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 its impacts; it is also critical to success, because customers’ needs are evolving. Fuel-efficient vehicles are just one, albeit vital, component of progressive mobility that produces less CO2. Which is why we are committed to offering our customers the fullest possible range of mobility services. And the Group’s Environmental Strategy also extends to the final stage of the vehicle’s life cycle: recycling.
The Volkswagen brand is gradually anchoring its “Think Blue.” strategy in other business areas to boost environmental sustainability: in early 2014, the brand began a campaign to get the 1,200 Volkswagen dealerships in Germany more closely involved in its environmental management system. The aim is to cut CO2 emissions from our dealer network by 25% by 2020 – which will also help to cut operating costs. By the end of 2015, we want more than 60% of car dealerships to have benefited from our advisory service. Our eco-efficiency service is available to all partner companies. In a “pre-check”, the Volkswagen consultants collate data on the dealers’ energy consumption, building shell and technology, and the use of regenerative energies. Each dealer can then take suitable action based on the results. Standout eco-friendly dealerships are awarded the “Future Climate inspired by Think Blue.” certificate. Volkswagen is advised on this project by the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). From 2015, we will be extending this initiative to our 11,500 dealers outside of Germany: the “Think Blue. Dealer.” initiative wants up to 60% of dealers worldwide to have received energy efficiency advice by 2018. Approved dealers may use the “Certified Think Blue. Dealer” logo.
Porsche has also launched a sustainability initiative to support dealers, aimed at improving energy efficiency among existing Porsche Centers and ensuring that new centers are organized as efficiently as possible. Porsche provides its international network with a comprehensive planning manual and software tool which addresses many aspects of environmental sustainability, from water saving, to construction, building services and renewable energies, to information on the handling of hazardous goods.
Supplementary Mobility Card
At present, electric vehicles are still limited by their range. In response, Volkswagen has joined forces with Euromobil to devise the “Supplementary Mobility Card”. Euromobil is the car hire arm of the Volkswagen Group sales and service partners, and boasts the largest network in Germany, with over 2,400 rental locations. Customers can rent vehicles from the Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and ŠKODA brands.
Within the first three years of purchasing one of our electric cars, the Supplementary Mobility Card allows customers to borrow a conventional-powertrain vehicle free of charge from any of the participating Euromobil outlets in Germany for up to a maximum of 30 days a year, including a set free kilometer allowance.
Volkswagen Mobility Card
As part of the German Government’s “Electromobility Showcase” program, the first pilot phase of the “Volkswagen Mobility Card” was launched in June 2014 in Hanover, with 50 participants. The card provides customers with an integrated range of services designed to make electromobility more user-friendly and efficient. For example, it can be used to reserve selected charging stations and parking spaces before setting out on a journey. Accounts are settled via the Volkswagen app, which also offers route planning with up-to-date traffic and parking information, so that customers can select the best mode of transport to their destination. The trial phase will run until the end of 2015; depending on the results, the Volkswagen Mobility Card will then be rolled out to other regions.
Very low fuel consumption: the ŠKODA Octavia Greenline.
The Challenge of Digitization
Growing digitization and new mobility concepts pose fresh challenges for vehicle sales. In November 2014, this prompted the Volkswagen brand to join with the Institut für Automobilwirtschaft (IFA) at Nürtingen-Geislingen University (HfWU) to create the “Future Retail Lab”. The lab will develop new sales strategies and concepts for the industry, and translate them into practice at Volkswagen.
Alongside the development of ever more fuel-efficient new models, the Group boasts a wide range of other offerings for eco-friendly mobility. These include:
- Spotlighting particularly efficient vehicles and low-carbon technologies in our product communications by awarding them efficiency badges (see "Efficiency Models") , and reporting on environmental progress in new models through Life Cycle Assessments and Environmental Commendations (see "Environmental Commendations").
- Information and campaigns inspiring drivers to adopt fuel-efficient, eco-friendly driving habits.
- e-mobility service offerings such as green electricity tariffs and a rapid-charging infrastructure such as the “wallbox”.
