Sales, Use and Recycling
Our philosophy of forward-thinking, environmentally minded mobility spans every stage in the value chain. But the use phase is pivotal – not just in terms of impact, but also because it is critical to success as our customers’ needs continue to evolve. Fuel-efficient vehicles are just one, albeit vital, component of progressive mobility with a smaller carbon footprint. This is why we are committed to offering our customers the fullest possible range of mobility services, and why the Group’s Environmental Strategy also embraces the final stage of the vehicle’s life cycle: recycling.
Mobility is an essential prerequisite of a functioning society and economic growth. Our aim is to make mobility even more efficient and environmentally compatible, but also to enable more people to play an active part in society – in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We define “smart mobility” as optimized interaction between road users, infrastructure and different modes of transport. Digitalization and connectivity are pivotal in preparing for the use of new products and services and improving traffic flows. However, in addition to environmental protection, smart mobility is also synonymous with improved safety and the economical use of traffic areas, for example through the use of innovative assistance systems to circumvent traffic jams.
During the reporting period, Volkswagen continued its long-standing systematic research into mobility issues. In order to develop appropriate, intelligent solutions, auto mobility must be treated as part of a complete system that incorporates other modes of transport, human settlement patterns, urban and infrastructural developments, new technologies – especially automatic driving, digitalization, electric mobility and connectivity – as well as trending demand (e.g. carsharing, vehicle sharing) and other influencing factors. Part of our strategic approach is to maintain an intensive dialog with the general public and academia.
Challenges and their possible solutions, especially in towns and cities, once again featured high on the mobility agenda for both the general public and academia. Our film “Urban Mobility 2030” helped us refine our strategic appreciation of the challenges posed by urban mobility and the various potential solutions, and to open it up for debate – for example at DRIVE, the Volkswagen Group Forum in Berlin.
Since 2013, Volkswagen has been collaborating with 14 other companies from various industries on the Sustainable Mobility 2.0 project launched by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). A sustainable approach to future urban mobility needs a credible definition of what the word “sustainable” actually means, and a way of measuring current and future solutions against this yardstick. Using scientific criteria, a catalog of – at the last count – 19 indicators has been developed and trialed in six model cities around the world. In return, each of the participating cities is given a sustainability profile, while a database of solutions also developed as part of the project reveals the most effective measures for each indicator. In the spring of 2016, the European Commission announced that it would actively support the use of these indicators in cities.
It is also important to produce reliable forecasts of the potential impacts of future solutions on urban air quality, noise pollution or traffic flow (impact assessment). This is where models and simulations make an important contribution, because many solutions – such as dial-a-bus systems – only exert appreciable influence once they have achieved a certain market penetration. Building on these results, it is then possible to develop or optimize the right solutions for the future with much greater exactitude.
In parallel with the ongoing automation of driving functions, innovative methods for identifying situations and using them to calculate traffic-efficient driving strategies are gaining in importance. We are further expanding our research activities in these areas in order to make the most of the limited road area in the vicinity of urban junctions and other sensitive nodes in the traffic system.
More and more of us live in cities. Traffic noise impairs our quality of life, and is produced by many different means of transport. At Volkswagen, we are very aware of our responsibilities as a manufacturer of one of those means of transport in particular – the automobile – and are working intensively on ways to steadily reduce noise emissions from individual vehicles. In these efforts to reduce noise, Volkswagen is even going one step further. We are using a specially developed tool to calculate noise pollution levels in cities and further develop our understanding of the role of the car, assess interactions between different noise sources, and evaluate various measures for reducing noise. Our aim is to improve the noise situation for urban residents in general by entering into dialog with cities and fellow noise emitters.
Audi e-gas Fuel Card and Green Gas Production
Drivers of the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron can become almost entirely carbon-neutral, thanks to the Audi e-gas fuel card. Audi records the amount of gas each customer purchases with the card, and ensures that exactly the same quantity of synthetically produced, renewable Audi e-gas is fed into the German natural-gas network to compensate. The e-gas is produced by the world’s largest industrial power-to-gas plant on the grid, which uses a chemical process based on wind power, CO2 and water to generate synthetic methane, effectively “storing” green electricity in the existing natural-gas network. In 2015, following a successful test sequence, the plant qualified to participate in the balancing energy market. Thus the effects of the Audi e-gas project extend well beyond the automotive industry.
Mobility Solutions is one of the four cornerstones of our new TOGETHER – Strategy 2025.
In future, the Group plans to invest in carsharing, robotaxis and transport-on-demand initiatives. The strategic partnership with on-demand mobility company GETT is one such initiative, aimed at expanding the Group’s Mobility Solutions portfolio.
With the rapid expansion of Internet commerce, the number of packages being delivered in towns and cities is rising sharply, resulting in escalating traffic volumes. If deliveries fail because there is no-one to accept the delivery, this is a negative outcome for all parties involved – but also for the environment. Consequently, we aim to create synergies between passenger and goods transportation by devising new logistics concepts that avoid unnecessary journeys.
One possible solution, developed in cooperation between Audi and Group Research, is the so-called “parcel car”. In the era of networked vehicles, a car boot (trunk) becomes a mobile delivery address to which logistics service providers can gain keyless access. Thanks to this temporary access authorization, by the time the recipient leaves work, the package is already safely in their car boot. Audi AG is jointly testing this solution – dubbed “Audi connect easy delivery” – with DHL Paket and Amazon in Munich, and is preparing to launch it with a view to making the concept available to all Group vehicles in the future.
