading automotive financial services provider by 2018. In a market in which new mobility products will take up their place alongside the traditional vehicle ownership model, the Volkswagen Financial Services AG subsidiaries are now catering to an even greater range of customer mobility requirements, with everything from leasing, long-term rental and car hire to carsharing products. 63
“Audi mobility” is developing innovative, premium-oriented mobility services with an international focus, with market launch scheduled for 2014. Sustainability will be a hallmark of these services, for example through use of Audi e-tron und Audi g-tron vehicles and intelligent carsharing concepts.
Solutions for Urban Mobility
By the year 2050, the United Nations predicts that the world’s population will have grown to more than 9.5 billion people. It estimates that the global urban population will double, with more than two thirds of people living in cities. This will place increasing strain on urban mobility systems throughout the world. All urban stakeholders will therefore need to make more effective use of limited urban space.
The Mobility Research function at the Volkswagen Group has already systematically analyzed the strategic challenge of urban space shortage and developed technically feasible solutions capable of making a significant contribution to improved urban transport by 2030. These solutions have been showcased by Volkswagen in a film which depicts typical mobility situations for different types of urban user in the year 2030. The solutions presented range from new types of vehicle, new ways of driving and new forms of vehicle use through to multimodal transport solutions and the design of integrated urban transport hubs. The film demonstrates the broad-based approach being taken by Volkswagen and will also be used in communication with the general public. 64
THE CHALLENGE OF URBAN MOBILITY
In the study “What Cities Want”, published in May 2013, scientists from the Technical University of Munich were commissioned by MAN to investigate how 15 major cities – from Ahmedabad (India) and Los Angeles (USA) to Singapore – are preparing for the expected increase in their populations and how this will affect their urban development and traffic planning policies. One thing all these cities have in common is that they are giving top priority to expanding local public transport, by adding more routes, by providing more frequent services and by offering better customer service. 65
In 2010, Audi launched the Audi Urban Future Initiative, a think-tank that brings together creative thinkers from many different disciplines to analyze urban mobility issues. International architects, urban planners, sociologists and futurologists are all working with Audi to develop integrated urban mobility solutions. The Initiative includes an international award – the Audi Urban Future Award – which is presented every two years for particularly outstanding urban mobility visions. Audi is also working with leading universities to explore future urban mobility scenarios. For example it is working with Columbia University on the “Extreme Cities Project”, whose theme is megacities in the year 2050. Regular workshops with experts from a variety of disciplines, and the work of an interdepartmental think-tank – the Audi Insight Team – are also part of this initiative. 66
The Volkswagen Group is a partner in the “Morgenstadt – City Insights” innovation network, whose aim is to explore the best technologies and solutions for a sustainable redesign of the cities of tomorrow. The network is a neutral platform providing information about current aspects of the research and development of sustainable cities. As a long-standing member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), we are also working with other member companies on the “Sustainable Mobility 2.0” project, which was launched in 2013. The aim is to develop competent and professional solutions for the sustainable urban mobility of the future, which will be discussed with selected cities from around the world.
Reducing Traffic Noise
Urban traffic often comes with a variety of human costs. As an issue which can sometimes significantly reduce the quality of life in cities, traffic noise is an increasingly important concern. How best to provide personal mobility while at the same time reducing its noise impact is a task for all stakeholders, in which the Volkswagen Group too is playing its part.
As an automaker, the Volkswagen brand is working intensively to further reduce noise at the level of the individual vehicle. Work on noise reduction at the Volkswagen Acoustics Center in Wolfsburg is focused on continuous optimization of all aspects of the powertrain, along with aerodynamic aspects and tire/road noise. For all vehicles of the Group, noise is a particularly important consideration when selecting original equipment tires.
To address the issue of traffic noise, the Volkswagen Group also goes a step further. In cooperation with Hamburger Lärmkontor GmbH (Germany), a noise level tool has been developed that evaluates noise reduction measures using noise modeling and mapping, and assesses the impact of such measures in terms of the numbers of people exposed to noise.
As demonstrated by the development of the noise level tool, which measures noise “immissions”, i.e. exposure, we are placing an important focus on how people are actually affected by noise. This is also illustrated by our ongoing dialogue with representatives of local authorities, that is to say those who work with these issues on a practical, day-to-day basis. A good example of this is our collaboration with the City of Wolfsburg, where noise reduction measures in 2013 included paving a city-center street with low-noise asphalt, which has substantially reduced noise levels for local residents.
The overall aim of the Group’s activities in the field of traffic noise is to gain a better understanding of the contribution of the car to traffic noise, as an objective yardstick for deciding which tasks should in future be the responsibility of automakers, like ourselves, and which tasks require a more broadly focused approach, involving dialogue with other stakeholders.
Fuel-saver training helps drivers cut consumption by as much as 25%.