The “electrified! – electric mobility weeks by Volkswagen”, held in March 2014 at the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin, were attended by some 10,000 visitors keen to find out more about electric mobility at Volkswagen. Our alternative-powertrain vehicles were taken for a total of 6,000 test drives. From July to October, Volkswagen then took its electric models on tour to nine German cities on the “electrified! tour 2014”.
The use phase is decisive for the success of future-oriented and environmentally minded mobility.
Driving electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids has become far more convenient in Germany since the introduction of the “Charge&Fuel Card” from Volkswagen Financial Services in January 2015. It allows Volkswagen and Audi customers to fill up with electricity and conventional fuel on the same card. The Charge&Fuel Card provides access to more than 1,200 public charging stations around the country run by RWE, EnBW and Ladenetz. Previously, each charging operation had been billed locally and at different rates by individual suppliers. The card can also be used to fill up with regular fuel at around 10,000 filling stations. In the past, this would have meant customers having to carry up to 40 different cards, codes or other forms of authentication with them. The new service from Volkswagen consolidates all this onto a single card or app.
Sample calculation of additional savings potential resulting from ECO driver training
Without ECO driver training
4.6 l/100 km
€1.40/l diesel x 4.6 l/100 km x
90,000 km x 100 vehicles
With ECO driver training
(average fuel savings 10%)
4.1 l/100 km
€1.40/l diesel x 4.1 l/100 km x
90,000 km x 100 vehicles
Typical fleet of 100 vehicles (Passat Estate 2.0 l TDI BlueMotion Technology*), leasing term 36 months, 30,000 km/year.
*Combined CO2 emissions: 120 g/km; fuel consumption in l/100 km: urban: 5.6; extra-urban: 4.0; combined: 4.6.
Regardless of model or brand, along with the development of ever more efficient vehicles, eco-friendly driving habits are the decisive way to cut fuel consumption and emissions of CO2, noise and airborne pollutants. We support our customers in this respect with a range of courses:
- In Germany, Volkswagen and NABU offer free fuel economy training in the project “Change over – just save fuel”. Courses are held in collaboration with local NABU groups, Volkswagen dealers and a team of professional trainers from Volkswagen Driving Experience.
- Customers can also book “Think Blue. Eco-Training” courses directly with Volkswagen in Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore.
- In collaboration with Deutsche Verkehrswacht and caremotion, Volkswagen Financial Services offer “ECO driving courses” for drivers of fleet vehicles.
In 2014, the eco-driving courses conducted by Volkswagen Driving Experience attracted 978 participants. These courses currently focus on Germany and the Volkswagen brand, but there are plans to roll them out across the Group over the next few years.
Green Electricity. Electric vehicles powered by green electricity produce zero emissions. The Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche brands have come up with suitable tariffs for their customers. e-up! drivers can charge their vehicles with “BluePower” carbon-neutral electricity, generated by hydropower plants in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. BluePower is also available for the Porsche hybrid vehicles. And following the launch of the A3 e-tron in 2014, customers can now also purchase “Audi energy”, likewise generated by hydroelectric power stations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as documented by the “ok power” logo.
Green Gas. Audi A3 Sportback g-tron drivers have been virtually carbon-neutral since March 2014, thanks to the “Audi e-gas fuel card”. Audi records the quantities 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 green gas is produced at Audi’s own power-to-gas plant in Werlte, which uses waste CO2 as a raw material in production (see "Powertrain and Fuel Strategy“).
Save Fuel with “Think Blue. Trainer.”
“Think Blue. Trainer.” is a driver assistance program offering vital information on current fuel consumption during the journey, to encourage more eco-friendly driving habits. Essentially, the display system operates on the principle “blue = good”, “gray = bad”, and uses the Blue Score assessment system: if the driver is driving economically, the circle will fill with blue bars, and if they are not, the majority of bars will be grey. A Blue Score of 100 represents optimal driving performance. The Trainer also provides the driver with valuable live feedback on gear shifts, speed and foresight, as well as coasting and overrun fuel cut-off. The “Think Blue. Trainer.” already features in the conventional-powertrain e-up! and up! models, as well as in the Polo and Passat, and will be gradually rolled out to other models as well. The range of functions offered by the “Think Blue. Trainer.” 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 contains training challenges that provide additional motivation. All trips are automatically stored, and can later be used for cross-comparison.
