VW pledges to achieve climate neutrality, starting with EV acceleration

The launch of VW's ID range this year will mark the first step towards its 'climate-neutral' ambition

The firm had previously pledged to bring 50 new EVs to the market by 2028, but this week increased that figure by 20 models and raised EV production targets through to this deadline from 15 million to 22 million.

In total, VW is now aiming for 40% of its portfolio to be electrified by 2030 and to invest €30bn in e-mobility by 2023.

The updates to its EV targets form part of VW’s commitment of achieving ‘climate-neutral’ status within the next 31 years, which was announced by the firm’s Chairman Herbert Diess on Tuesday evening (12 March). This ambition will require VW to emit no more carbon than it is able to sequester or offset.

As it strives to achieve zero-carbon status, VW will source more renewable energy for its manufacturing plants and showrooms, while implementing other low-carbon technologies across its value chain in a bid to halve supply chain emissions by 2025.

It will then introduce an internal carbon price or carbon “tax”, with individual facilities and business departments charged for using non-renewable electricity or heat and for travelling using non-electric road vehicles or by passenger plane. Money raised in this way will be used to pay for external carbon credits, offsetting the carbon equivalent of emissions from these activities.

“We are about to make a paradigm shift in our system, which will entail focusing all forces on one goal – climate neutrality,” Diess wrote in a blog post.

“Pursuing this path is not without risk and can only succeed if the defined climate goals remain in place. VW is working with all its might on ensuring the transition to e-mobility is a success. We owe it to future generations.”

Zero-carbon cars

The unveiling of its climate-neutral ambition comes shortly after VW pledged to ensure that its ID range will be carbon-neutral through its entire lifecycle – provided that users recharge it with renewable power.

The company will use 100% renewable power to produce the ID in Zwickau and purchase carbon credits equivalent to “all unavoidable” emissions throughout the vehicles’ lifecycle, including those associated with sourcing raw materials and transporting the cars abroad. Autumn 2019 has been earmarked as the launch date for the first ID.

VW has additionally confirmed this year that it will invest $800m in the expansion of its manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to install low-carbon EV production lines at the facility.

Elsewhere in its low-carbon strategy, VW recently confirmed plans to launch a new company focusing on EV charging solutions and renewable energy offerings.

Called the Elli Group, the new venture will be headquartered in Berlin and will develop and deliver products that assist the emergence and growth of the EV market, such as energy storage devices, charging points and ‘smart’ energy management systems.

Sarah George

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