Global challenges are creating an ever-growing raft of problems for our society and our environment, amid constantly evolving legal and regulatory requirements.
These changes are having a tangible impact on companies, and their stakeholders expect solutions. At Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, we are tackling these challenges head-on. We are actively committed to passing on an intact, healthy living and working environment to future generations, while at the same time securing a strong future for our own company.
The Volkswagen Group aims to become a world-leading provider of sustainable mobility. This ambitious goal can only be achieved if all its brands work closely together. With our vehicles and services, we are the Group’s only brand offering tailor-made transport solutions in the light commercial vehicle market. Alongside our vision – to offer world-leading transport solutions to our customers – we have a responsibility to help the Group achieve its targets as efficiently and effectively as possible. At the same time, we want to make addressing the global challenges of urbanization and climate change our main priorities. These are the two areas in which we add the most value for our customers, society and the environment.
Sustainability is a top priority at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The Brand Board of Management meets twice yearly to formulate a CSR roadmap and decide on focus topics. All departments in the company, from procurement and human resources to production and logistics, take part in regular steering committee meetings in which they set common, binding targets so that corporate responsibility remains the joint decision-making framework for processes and projects.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR 2017
Caddy TGI – the Green, Economical Way to Drive with CNG
- Low emissions and efficient CNG consumption
- Fully equipped with e.g. multifunction leather steering wheel, Discover Media navigation system, driver’s seat with lumbar support
- Unique in its class: also available with six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission
The CNG engine in all variants of the Caddy TGI is exceptionally eco-friendly and economical. What sets the gas-powered Caddy TGI apart is a range of around 630 km (390 miles) or 860 km (535 miles) in the case of the Caddy Maxi – the best results in its class. In fact, it has the best range of any of the CNG-powered vehicles currently available in Europe. It achieves these impressive results with its “quasi-monovalent” CNG engine (operating in CNG mode with a 13-liter gasoline reserve tank), thanks to a combined consumption figure of just 4.2 kg per 100 km (4.3 kg/100 km in the case of the Caddy Maxi). The Caddy TGI has four underfloor gas tanks capable of holding up to 26 kg of natural gas. The Caddy Maxi adds an extra fifth tank for a fully fueled total of 37 kg. Even better, because the gas tanks are mounted underneath the vehicle, they do not compromise the Caddy’s 3,200 liters of loading space (4,130 liters in the case of the Caddy Maxi).
The gas tanks supply a 1.4-liter TGI engine that fulfils the Euro 6 emissions standard. This power unit is based on the newly developed TSI gasoline engine, but to enable the engine to run on natural gas, modifications have been made to, for example, the cylinder head and valve train, as well as the crank assembly, pistons, fuel lines and valves. The developers also modified the engine control unit, catalytic converter and turbocharger. The possibility of using natural gas as an alternative fuel was already under consideration while the TSI gasoline engine series was being developed. The 1.4 TGI engine delivers maximum torque (200 Nm) at between 1,500 and 3,500 rpm. The Caddy TGI has a top speed of 174 km/h (108 mph) with manual transmission, and 172 km/h (107 mph) with DSG transmission.
The gas tanks in the Caddy TGI and Caddy Maxi TGI are supplemented by a 13-liter gasoline tank for fueling the engine ignition and warmup phases. It also acts as a fuel reserve if the vehicle is not within easy reach of the 3,200 or more CNG filling stations already distributed across Europe. CNG stands for Compressed Natural Gas; compatible fuels include natural gas, natural gas with biomethane, and natural gas with methane produced by green electricity. The TGI engine is capable of running on up to 100% biomethane.
