Volkswagen hopes to let the “train take the strain” in a bid to boost its green credentials and meet CO2 emission targets.
Its logistics wing has pledged to switch all transport of its materials and vehicles to Deutsche Bahn trains running on green electricity by the start of 2021. This is expected to cut more than 26,700 metric tons of CO2 emissions a year compared to the current electricity mix. Deutsche Bahn feeds in electricity from wind farms and hydropower plants.
The automaker says 95% of all such transportation is already powered by green electricity. In addition to more materials logistics reliance on rail, Volkswagen aims to increase vehicle transportation by train from 53% today to up to 60% by 2022.
When operations are running normally, Volkswagen uses more than 190,000 freight wagons a year. On average 38 long-distance and 157 local trains deliver materials daily to the plants, totaling around 100,000 wagons a year. Meanwhile, some 90,000 wagons take approximately 900,000 vehicles from the plants to 40 interim storage facilities, distribution centers and ports. The brands being transported by rail include Volkswagen, Audi, Škoda, SEAT, Porsche and Volkswagen commercial vehicles.
Thomas Zernechel, head of Volkswagen Group Logistics, says: “With this green electricity offensive we are making an important contribution towards Group decarbonization. No carmaker in Europe transports more freight by rail using renewable electric power than Volkswagen.
“In addition to our electric vehicle production having a carbon-neutral footprint, this is a further element in being able, for instance, to hand vehicles from the Volkswagen ID range to customers without any CO2 baggage.”