Product Planning and Development

Our product planning and development processes are geared to developing vehicles that offer best possible fuel economy and resource efficiency. Our corporate goals demand that all new vehicles and technologies improve on the environmental performance of their predecessors, across the entire life cycle. Every new vehicle generation must be between 10 and 15% more efficient than its predecessor. To achieve this, we take environmental considerations into account from the very earliest stages of the product development process. The Group Environmental Principles Product have defined the key goals of the continuous improvement process as climate, resources and health.
For products of the Volkswagen brand, the development process is guided by the “Think Blue. Engineering.” Environmental Goals of the Technical Development department. These goals were revised in October 2014, and now include a commitment to “best-in-class fuel consumption in the driving cycle and over the vehicle’s service life”. To protect the health of vehicle occupants and road users, the brand has also once again adopted more rigorous requirements on interior emissions and noise levels. The Technical Development departments of the other Group brands have adopted similar environmental objectives. 47

EU New Vehicle Registrations 2014

Show table
Emissions category   Proportion of total deliveries of Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Commercial Vehicles, Audi, SEAT and ŠKODA  
≤ 95 g CO2/km 3.42 %
≤ 100 g CO2/km 10.42 %
≤ 120 g CO2/km 55.15 %
≤ 130 g CO2/km 67.61 %

„Think Blue. Engineering.“-Awards

In 2014, the Volkswagen brand presented its internal “Think Blue. Engineering.” awards for the second year in a row. Organized by Volkswagen Research and Development, the awards – in the categories “Product” and “Research and Development” – were presented to five environmentally outstanding projects in the fields of climate, resources and health. An award was also presented for personal dedication. Like the Internal Environmental Award, which they replace, the purpose of the “Think Blue. Engineering.” awards – and the “Think Blue. Factory.” awards on the production side – is to reward employees for outstanding environmental commitment.

Life Cycle Engineering

“Life Cycle Engineering” aims to improve the environmental footprint of a vehicle from cradle to grave. This process begins with a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), in which the environmental impacts of the vehicle under development are assessed across the full life cycle – from resource extraction, through production and operation to eventual recycling. The LCA analysis makes it possible to identify those areas where improvements will have the biggest effect. These are the areas we then prioritize in our innovation activities. In 2013 the Corporate Steering Group “Life Cycle Engineering” was set up, comprising experts from the brands. Their goal is to harmonize the guidelines and methodology for Life Cycle Assessments across the entire Group and to support best practice-sharing between successful Life Cycle Engineering projects.

Life Cycle Assessments and Environmental Commendations

In its Environmental Commendations, the Volkswagen brand sums up the improvements in life cycle environmental performance between new and previous models. Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles have been publishing Environmental Commendations for new models and technologies ever since 2007. These detailed analyses are certified by independent auditor TÜV NORD to confirm that they are based on reliable data and were drawn up in accordance with the requirements of the LCA standards ISO 14040 and 14044. An Environmental Commendation has also been published for the e-Golf, which went on sale in 2014. It testifies to the excellent environmental footprint of the e-Golf, even when powered by conventional electricity. When charged with green electricity, the e-Golf’s life cycle CO2 emissions are reduced by a further 50%.
Audi has been producing Life Cycle Assessments for new model series since 2010. LCAs have been performed – and validated by TÜV NORD – for the Audi A3, the Audi A6 the Audi TT and the Audi e-gas project (see "Powertrain and Fuel Strategy"). Most recently, a Life Cycle Assessment was published in August 2014 for the new Audi TT Coupé. It shows that the model-year-2015 Audi TT Coupé generates total life cycle CO2 emissions of 44.5 t – an 11% improvement over its predecessor. This good environmental footprint is partly down to lightweight engineering based on intelligent multi-material design, which shaves 50 kg off the unladen weight of the previous model. This means reduced fuel consumption during the use phase, which not only reduces driving emissions but also means that less fuel needs to be produced in the first place, which again cuts CO2 emissions. 48


New Models from the Brands

The Volkswagen Group’s commitment to offering a broad array of technologies differentiates the company from many of its competitors. Alongside further improved gasoline (TSI) and diesel (TDI) engines, the Group’s technology portfolio and development activities also span natural-gas vehicles, all-electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles featuring battery and fuel-cell drive. This broad-based approach dovetails with the Group’s goal of developing attractive and affordable vehicles to cater to the widest possible spectrum of requirements. Our vehicles must use scarce resources as efficiently as possible, while at the same time offering highest standards of comfort and convenience.
Volkswagen’s aim is to explore and exploit the potential of all types of powertrain. Our Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), which we introduced in 2012, marks a revolution in automaking in two ways: firstly in terms of efficiency and secondly in terms of our ability to integrate technologies of the future. What our engineers have done, basically, is to create a system that allows any volume-production model to be equipped with any type of powertrain, with no additional engineering effort. In this way the MQB will allow us to electrify more than 40 different models over the coming years.