Major Customers Receive First e-Crafter Deliveries
- Electrically powered Crafter goes into production
- First e-Crafters delivered to customers, who start field-testing the electric transporter in real-world scenarios
- Market launch of series planned for September 2018
- Load capacity of 10.7 m³ (medium wheelbase)
- Payload of up to 7.75 tons
- Range of 160 km (NEDC)
Major customers in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden are putting the new e-Crafter from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles through its paces in field trials. They include parcel delivery service providers, energy suppliers, craft and trade firms, and retailers – industries that normally use vehicles over daily distances of 70 to 100 km (45 to 60 miles), in many cases stopping and starting hundreds of times per day.
The 100 kW electric drive accelerates the road-ready concept vehicle (with a permitted gross weight of 4.25 t) up to the maximum allowable speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). The vehicle is equally at home on urban highways and cross-country journeys. With a maximum torque of 290 Nm available almost instantaneously, it easily handles real-world driving situations even when carrying a full load. This solution for a zero-emission delivery vehicle suitable for city centers has outstanding qualities, including an impressive payload capacity, an ideal 10.7 cubic meters of load space, and a maximum load height of 1,861 mm. And with a generous 1,380 mm loading clearance between the wheel arches and a maximum loading compartment length of 4,855 mm, there is no need to compromise on load dimensions.
The e-Crafter will be generally available in September 2018 following extensive field-testing to make it ready for market.
Social Responsibility in the Local Community: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Supports AUF DER BULT Hanover Children’s Hospital Foundation
In 2017, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles made a first donation of €70,000 in support of the work of the Hanover Children’s Hospital Foundation. The partnership represents the start of a long-term entrepreneurial commitment under the company’s corporate citizenship program. By donating to the foundation, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is supporting preventive health, treatment and rehabilitation programs for children and young people of all ages in the Hanover region. “As part of our vision of sustainability, we believe we have a responsibility to help solve the problems facing society – so, like a good neighbor, we are pleased to be able to support this renowned Hanover institution,” explained Dr. Eckhard Scholz, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The Auf der Bult Hanover Children’s Hospital Foundation is using most of the 2017 donation to pay for an innovative ventilator that will help premature and newborn babies to breathe; it will be the first of its kind in Germany. Part of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles donation will also go to sponsor the hospital’s ward clown, Socke, for 12 months, as well as leisure projects at the hospital’s Teen Spirit Island addiction and therapy center for children. In addition to financial support, employees of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles also volunteered their time at the hospital. Apprentices took part in a voluntary two-day project to carry out maintenance work at the addiction and therapy center, making a valuable contribution to the company’s community responsibility efforts.
Other Sustainable Projects
Golden Camper 2017
Award Recognizes Social Engagement
For outstanding craftsmanship! in 2017, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles presented the GOLDEN CAMPER prize for the second time – an award for craft and trade firms that demonstrate exceptional social responsibility. The GOLDEN CAMPER is a joint initiative by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and German trade journals Deutsche Handwerks Zeitung, Deutsches Handwerksblatt, Norddeutsches Handwerk and handwerk magazin. Boasting more than one million businesses (sales in 2016: 561 billion euros) and 5.4 million employees, the crafts and trades sector is the most varied of any in the German economy.
The prize is open to applications from any and all workshops licensed under the German Crafts and Trades code. Firms submitted projects for consideration between the start of June and end of September. All companies, no matter how large or small, had the same chance of winning. The prizewinner selected by the jury is Stemberg, a company based in Lage (North Rhine-Westphalia) that specializes in solar and construction technology. Among other things, the firm rebuilt the water and electricity supply system for the village of Cambine (Mozambique), after it was destroyed by a hurricane; the village has 4,000 residents. The employees also installed a solar power system for the village orphanage. In recognition of their many years of social commitment, the firm and its 12 employees were presented with a new, sixth-generation Transporter delivery van.