Eco-Friendly Fleet Management
Commercial fleets are a powerful lever for making road traffic more environmentally compatible. More than 60% of all newly registered cars are fleet vehicles, and most of them clock up very high mileage. What is more, they are often leased, and therefore replaced every few years. Volkswagen Financial Services and NABU have come up with an environmental program which allows the fleet manager to protect the environment and cut costs at the same time. Since the program was launched, Volkswagen Leasing GmbH has seen the number of particularly fuel-efficient vehicles in its portfolio increase. As a result, over the past six years the average CO2 emissions of newly registered fleet vehicles for key-account customers have dropped by 17.7%. Fleet vehicles are subject to ever more stringent requirements, including a maximum emissions limit of just 110 g CO2/km in 2014 and an efficiency label of A or A+.
“The Green Fleet” award has been presented annually by Volkswagen Leasing and NABU since 2010, and recognizes ecologically responsible fleet managers. In 2014, for the first time ever, more than 100 key accounts competed for the award, setting a new record and demonstrating that eco-friendly fleet management is no longer a peripheral issue but at the very heart of fleet business. Awards were presented to the companies with the highest proportion of eco-friendly Volkswagen Group vehicles in three different fleet size categories.
Solutions for Urban Mobility of the Future
The challenges of urban mobility, and the possible solutions to this problem, have long been the subject of much debate. Expanding urban populations, megacities, lack of parking spaces, traffic jams, overloading of public transport, digitization and networking are the buzzwords. Systematically analyzing these challenges, and deriving possible solutions, is an ongoing task for mobility research. 2013 saw publication of the “Urban Mobility 2030” film, the first ever comprehensive visualization of this topic. 55
In fiscal 2014, we held intensive discussions with the general public, for example at the Volkswagen eMobility week in Berlin, early in the year, as well as at a string of conferences. The Volkswagen Group has also stepped up its intelligent mobility activities, including the Volkswagen CarNet with online traffic information in selected car models, the pilot project “Think Blue. Share a Volkswagen.”, and a mobility card in the context of the “Lower Saxony Electromobility Showcase”, plus a number of innovative driver assistance systems for our production vehicles, and demonstrations of automated and piloted driving. Research projects such as the Intersection Pilot for interaction between the vehicle and the traffic lights on the one hand, and location-specific mobility and traffic management concepts such as the Traffic Task Force in Wolfsburg on the other, round out our wide range of ideas on how to make future mobility more intelligent. 56
“Quicar” is the name of the Volkswagen carsharing project, operated by Volkswagen Financial Services: Over 200 Golf BlueMotion 1.6 TDI cars from the Volkswagen brand are available to rent at approximately 50 stations in and around Hanover. Some 12,000 customers have already registered with the Quicar scheme, which offers widespread availability of these efficient vehicles, an inexpensive and flexible system of charges and a simple operating concept. In 2013, Volkswagen Financial Services, together with its partner Pon Holdings B.V., also acquired a stake in Collect Car B.V., better known as “Greenwheels”. “Greenwheels” is the leading carsharing operator in the Netherlands, with around 2,000 vehicles. The companies are planning to jointly take the business model forward, and in a subsequent step roll out activities in other countries, primarily in Europe. At the same time, Volkswagen New Mobility Services Investment Company China (VW NMS), a 100% subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, has been piloting the VRent corporate carsharing model for companies and their employees since 2014. This is a brand new concept for China, offering customers uncomplicated, flexible and direct access to a comprehensive fleet of vehicles in various categories. A tariff model based solely on usage, with monthly invoicing, ensures complete transparency and cost control.
As part of the “Electromobility Showcase” program, in November 2014 Volkswagen began providing selected universities in Lower Saxony with 50 e-up!• cars at attractive rates for carsharing. The aim is to gauge customers’ expectations of e-carsharing and establish what challenges this places on the infrastructure, the vehicle components or the business model, for example.