Efficiency Models (TSI and TDI) 2014

Volkswagen: In the Polo TSI BlueMotion – the first ever Polo BlueMotion model to be fitted with a TSI engine – in 2014 engine management improvements reduced fuel consumption by a further 0.2 liters to 4.1 l/100 km, with CO2 emissions of just 94 g/km. As a result, the TSI BlueMotion is also the first ever gasoline-engined Polo to receive a class A label for energy efficiency and to achieve best-in-class ratings for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Like all Polo models, it also complies with the strict Euro 6 emissions standards.
Meanwhile the new Polo TDI BlueMotion , like its predecessors, is setting a benchmark in the five-seater diesel market. Its newly developed three-cylinder TDI engine returns fuel consumption of just 3.1 l/100 km (corresponding to CO2 emissions of 82 g/km). This is an improvement of 0.2 l/100 km over the already highly efficient predecessor model, and gives the Polo TDI BlueMotion a maximum range of 1,400 km – enough to drive all the way from Flensburg in Germany to Venice in Italy on one tank of fuel. This benchmark fuel economy was achieved with the aid of underbody modifications, a polished radiator grille insert and aerodynamically perfected front and rear spoilers. These drag-reduction measures are complemented by low-rolling-resistance tires.

Audi: In June 2014, the German Bundestag added 66 extra-fuel-efficient 140-kW Audi A6 2.0 TDI ultra limousines to its fleet. With CO2 emissions of just 114 g/km, this model is one of the most fuel-efficient premium automobiles in its segment.

SEAT: Active cylinder management in the new Leon and Ibiza models combines fuel economy with performance. In the low to medium rpm range, two of the engine’s four cylinders are shut down to save fuel. At higher rpm they are reactivated, to harness full power.


Natural Gas Models in 2014

Volkswagen: The newly released Golf Estate TGI BlueMotion is powered by a natural gas engine that combines fuel efficiency with dynamic performance. On models with a dual-clutch gearbox, this four-cylinder bi-fuel natural gas/gasoline unit returns fuel consumption of just 3.5 kg CNG/100 km in natural gas mode, with CO2 emissions of just 95 g/km. The CNG-only range is approximately 430 km, while the standard-fitted gasoline tank extends the total range to almost 1,400 km.

Audi: The A3 Sportback g-tron , the first volume-production CNG model from Audi, sets a benchmark in carbon-neutral long-range mobility. When powered by Audi e-gas (see "Eco-Friendly Driving"), which customers can purchase using the optional Audi e-gas fuel card, the A3 Sportback g-tron’s tailpipe CO2 emissions are fully offset by the amount of CO2 absorbed when manufacturing this fuel in the first place. On fuel efficiency too this model breaks new ground, with test cycle CNG consumption of between 3.2 and 3.3 kg/100 km (depending on transmission), which corresponds to CO2 emissions of between 88 and 92 g/km – the sort of figures which in the past were confined to sub-compact models.

SEAT: Since September 2014, SEAT has been offering a natural gas version of its Leon STmodel (the 1.4 TGI). With fuel consumption in CNG mode of 3.5 kg/100 km and CO2 emissions of 96 g/km, this is one of the most eco-friendly and fuel-efficient combustion-engined vehicles on the market. The SEAT portfolio also includes the Mii Ecofuel and the CNG-powered Leon TGI.

Plug-in Hybrid Models in 2014

Volkswagen: In 2014, Volkswagen launched the Golf GTE, its first volume-production plug-in hybrid model. Combining a 75-kW electric motor with a 110-kW TSI internal combustion engine, the Golf GTE returns average NEDC fuel consumption of just 1.5 l of gasoline and 11.4 kWh of electricity per 100 km, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of just 35 g/km. The GTE has a maximum all-electric driving range of 50 km and a total range of 940 km. Elsewhere in the portfolio, May 2014 saw the first deliveries of the Volkswagen XL1. This limited-production model built in Osnabrück (Germany) is a technological game-changer. With test cycle fuel consumption of 0.9 l/100 km, the XL1 is the first “one-liter” car (capable of 100 km on one liter of fuel) in the world. Its plug-in hybrid system gives this two-seater an electric-only range (with zero local emissions) of up to 50 km. In 2014, the XL1 received the “Design of the Year” award – in the category “Transport Design” – from the Design Museum in London.
The Paris Motor Show in September 2014 saw the world premiere of the Passat GTE, the first plug-in hybrid Volkswagen available in both sedan and estate versions. The Passat GTE has a zero-emission all-electric range of 50 km, and a total range on one tank of fuel and a fully charged battery of more than 1,000 km. NEDC fuel consumption is less than 2.0 l/100 km (less than 45 g CO2/km), while top speed is 220 km/h in hybrid mode, and 130 km/h in all-electric “e-mode”. The Passat GTE will arrive on the market in the second half of 2015.