This small delivery vehicle is big on environmental credentials:
- Zero emissions, maximum 990-liter payload capacity for up to 360 kg of goods at a vehicle length of just 3.60 m
- Versatile microvan offering A+ class energy efficiency with two seats, four doors, and lots of space in the rear
- Leather steering wheel, electric windows, “Climatronic” air-conditioning system, 15” alloy wheels, halogen headlights and LED daytime running lights standard across the e-load up! range
The e-load up! is the ideal solution for anyone clocking up the miles in downtown traffic, such as couriers, pizza delivery drivers and service engineers. This smallest of commercial vehicles is big on payload capacity but has a tiny footprint on the road – great for drivers who need to zip around the city while stopping, starting, parking, loading and unloading.
“Think Blue. Factory.” – Hanover Site Achieves Record Production Output, Cuts Energy Consumption by 23%
In the reporting period, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles once again achieved a significant cut in energy consumption at its Hanover site. Compared with the 2010 baseline, when the “Think Blue. Factory.” program was first launched, the site consumed around 23% less energy despite producing a record 200,791 vehicles. The energy savings equate to the average annual energy usage of around 11,500 households.
Since 2010, the company has succeeded in reducing CO2 and solvent emissions by 16% and 1% respectively; waste for disposal (non-recyclable waste) has been slashed by an amazing 82%. Only water consumption has risen slightly since 2010, by 4% – accompanied, however, by a 54% increase in vehicle production volumes.
If the five environmental indicators are applied to the number of vehicles produced, we find that all five key indicators show significant efficiency improvements. Thus the volume of waste for disposal fell by 88% per vehicle, while CO2 and solvent emissions respectively show a 46% and 36% decline since 2010. Furthermore, manufacturing a vehicle consumes on average 32% less water and 50% less energy. These achievements by the Hanover plant have significantly contributed to the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand’s efforts to cut the environmental impact of its production facilities by 50% by 2025 (compared with the 2010 baseline).
In the words of Ralf Ohliger, Environment Officer in Hanover: “The successes of the ‘Think Blue. Factory.’ environmental program have come about as a result of technical solutions and the many innovative ideas and actions suggested by our workforce. Green production has become a major competitive advantage for us. In this sense, our Hanover plant is enjoying the very practical benefits of the progress we have made to date.”
Since 2010, the monetary value of the reduced costs associated with these environmental improvements amounts to some €8.2 million over the year.
The key measures that contributed to the success of the “Think Blue. Factory.” environmental program included:
- New, efficient servo press lines (“PXL”)
- Upgrades to the latest, energy-efficient laser technology in the body shop
- Smart finish-drying control system (LAVA load-dependent volume flow adjustment)
- Installation of innovative color changers and high-efficiency application technology in the paintshop
- Optimization of rinsing processes and introduction of a VOC-free rinsing thinner in the paintshop
- Implementation of a new ventilation concept combined with a modernized power supply for the ventilation system in vehicle assembly
- Systematic optimization of the out-of-hours shutdown of production equipment and infrastructure.
Since the “Think Blue. Factory.” initiative was introduced in 2010, all Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand production sites have been working to achieve major improvements in plant resource efficiency while simultaneously reducing emissions. The five key indicators used to measure the reduction in environmental impact include energy and water consumption, waste disposal, and solvent and CO2 emissions. By 2025, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles intends to improve this overall impact by 50% per unit produced.
- New, efficient servo press lines (“PXL”)
Deutsch 360° – Immersive Language Project for Refugees
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and the Volkswagen Group refugee aid program have joined forces in a new language-learning project for refugees. Course participants receive language tuition that is specifically tailored to the world of work, with the aim of making it easier for them to enter technical and industrial trades.
Offered in cooperation with the Germany Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the “Deutsch 360°” project is intended to open doors for course participants by giving them new language skills. Subsidized by the European Social Fund, the project will help improve the refugees’ German skills and improve their chances of finding a job. Another key element in the success of the program is the provision of ongoing counselling by mentors. The project is being delivered in collaboration with ALBuM, the state coordination office in Hanover. The idea of creating comprehensive, work-specific German-language courses for refugees within existing funding and support structures was developed on the initiative of the partner organizations; Deutsch 360° receives additional funding from the Volkswagen Group’s refugee aid program, meaning that extra content and lessons can be offered, The 20 course participants are given tuition to prepare them for the B2 language test in the classrooms of educational association ARBEIT UND LEBEN Nds. Mitte gGmbH, in cooperation with the kargah association. They receive counselling and support from social workers and job coaches for the entire duration of the 11-month course. In keeping with the project’s name – Deutsch 360° – these supplementary components add up to a holistic concept that takes the extra step of helping learners tackle the challenges and demands of everyday life.
