Audi of America today announced the launch of Audi energy®, a comprehensive program designed to help improve the electric vehicle ownership experience and reduce the carbon footprint that comes with vehicle production, distribution and driving. Also today, Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced further plans in its holistic approach to e-mobility. Starting with the launch of the zero-tailpipe emissions 2015 e-Golf model, Volkswagen will invest in carbon reduction projects to offset emissions created from e-Golf production, distribution and up to approximately 36,000 miles of driving. Volkswagen also named SunPower as the official solar energy partner power provider. Through these innovative collaborations, Volkswagen will be one of the first high-volume manufacturers to deliver a truly holistic approach to ultra-low-carbon mobility. The 2015 e-Golf will go on sale later this year at participating dealerships in select states.
Audi energy will be available with the introduction of the first plug-in hybrid vehicle offered by the brand the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, which is scheduled to debut at select dealerships in the U.S. during the second half of 2015. Through the Audi energy program, Audi will offer three unique opportunities to help improve sustainability and reduce carbon emissions: At-home Audi-designed Level 2 charging developed in conjunction with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions will be available for qualified owners of the A3 e-tron. Audi will purchase carbon offset certificates in California and Africa to offset certain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with A3 Sportback e-tron vehicles. And SunPower will provide an optional home solar power system for Audi owners, especially A3 Sportback e-tron customers, including a newly developed home energy storage solution to capture additional solar energy.
“The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron will offer drivers an eco-conscious vehicle ownership experience,” said Wayne Killen, General Manager, Product Strategy and Launch.. Audi energy takes this to the next level with solutions that allow for sustainable fuel driving and a lower carbon footprint. We believe this will be one of the most comprehensive offering in the industry today.”
In addition to offering the all-new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, which is expected to debut in the second half 2015 at participating dealerships in all 50 states, Audi will also offer the following as part of the Audi energy program: Level 2 Audi charger. Standard. Through Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, Audi will offer qualified owners of the all-new A3 Sportback e-tron models premium installation services to help quickly and safely convert the owner’s residence to 240V power at the charging location of their choosing as well as installation of 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.
A distinctive component of Audi energy is possible through an innovative arrangement with 3Degrees, a certified B Corporation and leading carbon offset and Renewable Energy Credit (REC) provider based in San Francisco with several U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency awards as Green Power Supplier of the Year. Investing in two types of carbon reduction programs, one in the U.S. and the other in Africa (in a United Nations REDD+ zone), Audi 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.
Audi has reached an agreement with San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower to offer optional home solar power systems to Audi owners in all 50 states, including A3 e-tron customers. With the highest efficiency solar panels available in the industry today including the 21% efficient X-Series Solar Panel which produces 75 percent more energy over 25 years than a conventional panel – SunPower rooftop solar systems can help customers enhance the energy efficiency of their A3 e-tron and home while lowering their electric utility costs.
In a separate development, Volkswagen announced it has teamed with 3Degrees, a renewable energy and carbon offset services provider. The partnership brings new meaning to the idea of an ultra-low carbon car. By investing in carbon reduction programs, Volkswagen will offset the e-Golf’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result from its production, distribution and from the estimated emissions produced from keeping the vehicle charged through the initial 36,000 miles of the vehicle’s life. 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 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,” said Oliver Schmidt, general manager, Environment and Engineering Office, Volkswagen Group of America. “We now have the ability to offer offsets that approximate the emissions created from production, distribution and the initial 36,000 miles of use.”
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 Forests: 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.
“Volkswagen is showing leadership by including carbon offsets standard with this e-Golf electric vehicle,” said Steve McDougal, President of 3Degrees. “As more people choose low and no emission cars, Volkswagen is making it possible and easy to think comprehensively about the greenhouse gas emissions profile of a vehicle.”
As part of Volkswagen’s efforts to deliver an ultra-low-carbon car, the company is working with SunPower to provide qualified U.S. 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. Combining solar with energy storage will help provide homeowners peace-of-mind and opportunity to access back-up power during a power outage.
“Investing in a residential SunPower solar system is a reliable, cost-effective way for Volkswagen customers to help manage household electricity costs and charge their electric vehicle with emissions-free energy,” said Tom Werner, president and CEO of SunPower. “Partnering with Volkswagen is a natural fit for SunPower, given our shared passion for delivering innovative, alternative energy solutions that help customers power their lives sustainably, and for the long term.”
Volkswagen’s holistic approach to e-mobility also extends to the ownership experience. The company 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 highly competitive prices to e-Golf customers.
Additionally, Volkswagen has selected ChargePoint® to complete the owner 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 over 18,000 ChargePoint stations around the U.S., 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. The 2015 e-Golf will go on sale later this year at participating dealerships in select US states and will bring zero-tailpipe emissions to the Golf family of vehicles.