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Pioneers in climate-friendly vehicle manufacturing

Pioneers in climate-friendly vehicle manufacturing

The Volkswagen Group is on its way to climate neutrality. An important component: new products such as the ID.4, the first fully electric SUV from the Volkswagen brand. The car, which is about to make its world premiere, will be built and sold in Europe, China and later also in the USA. "The ID.4 stands for clean mobility in a CO₂ balance sheet neutral manner," says Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the brand. Like the ID.3, it leaves the Zwickau plant without a an ecological backpack. In addition to Zwickau, the pioneers of climate-friendly vehicle construction throughout the Group are the plants of Audi in Brussels, Bentley in Crewe and ŠKODA in Vrchlabí, Czech Republic, which are already producing CO₂-neutral on their balance sheets.

Zwickau plant

The location in Zwickau, Saxony, plays a key role in the system transformation to e-mobility: With the ID.3 and ID.4, the first members of the Volkswagen ID. family are coming off the assembly line there in a CO2-neutral manner. The principle: avoid energy consumption, use renewable energies, compensate unavoidable emissions. In order to improve the environmental balance, several projects have been implemented in Zwickau. For example, the plant obtains green electricity from Volkswagen Kraftwerk GmbH from hydroelectric power plants, wind and solar parks. The site covers its other needs with its own combined heat and power plant. This is powered by natural gas, which is significantly more climate-friendly than generating electricity from coal. A further advantage: “Incidentally”, the highly efficient combined heat and power plant also covers 70 percent of the heating requirements. Further CO2 savings result from the expanded or newly built halls. These were built in accordance with the latest energy-saving regulations and minimize the consumption of electricity, water and heat according to use. The consumption of natural gas during thermal post-combustion in the paint shop was also reduced.

Brussels plant

Production at the Audi plant in Brussels is completely CO₂-neutral, certified by independent experts. The production facility of the fully electric Audi e-tron*** has been using green electricity since 2012. The roof of the plant also houses the region’s largest photovoltaic system with a total area of 107,000 square meters. The second pillar alongside climate-friendly electricity is the site’s heat supply with renewable energies. The company offsets CO2 emissions, which cannot be avoided at present, with so-called carbon credit projects. In total, Audi thus saves around 40,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Crewe plant

Bentley Motors’ plant in Crewe makes an important contribution to the decarbonization of the Volkswagen Group. The site produces all its electrical energy with solar systems or purchases it as certified green electricity. At the beginning of last year, 10,000 additional solar modules with a surface area of more than 16,000 square meters were installed on the factory premises. Together with the 20,800 roof modules already in place, this increased the energy capacity to 7.7 MW, which corresponds to the needs of more than 1,750 households. Bentley is offsetting unavoidable emissions through certified climate protection projects.

Vrchlabí plant

Vrchlabí plant: A thermal imaging camera shows where heat is lost via the walls of the building and also reveals corresponding points within the heating system.

As ŠKODA’s first production site, the component plant in Vrchlabí will be manufacturing in a balance sheet CO2-neutral manner before the end of this year. The greatest carbon dioxide savings will be achieved by the consistent conversion to renewable energies, which will reduce CO2 emissions from the original 45,000 tons per year to 3,000 tons. More than 88 percent of the electricity required for production comes from renewable sources. The only fossil fuel still used is natural gas, which will gradually be replaced by CO2-neutral methane from biogas plants from 2021 onwards. The company is also stepping up its efforts to reduce energy consumption. The measures include closing unused heating circuits, energy-saving regulation of the room temperature and special control of the supply air flow. The lighting of numerous rooms is linked to operating hours. In Vrchlabí, too, remaining emissions are offset by compensation measures.

Fuel consumption

* ID.3: Power consumption in kWh/100 km (NEDC): 15.4-14.5 (combined), CO2 emission in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+
** ID.4: ID.4 – The vehicle is a near-series study and is not yet offered for sale
*** Audi e-tron: combined power consumption in kWh/100 km: 26.4-22.9 (WLTP); 24.6-23.7 (NEDC); combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 0

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