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  5. A new type of buzz Bees move in at Volkswagen Motorsport

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A new type of buzz – bees move in at Volkswagen Motorsport

  • Two bee colonies take up residence in Hannover
  • The “I.Bees” are coming to ensure crop and wild plants are sustained
  • 100,000 bees contribute to biodiversity

Given the wide range of motorsport activities, it is hardly unusual for there to be a buzz around Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover. However, this is a new type of buzz: two bee colonies, each consisting of roughly 50,000 bees, have moved into Ikarusallee 7a in Hannover-Vahrenheide. In this way, Volkswagen Motorsport is making a small contribution to biodiversity: through their natural pollination, the bees will ensure the continued existence of over 80 percent of local crop and wild plant species.

“Many people think of honey when they think of bees. It is less well known, but even more important, that they make an invaluable contribution to the preservation of our ecosystem through pollination,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “As a future-oriented company, we are dedicated to ensuring that we are able to deal as considerately as possible with resources. Furthermore, we also want to take some responsibility for biodiversity.” The bee colonies have been named the “I.Bees” – in reference to Volkswagen’s fully-electric ID. family. The racing ambassador to this series, the ID.R, set the fastest zero-emission lap of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife at the start of June.

I.Bees help preserve the ecosystem
With the ID. family, Volkswagen is pushing the boundaries of technology – with the long-term goal being to develop and establish the environmentally-sound, CO2-neutral mobility of the future. With the I.Bees, Volkswagen is supporting a broad initiative to preserve bees, crop and wild plants at the motorsport site in Hannover. For centuries, flowering plants and bees have been dependent on each other. Their flower-constant behaviour makes bees the number one pollinator among insects. Close to the company premises at Ikarusallee 7a, the I.Bees will find the rich cultural landscape of Vahrenheide. The two hives are positioned in a northerly direction towards Kugelfangtrift.

Each year, the two I.Bees colonies on the Volkswagen Motorsport premises will produce up to 80 kilograms of honey, covering huge distances in the process: for one kilogram of honey, the bees must make between 100,000 and 200,000 flights. In doing so, these hard workers fly to roughly two million flowers and cover between 75,000 and 100,000 kilometres. The honey from the I.Bees – the name was proposed by Volkswagen Motorsport employees – will be used in the future as a small gift for customers and staff. Of course, the latter will not be available until next year, because the working year of the bees is already over. The bees spend the winter in their hives and begin honey production in Spring after hibernation.

Symbolic and inspirational: bees and motorsport
Bee colonies and their activities have always been a source of inspiration for humans – both sociologically and technically. The achievements of bee colonies are no stranger to motorsport either: the tremendous rigidity of hexagonal honeycombs, inspired by bee honeycomb, is, for example, used in composite systems in the monocoque and aerodynamic components of the fully-electric ID.R.