Audi: The second half of 2014 saw the European launch of the A3 Sportback e-tron, Audi’s first plug-in hybrid model. Fuel consumption as per the NEDC test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles is 1.5 l/100 km, with CO2 emissions of 35 g/km. This model has a maximum all-electric range of 50 km, and a combined range of more than 900 km.

Porsche: Porsche: In 2014, Porsche presented the Cayenne S E-Hybrid, the first plug-in hybrid premium SUV. The combined output of the two drive systems is 416 hp (306 kW) while combined-cycle fuel consumption is 3.4 l/100 km, with CO2 emissions of just 79 g/km. The Cayenne S E-Hybrid has a maximum all-electric range of between 18 and 36 km, depending on driving style and topography.

Electric Mobility Initiative in China

With total investment of more than €18 billion in new vehicles and technologies, new factory capacity and new, eco-friendly models, the Volkswagen Group has launched the biggest electric mobility initiative in Chinese automotive history. In 2015, the Group’s existing fleet of highly efficient and innovative models, which already includes the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, will be joined by the Audi A3 e-tron and the Golf GTE. From 2016, two models developed specifically for the Chinese market will follow: the Audi A6 and a new mid-size sedan from the Volkswagen brand. Both these plug-in hybrid models are being co-developed with joint venture partners FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen, and will be built in China. The modular platform, which is being implemented at the Chinese factories too, will in future allow the Group to electrify every model in the range, right across the spectrum from compact cars to large limousines, and from all-electric to plug-in hybrid models.

The SEAT Leon ST is one of the most eco-friendly and fuel-efficient combustion-engined vehicles on the market.

The Cayenne S E-Hybrid is the first plug-in hybrid in the premium SUV segment.

Electric Vehicles in 2014

Volkswagen: In 2014, the Volkswagen e-Golf went on sale in Europe, Asia and North America. The e-Golf delivers average energy consumption of 12.7 kWh/100 km, and a driving range of up to 190 km on a single battery charge. When powered by green electricity (for example “BluePower”, see "Eco-Friendly Driving"), the e-Golf is carbon-neutral.
A TÜV NORD-certified Environmental Commendation has already been issued for the e-Golf. Three intuitively selectable driving modes (“Normal”, “Eco” and “Eco+”) and four equally easily engageable recuperation levels help drivers achieve maximum driving range per charge. Other functions include the “Volkswagen Car-Net-e-Remote” app, which allows a smartphone to be used to remotely launch battery charging, activate cabin pre-heating or cooling whenever the vehicle is on charge, or access vehicle data.
In spring 2014, the e-Golf took part in the world’s leading electric vehicle rally “World Advanced Vehicle Expedition” (WAVE), which this time took the drivers from Stuttgart to Lucerne. Over the rally stages, some of which were over 200 km in length, the e-Golf took first place in the main “Popular Wave” category. In the Silvretta electric car rally in July 2014, the e-Golf demonstrated its everyday versatility in particularly challenging terrain. Here too, it was crowned overall event winner. Finally, in October 2014, the e-Golf won the “eCarTec Award 2014”, the Bavarian State Award for Electric and Hybrid Mobility.

The fuel cell drive in the Golf Estate HyMotion concept vehicle runs on hydrogen and oxygen.

The modular transverse matrix enables us to integrate all the relevant drive systems – from conventional to fuel cell.

With the e-Golf Volkswagen has completed the circle, becoming the first carmaker in the world to offer all currently relevant drive systems within one model series. For an automaker, this represents a very high level of manufacturing flexibility, and it was the modular transverse matrix that made it possible. Moreover, in the wake of models like the all-electric e-Golf and the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE, our strategy will also allow us at a future date, and subject to market demand, to integrate a further technology – fuel cells – into an attractively priced production vehicle with great everyday driveability.

Fuel-Cell Models

As a further important step in our agenda for zero-carbon mobility, the Volkswagen brand is also developing the Golf Estate HyMotion concept vehicle. The press and public got their first chance to see – and drive – this vehicle in November 2014, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Golf Estate HyMotion is fueled by hydrogen (H2) and oxygen. A reaction takes place in the fuel cell between the hydrogen and oxygen, which combine to produce water. A byproduct of this reaction is electricity, which is used to power a zero-emission electric motor. The hydrogen is stored safely under the vehicle in four carbon-fiber tanks. The Golf Estate HyMotion has a maximum range of 500 km. Refueling takes just three minutes.
With this concept model, the Volkswagen brand is demonstrating for the first time that hydrogen fuel cells are yet another drive technology that could be implemented using the MQB platform, as soon as research and development work is completed and a solution can be offered at a price acceptable to new-car buyers. Before any future market rollout however, a comprehensive hydrogen production and refueling infrastructure first needs to be put in place. At the same time, hydrogen propulsion only makes environmental sense if the primary energy used to produce this fuel is renewable.

