When people talk about emissions it’s hard to forget the diesel emissions scandal that started back in 2015 – quite possibly because it’s ramifications are still rumbling on even now. And the brand at its epicentre? Volkswagen. But now in efforts to green up the company, manufacturer of the “people’s car” turned people’s polluter is launching its first electric car: The Volkswagen ID.
As the Group’s first electric car the new ID. will play a pioneering role. Volkswagen claim that provided the customer consistently charges with green power then it will remain CO2 neutral throughout its entire life cycle.
Added to this, Volkswagen boast that even in the manufacturing phase alone the ID.’s carbon footprint will be improved by more than 1million tons of CO per year – this is roughly the climate impact of a coal-fired power plant that supplies 300,000 households with electricity. Volkswagen is also working on a comprehensive decarbonisation programme that includes measures for other models, and plans to offer more than 20 fully electric models by 2025.
Georg Kell, the founding director of the U.N. Global Compact and spokesperson for the Volkswagen Group Sustainability Council, said: “CO2 emissions produced by humans must be reduced as quickly as possible. Since its foundation, the Volkswagen Sustainability Council has worked hard to ensure that the company makes climate protection one of its strategic priorities.
“Volkswagen boast that even in the manufacturing phase alone the ID.’s carbon footprint will be improved by more than 1million tons of CO per year”
Green power from battery cell to charging
For the ID., Volkswagen has focused the entire value chain on the goal of avoiding and reducing CO2 emission. The battery cells will be produced in Europe, the energy will come from green power sources. More savings potential in the supply chain that extends all the way back to raw material production is being examined with the help of direct and indirect suppliers. The plant in Zwickau is already using externally produced power from renewable sources. Unavoidable emissions in the manufacturing process are offset by investments in certified climate projects. As a result, the ID. will be manufactured CO2 neutral right from the start.
A welcome transformation
Because electric cars are only as clean as the power that is used to produce and charge them, Volkswagen expressly supports Germany’s planned transition to sustainable energy supplies. Even beyond the energy transformation, the breakthrough of electric mobility can be achieved only in an alliance with political leaders. From residential property law to the expansion of public charging infrastructure, the goal should be to quickly remove the barriers standing in the way of electric cars.
The company is, of course, still reeling from the 2015 diesel debacle in which emissions cheating software was used to “rig” readings, bringing cars that would otherwise break pollution regulations in line with the Clean Air Act. Even as recently as November 2018 – and thanks to a change in German law – the German consumer association filled a group-action, with thousands of customers claiming for compensation and accusing the manufacturer of “deliberately and unethically causing damage” to two million drivers.
For the brand that successfully shook off its Nazi associations from the 1930s one would think that bouncing back from cheating a few air quality tests would be child’s play. But it seems that for now at least we will have to wait and see.