Volkswagen and Audi launch sustainability programs for US introduction of e-Golf BEV and A3 e-tron PHEV; carbon offsets with 3Degrees and solar energy
Volkswagen of America, Inc. introduced several e-mobility sustainability initiatives to commence with the US launch of the battery-electric e-Golf (earlier post). These begin with an investment in carbon reduction projects via a partnership with 3Degrees to offset emissions created from e-Golf production, distribution and from the estimated emissions produced from keeping the vehicle charged through the initial 36,000 miles of its life. VoA made the announcement at the Management Briefing Seminar, hosted by the Center for Automotive Research.
Volkswagen of America also selected SunPower as VW’s official solar energy partner; Bosch Automotive Service Solutions as its preferred home-charging and installation services provider; and ChargePoint to provide charging stations to the VW dealer network and to provide US e-Golf owners access to consumers to more than 18,000 charging stations nationwide. The 2015 e-Golf will go on sale later this year at participating dealerships in select states.
Separately, Audi of America, also part of the larger Volkswagen Group, also announced its own carbon offset program for the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid (PHEV) (earlier post) with 3Degrees, as well as SunPower and Bosch partnerships. The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is expected to go on sale at participating dealerships in all 50 states in the fall of 2015.
Volkswagen feels it is important to look beyond the benefits of driving a vehicle without tailpipe emissions and to take a holistic approach to e-mobility.—Oliver Schmidt, general manager, Environment and Engineering Office, Volkswagen Group of America
3Degrees and carbon offsets. 3Degrees provides renewable energy certificates and carbon offsets to Fortune 500 companies, green building firms, and other organizations. In addition, 3Degrees partners with utilities across the nation to offer customized green power options to approximately 25 million customers.
A six-time winner of the DOE/EPA Green Power Supplier of the Year Award and certified B Corporation, 3Degrees is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with regional offices throughout the US.
Volkswagen of America chose to include carbon reduction efforts in California and in Texas with projects geared towards forestry conservation and landfill gas capture.
Volkswagen-supported projects include:
Garcia River Forestry Project. The Garcia River Conservation-Based Forest Management Project, located in Mendocino County, Calif., protects and preserves a 24,000-acre native redwood forest, increasing carbon sequestration and storage, while also helping to restore the natural wildlife habitat. Emission reductions produced by the project are verified by an approved third party and registered with the Climate Action Reserve.
Big River and Salmon Creek Forest. The Big River and Salmon Creek Forests, located in Mendocino County, Calif., were subject historically to land fragmentation and unsustainable logging practices. In an effort to protect the native redwood and Douglas fir forest, the land is now protected through a 16,000-acre land purchase, which was funded in part by the carbon offsets it offers to organizations like Volkswagen. Emission reductions produced by the project are verified by an approved third party and registered with the Climate Action Reserve.
McKinney Landfill. The McKinney Landfill project, based at a closed landfill in McKinney, Texas, works to capture gases that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere from anaerobic decomposition within the landfill. Benefits from the capture include odor reduction, improved water quality and future distributed renewable energy production. The sale of carbon offsets supports the gas collection and flaring project. The emission reductions are validated, verified and registered using the Climate Action Reserve’s Landfill Project Protocol.
Investing in two types of carbon reduction programs, one in the US and the other in Africa (in a United Nations REDD+ zone), Audi said it will offset most of the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the A3 Sportback e-tron vehicle’s final assembly, including battery production, shipping the vehicle to the Audi dealer, and 50,000 miles of driving. These emissions represent the majority of greenhouse gas emissions up through approximately the vehicle’s first 50,000 driven miles.
SunPower: residential solar with energy storage. SunPower offers the highest efficiency solar panels available in the industry today—including the 21% efficient X-Series Solar Panel which produces 75% more energy over 25 years than a conventional panel.
As part of Volkswagen’s efforts to deliver an ultra-low-carbon car, the company is working with SunPower to provide qualified US Volkswagen e-Golf customers the opportunity to install a high performance SunPower solar system. A residential SunPower system can help customers save on annual household electricity costs as well as power their electric vehicle, reducing overall cost of ownership.
Volkswagen Group of America is SunPower’s first automotive partner whose customers will receive premier access to an energy storage solution from SunPower for a limited time once it becomes commercially available, expected to be in early 2015. Combining solar with energy storage will help provide homeowners peace-of-mind and opportunity to access back-up power during a power outage.
Audi will offer optional SunPower home solar power systems to Audi owners in all 50 states, including A3 e-tron customers. Additionally, Audi customers will also be the first among SunPower’s automotive partners to receive premier access to the energy storage solution.
Charging Solutions. Volkswagen recently announced that Bosch Automotive Service Solutions will serve as a charging station and installation services partner for the e-Golf. Bosch will provide a 240-volt charging unit, the Power Max charging station, as well as full-service installation for qualified e-Golf drivers. The charging station and installation will be offered at competitive prices to e-Golf customers.
Additionally, Volkswagen selected ChargePoint to complete the driver experience by providing all authorized e-Golf dealerships with VW-branded charging stations and by giving e-Golf drivers access to the largest network of public EV charging stations. As a result, e-Golf drivers will have access to more than 18,000 ChargePoint stations around the US, in addition to those stations installed at authorized VW dealerships. All e-Golf drivers will also get access to the ChargePoint mobile app, which will help them navigate to ChargePoint stations, see real-time status updates relating to ChargePoint stations and start charging sessions.
Audi also will use Bosch to offer qualified owners of the all-new A3 Sportback e-tron models premium installation services for the Audi designed Level 2 charger for at-home recharging. The Audi-designed Level 2 charger will come standard with the purchase of an all-new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. Installation costs will be extra.