At its Carbon Neutrality TechTalk, Audi announced its plans to achieve carbon-neutral on balance. Audi announced the innovative measures the automotive brand is taking to achieve the target by 2025. Out of the five manufacturing facilities around the world, two of the plants — Brussels (Belgium) and Győr (Hungary) are already carbon neutral. The remaining three plants — Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), San Jose Chiapa (Mexico), have achieved 75% carbon neutrality already. For the Indian market, Audi shares its manufacturing facility in Aurangabad with Skoda. As the Volkswagen Group plans to achieve carbon neutrality worldwide as well by 2050, the facility in India will also achieve the same target at a later stage. However, it will be Skoda’s prerogative to help reach that target.
Audi sternly confirmed its aggressive approach, in regards to how the coronavirus pandemic affected on the plans to achieve the targets by 2025. The automaker stated “We can’t avoid but slow down in the face of the pandemic. It’s an important issue and the automotive industry is in the midst of a transformation here. Corona will not stop us! Digitisation, electrification and sustainability constitute the main framework. Of course, we have started our ‘E-Offensive’ plans to introduce 30 electrified models by 2025 in the global market, of which 20 will be purely electric. This will be our contribution to achieving the goal of the Paris Climate Accord.”
To achieve the carbon neutrality goals, Audi has identified hotspots along the whole supply chain and manufacturing. Marco Philippi, Senior Director Procurement Strategy said; “We are pursuing a hot spot-based approach and specifically target areas in which manufacturing is especially energy-intensive or requires large amounts of material.” Due to the transition toward electric mobility, the proportion of CO2 emissions attributable to the supply chain increases because the battery production process, in particular, is CO2 intensive. Audi states that nearly a fourth of all CO2 emissions are anticipated to occur here by 2025, based on the forecast fleet average. Therefore, the Ingolstadt based automaker, together with its suppliers, is especially addressing actions that are effective in this early manufacturing stage.
Audi has introduced a new “Aluminium Closed Loop” recycling concept. With this process, Audi’s stamping plants recorded a reduction of its carbon footprint just in 2019 by 150,000 metric tons. Audi says that using secondary aluminium helps save up to 95% energy compared to primary aluminium. This closed-loop has been implemented in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. The plant in Győr will start the same from 2021.
Audi is also working towards the process of chemical recycling in collaboration with the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT). Audi and the team at KIT are working on a method for chemical recycling of automotive plastics. The process which is under development is said to make to the recycling of mixed plastics a possibility. The process is expected to replace mechanical recycling as a more eco-friendly alternative.
Additionally, Audi is working towards a more eco-friendly process of logistics with a wholesome approach. Since 2010, Audi has been utilising “The Green Train” eco-friendly rail transportation for its automobile shipments. Since 2017, rail-bound logistics for Audi have been handled in a largely climate-neutral way with Deutsche Bahn. In Ingolstadt, Audi uses two hybrid locomotives. At the plant in Neckarsulm, a rail-bound tractor with an electric motor plus a CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) volume tractor for shunting operations. Additional methods to reduce its carbon footprint are underway at all facilities. The plant in Győr, Hungary is the home to Europe’s largest solar rooftop. Audi has stated that the 160,000 square metre rooftop photovoltaic system produces 9.5-gigawatt-hours of energy per year and thus save 4,900 metric tons of CO2.
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