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Way to Zero – On the way to carbon neutral mobility for all

Sustainable mobility is also a focus of the new ACCELERATE strategy of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand that was presented in March 2021

Core aspects are to cut CO2 emissions over the entire product lifecycle from resource extraction to recycling, to increase the products’ environmental compatibility, and to optimize other ecological and social aspects.

The Group’s core brand is represented in more than 150 markets worldwide and makes vehicles at production sites in 14 countries. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand shipped 4.896 million vehicles in 2021, despite major challenges, and currently employs more than 180,000 people. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand is on the road to carbon-neutral mobility for all. At the core of the company’s “ACCELERATE” strategy is its transformation into a software-oriented mobility provider. Volkswagen is stepping up the pace of that transformation by making software a core competence, tapping additional revenue in the car’s usage phase, and aiming to democratize autonomous driving in the volume segment by 2030.  

The three highlight projects 2021

“The Volkswagen brand – mobility that is not only electrifying in the future, but also sustainable.”

  • 1. Accelerating the electric offensive
  • 2. Everything on green electricity: for carbon-neutral use of the ID. family
  • 3. Carbon-neutral handover of the ID. family to customers – From vision to reality

Accelerating the electric offensive

Faster ramping up of the electric offensive with the new brand strategy ACCELERATE is at the core of the Way to Zero. The goal is complete electrification of the new vehicle fleet. By 2030, at least 70 percent of Volkswagen’s unit sales in Europe – or well over one million vehicles – are to be all-electric vehicles. As a result, Volkswagen would far exceed the targets specified in the EU Green Deal. That figure in North America and China is to be at least 50 percent. Volkswagen will also launch at least one new electric car each year.

In 2021, the share of purely battery driven vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for 7.5% of total deliveries, almost double the figure of 4% for 2020. The share in Europe rose to 19.3% (2020: 12.6%). In Germany, every one-in-four Volkswagen was a plug-in vehicle.

The world’s most popular BEV model from Volkswagen is the ID.4, which lived up to its name as a world car in the very first year of its launch. Of the 263,000 BEVs, the ID.4 was the most frequently shipped (around 119,650), followed by the ID.3 (around 76,000), the e-up! (approximately 41,500) and the ID.6 (just under 18,000), a model Volkswagen offers exclusively in the Chinese market. In Europe, the ID.4 topped the BEV charts in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Ireland.

Everything on green electricity: for carbon-neutral use of the ID. family

A key factor in carbon-neutral e-mobility is to recharge vehicles with electricity generated wholly from renewable sources. That alone would reduce all CO2 emissions by half compared to the normal EU power mix. Volkswagen already offers its customers green electricity for charging at home (e.g.Volkswagen green electricity) and on the road (IONITY). The brand is now going one step further: Starting in 2021, Volkswagen will be the first automobile manufacturer to expand renewable energies on a large scale. New wind farms and solar plants are to be created in various regions of Europe by 2025.

Contracts for the first projects have already been signed. In Germany, Volkswagen is supporting establishment of a solar plant with a total capacity of 170 million kilowatt hours a year. The plant was created in Tramm-Göthen in Mecklenburg by the end of the year – with no government subsidies whatsoever. Incorporating around 420,000 solar modules, it is the largest independent solar project in Germany to date.

Likewise this year, Volkswagen concluded a contract for the largest project in its portfolio so far, a wind farm in Skellefteå, Northern Sweden. The agreement comprises a renewable volume of around 100 GWh, equal to the needs of 27,000 households.

All the projects combined will generate around seven terawatt hours of additional green electricity by 2025. Along with the number of ID. vehicles, the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources is also increasing in the grid. As a result, Volkswagen is improving the ID. family’s climate footprint and creating the foundation for carbon-neutral use of its electric fleet.

Carbon-neutral handover of the ID. family to customers – From vision to reality

Back in 2018 Volkswagen announced that it would be the first manufacturer to make and ship a mass-produced e-vehicle in a CO2-neutral manner: The carbon footprint of the ID.3 was optimized throughout the supply chain and production when it is launched in 2020 and unavoidable emissions were compensated for by means of projects aimed at protecting the climate. This concept was expanded to cover further models in 2021.

Volkswagen has converted an entire factory to all-electric vehicle production for the cars in the ID. family.

In line with the rule of “first avoid, then reduce, and last of all compensate for unavoidable emissions,” extensive measures to increase energy efficiency were undertaken as part of transformation of the Zwickau plant and, for example, its external power supply was converted to 100% green electricity.

In accordance with the same principle, upstream and downstream CO2 emissions caused by all ID. models up to handover to the customer are reduced, for example by the makers of the high-voltage battery being obligated to use only green electricity to produce the battery cells. Other measures throughout the manufacturing process will reduce emissions further in the coming years.

Unavoidable emissions are compensated for by means of certified climate protection projects. They include protecting forests in tropical regions, since the biggest quantities of carbon per hectare are absorbed there, and expansion of renewable energies.

The medium-term goal is to cooperate with further partners to develop new forest conservation projects that help protect the climate, support the local population long term in compliance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and contribute to preserving biodiversity.

On the basis of this principle, the Volkswagen brand shipped 119,600 ID.4 and 75,500 ID.3 models to customers in a CO2-neutral manner in 2021, and the next ID. model, the ID.5, is due for launch in 2022.

Based on the concept of climate-neutral manufacture, every ID.3 model can be run in a carbon-neutral manner if it is powered strictly using electricity from renewable energies over its entire lifecycle.

Stakeholder Dialog

Way to Zero Convention (April 29, 2021)

Awards 2021

The Volkswagen ID.4 is World Car of the Year 2021

The “World Car of the Year 2021” is a Volkswagen: The new all-electric ID.4 fended off strong international competition at the World Car Awards. The World Car Awards are held annually, with more than 90 international automotive journalists from 24 countries voting on the best new cars in the global market.

The jurors praised the vehicle’s eco-friendliness and innovativeness. For example, the cutting-edge augmented reality head-up display is optionally offered on board the ID.4. However, the ID.4 also sets standards when it comes to digitalization. It can receive regular updates and new features over the air.

With its victory at the 17th World Car Awards, the ID.4 is continuing Volkswagen’s success story at this prestigious event.

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