The fight against global warming is one of the most important global challenges. We explain what Volkswagen is doing for climate protection. We have also compiled assessments of climate change by leading scientists in a dossier.
Volkswagen is committed to the Paris Climate Convention and is pushing ahead with environmentally friendly drive technologies and production methods at full speed. Throughout the Group, the company has committed itself to becoming CO₂ balance sheet neutral by 2050.
The clear focus on electromobility makes a key contribution to this. Because: the battery-powered electric car has the best climate balance sheet of all drive types. This is the result of a large number of scientific studies, among others by the Fraunhofer Institute, the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Agora Verkehrswende think tank. The key is CO₂-free or low CO₂ electricity. In almost all European countries today, e-cars already have a clear climate advantage over internal combustion engines.
Volkswagen Group aims to become the global market leader in e-mobility in the coming years and is investing a total of 35 billion euros to achieve this goal by the end of 2025. Volkswagen is electrifying its product portfolio in all segments. By 2029, the Group will launch up to 75 pure e-models and sell 26 million e-cars.
Over the next ten years, the Group intends to launch approximately 70 all-electric models by 2030. Around 20 of these are already in production, with 50 more to follow. In addition, around 60 hybrids are planned by the end of the decade, slightly over half of which are already being manufactured. The company envisages production of approximately 26 million fully electric cars by 2030. The Group estimates production of around seven million hybrid vehicles over the same period.
High ranges offering plenty of space
The technical and economic backbone of the E-offensive is the modular electric drive matrix (MEB). Around 19 million of the Group’s electric vehicles planned by 2030 are based on the new electric platform. The vehicle architecture, specially designed for electric drive, offers long ranges of up to 550 kilometers, plenty of interior space and outstanding performance. “The MEB is a decisive asset,” said Frank Blome, Head of the Battery Cell Business Unit, in an interview.
As the first electric car based on the MEB, the Volkswagen brand launched the compact ID.3. After the ID.3, the brand’s first purely electric SUV, the ID.4 was launched. Both vehicles are delivered in a CO₂ balance sheet-neutral manner. Volkswagen will convert a total of eight plants for the production of MEB vehicles by 2022.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the Group’s e-offensive with a large number of new models met with keen interest from customers in 2020 and resulted in deliveries of approximately 231,600 all-electric vehicles, more than three times the volumes delivered in 2019. Plug-in hybrids were also very popular with customers, who purchased 190,500 units (+175 percent). In Western Europe, the share of electric vehicles therefore surged to 10.5 percent of overall deliveries (2019: 1.9 percent).
For the ID. family models, Volkswagen focuses on the entire lifecycle of the electric car – from raw material extraction to production and recycling. The company follows a clear principle: wherever possible, CO₂ emissions are avoided. If this is not fully achievable, emissions are reduced as far as possible. Emissions that cannot be avoided at present are offset by investments in climate protection projects.
For the service life, Volkswagen offers many opportunities to “fill-up” the e-car with climate-friendly electricity. For charging at home, there is Volkswagen Naturstrom: for every kilowatt hour the customer consumes, the same amount of electricity from renewable sources such as wind power, solar energy or hydroelectric power is fed into the grid. Currently, most of the electricity comes from hydroelectric power plants in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Whilst underway, customers charge with 100 percent green electricity at the fast-charging stations belonging to the IONITY joint venture.
Zwickau plant as a pioneer
Over and above this the Volkswagen Group is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions in the production process by 30 per cent by 2030. The plan is therefore to increase by 2030 the proportion of externally procured electricity that comes from renewable energy step by step to 100 percent. Volkswagen also continues to press ahead with thousands of energy efficiency projects at its production facilities around the world.
The Zwickau electric vehicle plant is one of the pioneers in this respect: it only uses externally certified Volkswagen Naturstrom electricity from renewable sources. It also has a highly efficient combined heat power (CHP) plant that in the long term will be operated with CO₂-neutral gas. Buildings and systems are continuously being optimized for energy efficiency, for example by using frequency-controlled fans and pumps. In this way, electricity, water and heat requirements are continuously reduced.
Green electricity is also used for the energy-intensive battery cell production at suppliers. Since July 1, 2019, Volkswagen has also been auditing its suppliers according to a global sustainability rating.
In the transition to a CO₂-neutral economy lies a great economic opportunity. “With the strategic goal of becoming the world’s leading provider of e-mobility, focusing on consistent decarbonization can be a strong competitive advantage,” said Georg Kell, spokesman for Volkswagen’s independent sustainability advisory board. “In any case, it offers the best way to set the course for a joint path to a secure and economically successful future on a planet worth living on.”
ID.3 – power consumption in kWh/100 km (NEDC): 15,4-13,5 (combined), combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+
ID.4 - power consumption (NEDC) in kWh/100 km: 16.9–16.2; CO₂ emission in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+
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