Those who wish to travel in an environmentally-friendly manner require a car with low fuel consumption, correct? Yes, but it’s not quite that simple. Of course, it does make sense to look at fuel consumption, but that is only one side of the coin. Sustainable mobility is complex. This especially applies at Volkswagen, which is pursuing the goal of becoming CO2-neutral. Decarbonization (see the box) is the key word behind the sustainability strategy.
Thinking holistically is imperative! And that means from vehicle development up to the required raw materials, from logistics to production, from the first kilometer to the last on the road, from deregistration to recycling. Moreover, experts refer to the carbon footprint, environmental balance or life cycle assessment (LCA). This is an ISO-standardized, systematic analysis of the environmental impact of the product throughout the entire life cycle. “We are not only thinking about the production and the use phase, but also the raw materials, precursors and suppliers, as well as the recycling,” explains Marko Gernuks, Head of Life Cycle Optimization.
From the well to the wheel: The life of a car is divided into three phases for the analysis. The production, use phase and recycling. The production has three sub-categories for which data is gathered: raw material extraction, component and vehicle production. The use phase is subdivided into fuel/electricity supply and vehicle emissions. Of course, recycling is also an important topic, for example the secondary usage of batteries or the processing and further use of valuable materials.