School of Young Engineers – A Schools-based Education Campaign
The aim of the “School of Young Engineers” project is to promote science in primary and secondary schools in Poland – in particular, robotics, automation and the basics of programming. The program is delivered in cooperation with the educational development fund for young engineers. The beneficiaries were schools in Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) Province which received the most votes in an internet survey. In 2017, 13 out of 202 schools were selected to receive special teaching materials on the construction and programming of robots from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. In addition, the schools hosted a day-long Technology Fair and offered a certified training course on the use of programmable robots in class.
“Urban Logistics” Pilot Project
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is engaged in an ongoing dialog with Hanover, state capital of Lower Saxony, and the Hanover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg metropolitan region, on how best to improve the urban logistics infrastructure. One example of this joint work is the “Urban Logistics” pilot project involving the state capital, the metropolitan region, Leibniz University of Hanover, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover, Braunschweig University of Technology, the Deutsche Post DHL mail and logistics group, and enercity, the Hanover city utilities company. This collaboration is based on two guiding principles: first, that future logistics must be focused on the needs of people in a livable city, and second, that future logistics in a climate-neutral Hanover must be based on quiet, safe, zero-emission transport solutions and an innovative urban infrastructure.
In 2017, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles deepened its cooperation with the above-mentioned project partners and defined specific subprojects in order to meet the stated objectives. As part of the project, funding was obtained from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in order to develop a tool for the exploration, simulation and evaluation of urban logistics scenarios (USEfUL). The Urban Logistics pilot project was introduced to the public on 21 September 2017. The next stages in the project involve collecting data and carrying out a detailed analysis of commercial traffic in the city of Hanover. Once this has been done, the company will work with the partner universities to devise simulation models for evaluating alternative logistics concepts that will improve the quality of life in the city. The most promising solutions will then be tested and evaluated in real-life conditions in a selected part of Hanover. This pilot project will involve local residents from start to finish; regular surveys will help to establish how their quality of life has changed as a result of these initiatives.
The Hanover plant maintains a regular dialog with its neighbors. News about the brand and plant is distributed in a spirit of transparency. Company representatives make a point of listening to critical questions from local residents, for example about emissions or the local traffic situation. This neighborhood dialog has been in place at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles since 1998. The open dialog format has helped to break down skepticism and foster a climate of mutual understanding. The ongoing discourse with the factory’s neighbors has become an integral part of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ corporate and environmental policy.
Dialog and Community Involvement
Volkswagen’s Polish plants in Poznań and Września also maintain regular dialog with their neighbors. At least two meetings with local residents are held each year by all four plants. The meetings are organized with local leaders. Agenda items include the current situation at the factories, as well as social responsibility. One of the social projects in 2017 was a community football match between people living close to the factory and employees. The match was the outcome of joint voluntary work carried out in the community.
New e-Crafter Wins European Transport Award for Sustainability
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has developed its first large zero-emission transporter, the e-Crafter. Even before its market launch, the new model had already received the 2018 European Transport Award for Sustainability in the “Transporter and Delivery Vehicle” class.
With a range of 160 km (100 miles), the e-Crafter is specifically designed as a “last-mile” delivery vehicle for courier and logistics services in particular, but also for other urban applications such as household services, mobile workshops and commercial passenger transit. The e-Crafter will be on sale from summer 2018.
A select group of major international customers in the logistics sector has been field-testing the e-Crafter since December 2017.