In the drive to engage US consumers on the wonders of electric-vehicle mobility, the ante was upped once again on Tuesday when Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VW) announced the latest in its holistic approach to e-mobility. Starting with the launch of its zero-tailpipe emissions 2015 e-Golf later this year, 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.
Thanks to a trio of innovative partnerships — with SunPower, its official solar energy power provider; 3degrees, a renewable energy and carbon-offset services provider; and Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, offering charging station and installation services — Volkswagen, in its bid to "become the world's greenest automaker," will be one of the first high-volume manufacturers to deliver a truly holistic approach to ultra-low-carbon mobility.
"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."
Carbon Offsets Through 3degrees
VW’s partnership with 3degrees brings new meaning to the idea of an ultra-low-carbon car: the automaker says it will offset the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result from the e-Golf's production and distribution, and from the estimated emissions produced from charging the vehicle through the initial 36,000 miles of its life. VW chose carbon-offset efforts geared towards forestry conservation in California – through the Garcia River Forestry Project and the Big River and Salmon Creek Forests, both in Mendocino County — and a landfill gas capture project at the McKinney Landfill in McKinney, Texas.
"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 of the Environment and Engineering Office at 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."
Residential Solar Solutions from SunPower
Through its partnership with SunPower, VW is offering qualified US Volkswagen e-Golf buyers the opportunity to install a residential SunPower system, which can help them 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. SunPower says combining solar with energy storage will also help provide homeowners peace of mind and the 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."
Charging Stations and Installation by Bosch
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 at “highly competitive prices.”
Additionally, VW 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 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.
The 2015 e-Golf will go on sale later this year at participating dealerships in select US states.
Bosch Automotive Service Solutions made news last week when it unveiled the BMW i DC Fast Charger, a joint development with BMW of North America, that can charge the all-electric BMW i3’s up to 80 percent in 30 minutes.
But what happens to all of those EV batteries after that initial 36,000 miles? End-of-life uses, or disposal options, for EV batteries — which are highly toxic — are a major sustainability issue in the EV space. To address this, in 2010 Japanese multinational corporation Sumitomo began collaborating with Nissan to develop and install the world's first large-scale power storage system that utilizes used EV batteries. Built on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, the commercial-scale storage system began operating in February.