“Intersection Pilot” Research Project
The joint German research initiative UR:BAN (Urban Space: User-Friendly Assistance Systems and Network Management), scheduled to run until 2016, is designed to provide passenger car and commercial vehicle drivers with anticipatory, intelligent, individual assistance in urban traffic situations. As part of the “Smart Intersection” sub-project, Volkswagen is developing the Intersection Pilot, the first system to supply drivers with information about the next intersection and support optimal driving maneuvers, helping to keep traffic flowing more smoothly and safely, and achieve a further cut in fuel consumption.
Reducing Traffic Noise
How best to provide individual mobility while at the same time reducing noise pollution is a task for all stakeholders, and the Volkswagen Group is committed to playing its part. The Volkswagen brand is working intensively to further reduce noise emissions from its vehicles. At the Volkswagen Acoustics Center in Wolfsburg, noise minimization efforts focus on continuous optimization of all aspects of the powertrain, the vehicle aerodynamics and tire/road noise. Noise emissions are a key factor in tire selection for every new vehicle across the Group. But the Volkswagen Group also goes one step further: in collaboration with Hamburger Lärmkontor GmbH (Germany), we have developed a noise tool to evaluate the effectiveness of noise abatement measures. Our noise research examines how individuals are impacted by noise, and we engage in ongoing dialogue with the affected community. This includes collaborating with local authorities and participating in the public debate, for example at the “DVWG Traffic Noise Forum” in 2014.
The Intersection Pilot supplies drivers with information about the next intersection, helping to keep traffic flowing more smoothly and safely.
Sustainable Mobility 2.0
As a long-standing member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), we collaborate with other member companies in all industries on the “Sustainable Mobility 2.0” project to develop solutions for sustainable future urban mobility. Potential solutions must be both pragmatic and based on sound technical research. The project entered its second year in 2014, kicking off a debate about the findings from all six model cities around the globe.
After-Sales and Recycling
The processes introduced by the Volkswagen Group ensure that our vehicles are at least 85% recyclable, and 95% recoverable overall (in accordance with standard ISO 22628). These quotas have been verified using vehicles manufactured between 2007 and 2012. Our strategy for meeting recycling and recovery quotas, adopted in May 2007, continued to be implemented in 2014. The Vehicle Recycling Steering Group controls all relevant Group and brand activities.
The future recycling of electric vehicle batteries containing lithium is today taken into account at the vehicle development stage. To this end, the Volkswagen brand has set up take-back systems for batteries and participated both in the joint project LithoRec I, completed in 2011, and the follow-on project LithoRec II, which is still ongoing. The recycling of lithium ion batteries is currently being tested. Since December 2013 we have also been involved in the research and development project ElmoReL2020 for the recycling of power electronics from electric vehicles. By 2016, the project partners are aiming to draw up recycling procedures for the key power electronics components.
In the field of commercial vehicles and power engineering, upstream of recycling, we are focusing on extending the life span of vehicles and plant by replacing components and upgrading efficiency. MAN Truck & Bus professionally remanufactures used parts for use in vehicle repairs under the “MAN Originalteile® ecoline” brand. This helps to conserve resources, saves energy, and cuts costs by an average of 30%. Web-based training courses for vehicle workshops can be booked via the MAN Academy. Customers in most parts of Europe also have access to an extensive portfolio of replacement and spare parts. MAN PrimeServ, the service brand of MAN Diesel & Turbo, has continuously refined its range of retrofits and upgrades to meet ever more stringent emissions and environmental compatibility requirements. Retrofit solutions are amalgamated under the name PrimeServ-Green, and help to boost efficiency and reduce emissions in diesel engines, marine propulsion systems, compressors and turbines. This service is offered by MAN Diesel & Turbo at 116 PrimeServ locations around the world.
Volkswagen Original Parts Center
The Original Parts Center (OTC) is the largest of its kind in Europe. It opened in 1994 and has been growing ever since. With 500,000 m² of buildings, it now covers the equivalent of 70 football pitches. In addition to manufacturing components and handling the sale of original parts, the OTC also remanufactures used engines and gearboxes, thereby extending the service lives of our models. Since the OTC opened, it has saved some 351,000 t of steel and almost 49,000 t of aluminum.