Commercial Vehicles in 2014

Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge: In October 2014, Leibniz University Hanover launched a twelve-month field trial with six electrically powered Volkswagen Caddy small urban delivery vans. Volkswagen expects that data from this trial, on aspects such as daily mileage, energy consumption and battery life and capacity, will provide valuable input for its ongoing development work on electric commercial vehicles. The e-Caddy has a maximum range of 136 km – more than sufficient to cover the average daily runs of an urban delivery van. At the end of 2014, a total of 40 e-Caddies from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles were involved in field trials.

MAN: MAN is the European market leader in natural gas-powered buses. In 2014, the MAN Lion’s City GL CNG articulated bus was named “Bus of the Year 2015” in the Bus Euro Test. With its CNG-powered Euro 6 engine, this model offers an extremely low-pollutant, climate-friendly answer to the challenges of urban transport. When operated on biogas, its carbon footprint is virtually zero.
Meanwhile, as part of MAN’s drive technology program, hybrid drives are set to be rolled out in the near future across all commercial vehicle applications. However, different bus and truck applications – urban operation, long-distance operation or special-purpose vehicles – present very different requirements, which demand different hybrid concepts to match. At the 2014 IAA Commercial Vehicles show in September, MAN presented a concept vehicle with parallel diesel/electric hybrid drive system for long-haul applications. The diesel engine provides the main source of drive power, but the hybrid drive system also allows braking energy to be recuperated, stored and reused. Since long-haul transport accounts for the lion’s share of road transportation mileage, this is where use of hybrid technology stands to bring the biggest benefits in terms of CO2 emissions.

Scania: The Scania G 410 Euro 6 was presented with a “Green Truck 2014” award by trade magazines VerkehrsRundschau and TRUCKER, which named it the greenest truck in its class. With average fuel consumption of 23.3 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of 734 g/km, Scania’s semitrailer tractor came first by a wide margin in these magazines’ environmental rankings.

Co2 EMISSIONS – STATUS QUO Number of vehicles

Market Penetration of Efficiency Models of the Volkswagen Group in 2014

Show table
Brand   Model   Unit sales of eco-/
efficiency models 2014,
EU-28 1  
Total unit sales in 2014, EU-28 1  
Volkswagen Passenger Cars VWP BlueMotion 23,361
+ BlueMotion Technology 902,419
Blue TDI models 6,479
Ecofuel models (CNG) 22,336
MultiFuel models (E85) 1,893
BiFuel models (LPG)
BEV 3,902
Hybrid 1,821
Total eco-/efficiency models 962,211 1,479,944
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles VWN BlueMotion 2,364
+ BlueMotion Technology 76,846
CNG 3,507
LPG 359
Total eco-/efficiency models 83,076 293,079
Audi e-models 9,647
ultra-models 67,401
Clean Diesel (EU6) 159,600
including ultra 19,183
FlexFuel (E85) 304
CNG models 5,926
Hybrid 1,765
Start-Stop 687,343
including e-, ultra-, CD, E85, CNG 223,695
Total eco-/efficiency models 689,108 698,240
ŠKODA ŠKODA Greenline 20,221
+ Green tec packages 40,551
CNG models 4,449
Total eco-/efficiency models 65,221 551,906
SEAT SEAT e-ecomotive 17,141
+ ecomotive packages 166,843
LPG models 148
CNG models 3,926
Total eco-/efficiency models 188,058 317,953
Volkswagen Group Sum total 3,341,122

1 Austria, Baltic States, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, W. Europe (rest).

CO2 Limits for Trucks and Buses

Having already implemented legislation to reduce the CO2 emissions of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, in May 2014 the European Commission presented its strategy for reducing the CO2 emissions of trucks and buses. The aim is to evaluate the carbon emissions of the entire EU heavy-duty vehicle fleet as realistically as possible, for defined vehicle categories and driving cycles. Before the EU takes any final decision however, an impact assessment first needs to be carried out to identify the most cost-effective solution. In view of the huge diversity of commercial vehicle versions, and the typical multi-stage production processes, the one-size-fits-all approach to emissions limits that has been used for cars and vans is not appropriate. Along with our competitors, we advocate a certification approach that takes into account the complete vehicle – including different trailers and bodies. This would make tackling CO2 emissions the joint responsibility of manufacturers, haulage companies and the state. The state would be responsible for infrastructure development and the haulage companies for intelligent management of the logistics processes. Our own responsibilities, as manufacturers, would include investing in the development of improved emissions control systems and new engines.

The Scania G 410 Euro 6 semitrailer tractor is the greenest truck in its class.