Mobility Management at our Sites
Of course smart mobility also includes providing solutions for our own employees at Volkswagen sites with what we call “mobility management”. This includes, but is not limited to, cars and parking spaces. Examples include cycling campaigns, shuttle-bus services, season tickets for public transport, the provision of ridesharing apps, and parking spaces for carpools.
Regardless of model or brand, alongside the development of ever more efficient vehicles, eco-friendly driving habits are a major factor in reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, not to mention noise and pollutant emissions. With this in mind, we support our customers by offering a range of courses:
- Customers can also book “Think Blue. Eco-Training.” courses directly with Volkswagen in Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore.
- Plenty of fuel-saving hints and tips are provided in dedicated brochures and car manuals.
Save Fuel with “Think Blue. Trainer.”
“Think Blue. Trainer.” is a driver assistance program offering vital information on current fuel consumption during journeys as a way of encouraging eco-friendlier driving habits. It already features in the e-up! and up! models with conventional powertrains, as well as the Polo and Passat, and will gradually be rolled out to other models. The range of functions offered by the “Think Blue. Trainer.” program can be further extended with the “Volkswagen Car-Net Think Blue. Trainer.” app, which communicates with the vehicle and can be operated via the infotainment system. The app also contains training challenges for additional motivation. All trips are automatically stored, and can be used later for cross-comparison.
Ecolution by Scania combines our tailored products with driver services. Based on continuous customer dialogue, the common goal is improved fuel efficiency. Through optimized vehicle specifications, performance diagnostics, driver training and monthly follow-ups, our results show an average 10% reduction in fuel consumption.
Scania Fuel Masters
Scania Fuel Masters, a new interactive competition site that Scania launched in October 2015, allows drivers to compare their most fuel-efficient journeys with each other via their mobile phones.
Audi Mobility Services
Audi offers three innovative carsharing services: Audi shared fleet, Audi select and Audi on demand.
With Audi shared fleet, companies can customize their own corporate fleets. Depending on the individual arrangement, Audi takes care of the on-site implementation and maintenance of the corporate vehicle fleet – from supplying carpool vehicles to regularly servicing, fueling and cleaning them. The highlight: employees can use the pool vehicles for business and private trips. This increases employees’ mobility – even after regular working hours – and can be used as an additional incentive by employers. Even better, Audi shared fleet enhances fleet utilization and cost efficiency.
The Audi select service targets private individuals and corporate customers alike. Over a 12-month period, customers can drive three different Audi models – and for six months, choose a Ducati as well. A premium pool of low-mileage, well-equipped second-hand cars is available for this service.
Audi on demand is a mobility service that gives customers flexible access to premium mobility. Whether for spontaneous short adventures or longer business trips, customers can book the right Audi online; cars are available in a matter of minutes. Munich Airport is the first Audi on demand location in Germany.
Alongside the development of ever more fuel-efficient new models, the Volkswagen Group boasts a wide range of other offerings for eco-friendly mobility. Our product communications spotlight particularly efficient vehicles and low-carbon technologies by awarding them efficiency badges, and report on the environmental progress new models have made over their predecessors by means of Life Cycle Assessments and Environmental Commendations.
Porsche has also launched a sustainability initiative to support dealers, aimed at improving the energy efficiency of existing Porsche Centers and ensuring that new centers are made as energy-efficient as possible.
In 2013, Volkswagen Financial Services, together with its partner Pon Holdings B.V., acquired a stake in market-leading Dutch carsharing company Collect Car B.V., better known as Greenwheels.
Recycling makes a key contribution to reducing our products’ impact on the environment and conserving resources. This is not just about recycling vehicles at the end of their service life; recycling starts at the new-vehicle development stage, during which we pay close attention to the recyclability of the required materials, the use of high-quality recycled materials, and the avoidance of pollutants. At the same time, we factor in aspects of the use phase, for instance the treatment and disposal of service fluids or high-wear components.
Volkswagen is also constantly working on developing and enhancing recycling methods, processes and technologies. We have developed a multi-award-winning process, VW-SiCon, that allows end-of-life vehicles to be 85% recycled and 95% recovered. This complies with the regulatory requirements that have been in force in the EU since the beginning of the reporting period. With our partners, we are developing modern technologies for recycling components from electric vehicles in two research projects: LithoRec (lithium-ion battery recycling) and ElmoRel (electric vehicle recycling – key components in power electronics).
Audi also presented a pilot project for the reuse of traction batteries from e-tron models, which could significantly extend the useful life of lithium-ion batteries and substantially improve the environmental impact and cost-effectiveness of vehicles with electric powertrains. Giving batteries a second lease of life by using them as stationary accumulators makes an important contribution to the transition to renewable energy sources.
Last but not least, we should mention the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Genuine Exchange Parts program. Our industrial reconditioning produces high-quality exchange parts that conserve resources and offer the same quality, functionality and warranty as the corresponding new parts while being on average 40% cheaper.
Truck & Bus
MAN Truck & Bus professionally remanufactures used parts for use in vehicle repairs under the “MAN Original Teile® ecoline” brand. This helps conserve resources, save energy, and cut costs by an average of 30%. We also offer customers in most areas of Europe an extensive portfolio of replacement and spare parts.