More Fuel-Efficient Driving
For many years the Volkswagen brand and the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) have been organizing free-of-charge fuel-saver training courses throughout Germany under the motto “drive smart – save fuel”. The training is provided by local NABU teams, Volkswagen dealerships and a professional team of “Volkswagen driving experience” instructors. The course participants drive an identical route on public roads twice, once using their normal driving style and once with instructor guidance. Data from the two trips is interpreted and compared by a special on-board trip analyzer. Finally, at the end of the course, the participants are given a brochure with fuel-saver tips to take away with them. These courses enable drivers to take responsibility at the personal level for greener mobility. Drivers who have mastered the basic principles of a smart driving style can cut their fuel consumption by up to 25%, thereby reducing their carbon footprint and at the same time saving themselves money. Empirical monitoring of the training has shown that drivers are able to reduce their fuel consumption by an average of 13%. A fuel-efficient driving style also contributes to reductions in air pollution and noise emissions and makes for greater road safety. The Volkswagen brand supports the fuel-saver training courses by supplying vehicles and instructors free of charge. In 2013, approximately 300 drivers took part in these courses throughout Germany.
Fleet customers of Volkswagen Leasing who lease an eco-friendly Volkswagen Group vehicle with CO2 emissions of less than 130 g/km automatically participate in the “Environmental Program for Sustainable Fleet Management”, organized by Volkswagen Leasing and the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). For each model leased, Volkswagen Leasing and the relevant Group brand make a donation to NABU, which the organization channels into conservation and climate projects. Since this cooperation began, the population of particularly eco-friendly cars in the Volkswagen Leasing portfolio has risen to 283,859 vehicles (per December 2013). Moreover, the past 4.5 years brought a 14% reduction in the average CO2 emissions of all vehicle deliveries to Volkswagen Leasing’s major customers.
Further ways in which Volkswagen Leasing can help its customers make their fleet management operations more eco-friendly include advising them on a green company car policy which as well as covering eligibility also defines user groups and benchmark vehicles, specification levels, model configuration options and vehicle make.
The Environmental Program also includes ECO driver training, where participants learn how to save fuel and costs by changing their driving style. A brochure with eco-friendly driving tips is also available online. Following the successful introduction of this program in Germany, Volkswagen Financial Services plans to roll it out in other markets as well. 67
“GREEN FLEET” AWARD
In 2010, Volkswagen Financial Services and NABU created the annual “Green Fleet Award” for fleet customers. The awards for ecologically responsible fleet management are presented in three categories:
- “Highest proportion of eco-friendly Volkswagen Group vehicles”
- “Highest proportion of alternative Volkswagen Group powertrain technologies” and
- “Fleet with the lowest average CO2 emissions”.
89 fleet customers competed for the 2013 awards, which were presented at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013. Awards went to companies whose fleets (comprising at least ten vehicles from Volkswagen Group brands) made a significant contribution to reduced CO2 emissions by the use of state-of-the-art vehicle technologies and innovative fleet solutions.
Presentation of the “Green Fleet Award” 2013.
Traffic and Transport Initiatives at the Plants
As part of our CO2 emissions monitoring, we also monitor emissions from employee commuting. We disclose these emissions in our Scope 3 inventory, while at the same time working on initiatives to reduce them. For example at the Wolfsburg site, the Volkswagen brand teamed up with the City of Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg AG and Autostadt in the “Transport Task Force”, whose aim is to improve traffic flow in the vicinity of the site. Since February 2012, representatives of the different departments and external partners have been meeting on an ongoing basis to identify and initiate appropriate traffic measures. Again the focus is not just on the car alone but on an intelligent mix of different transport modes. A variety of measures have been successfully implemented in the meantime. For example on public transport routes serving the plant additional buses have been laid on and timetables have been extended; an exit and entry lane on the A 39 motorway was widened; and several thousand parking spaces were created around the Wolfsburg plant. At the same time employees are being offered a special bus and rail pass for travel on services of the Braunschweig Transport Association.
As in previous years, in 2013 the Volkswagen brand again supported the Germany-wide “Stadtradeln” cycling campaign organized by the Klima-Bündnis alliance for climate protection, while in the USA, Volkswagen of America continued its sponsoring of the People for Bikes cycling lobby. Support for cycling is also the key pillar in the international sponsorship strategy of ŠKODA, which started out as a cycle manufacturer in 1895.
Individual sites and brands of the Volkswagen Group encourage their employees to use bikes for short trips. In Uitenhage (South Africa) office workers too can now often be seen using bikes rather than their company cars to get around the site. And in the UK, Bentley’s “Green Travel” program includes a bike-to-work scheme. Approximately 10% of the Bentley plant’s workforce commute by bike, far higher than the average for the United Kingdom.