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Guided Tour | Volkswagen



Zwickau, Germany

Emotional, electrifying

The ID.4 is the first all-electric SUV manufactured by Volkswagen Passenger Cars – and will be delivered to European customers as a net carbon-neutral product. This is made possible by, for example, the use of renewable-energy to manufacture battery cells by a partner company and by our Zwickau plant, where the ID.4 production line is net carbon-neutral. Volkswagen offsets unavoidable carbon emissions by investing in climate action projects.

If new ID owners continue to “fill up” their cars using, for example, green Volkswagen Naturstrom® electricity, their vehicles will have almost no impact on the climate during the driving phase of their life cycles. To optimize efficiency, the car has a flowing aerodynamic profile with an excellent drag coefficient of 0.28, and can be fitted with an (optional) heat pump. This combines waste heat from the car’s electrical components with heat from the outside atmosphere to air-condition the interior, using CO₂ as the refrigerant, pumped through the circuit at high pressure. The heat pump also significantly reduces the loss of range caused by air conditioning – especially in winter – by replacing a conventional electric heating unit.

Caring for the climate is also a top priority at the end of the vehicle’s life cycle: the ID.4’s battery can either be reused in various second-life scenarios or recycled as a source of raw materials. 

ID.4 1ST Edition (150 kW) - combined power consumption in kWh/100 km (NEDC): 16,2; CO₂ emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

Zwickau, Germany

Carbon-neutral production of ID.3 and ID.4

The production line at the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau, Germany, which manufactures the all-electric ID.3 and ID.4 models, is net carbon-neutral. This is because the plant is – among other things – powered by green power supplied by Volkswagen Kraftwerk GmbH and generated by hydropower plants, wind farms and solar installations. Any remaining demand is covered by the site’s own combined heat and power (CHP) plant, which runs on natural gas – more climate-friendly than coal-powered electricity. The other big advantage of having an on-site cogeneration plant? It also happens to cover 70 % of the factory’s heating requirements.

The production workshops, all recently expanded or built from scratch, comply with the latest energy-efficiency regulations, minimizing the plant’s consumption of heat, water and electricity. Even the use of natural gas – one of the major production consumables – has been optimized. The temperature of the exhaust gases produced by thermal post-combustion processes in the paint shop has been carefully calibrated to reduce pollutant emissions while simultaneously cutting the level of gas consumption. 

Where Zwickau’s production line is unable to avoid CO₂ emissions, Volkswagen offsets them by investing in climate action projects – especially active forest conservation projects and reforestation in the tropics.

ID.3 Pro Performance (150 kW) - combined power consumption in kWh/100 km: 16.9 - 15.4 (WLTP); 15.4 - 14.5 (NEFZ); CO₂ emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

Emden, Germany

Climate action – made in Emden

The Volkswagen plant in Emden is on its way to becoming a zero-impact factory – a factory that has no negative impacts on climate or environment. 

This evolution relies, among other things, on ground-sourced geothermal energy. The body shop, which has a total area of 63,000 m², is built on 5,000 piles that extend as far as 24 meters into the ground. Around 3,300 of them act as “energy piles” for cooling water, which is initially used to cool the plant’s welding equipment. In winter, waste heat is used to heat up the water, which is fed into the production shop’s heating system before being cooled down again by the energy piles. 

Another project lurks beneath the floor of the logistics center, one of the first of the Group’s industrial buildings to have energy-efficient underfloor heating. This is powered by a district heating system connected to a biomass power plant, where scrap wood is burned in a net carbon-neutral process.

Since 2010, Emden’s municipal authorities have been using some of the land on the site to run powerful wind turbines (Enercon E-126). A single turbine supplies enough electricity for some 5,000 households. And back in 2008, the first employees’ solar energy cooperative was set up by the plant’s workforce. With an output of 1.1 MWp, their photovoltaic system mounted on the factory roof is the largest solar array run by any employees’ cooperative in Europe, supplying some 225 four-person households with renewable energy every year. 

Wrocław, Poland

Reducing CO₂ by 80 %

Manufacturing high-voltage battery cells takes a lot of energy – battery-cell production accounts for around one third of the CO₂ emitted during the production of an electric vehicle (EV). This is primarily because wet materials are poured onto a film and must then be dried. This means that manufacturing an EV produces on average 1.5 times more CO₂ emissions than the production of vehicles fitted with petrol or diesel engines. But if green power is used to manufacture the high-voltage battery cells, over 80 % of these emissions can be avoided.
This is exactly what Volkswagen is doing: Korean-owned LG Chem supplies the battery cells for the ID.3 from its plant in the Polish city of Wrocław. When LG Chem first signed its supply contract with Volkswagen, the supplier agreed to use only certified green electricity to manufacture these battery cells. 

Following this positive experience, and in view of the benefits to the climate, the Volkswagen Group went on to develop new procurement guidelines stipulating that in the future, Group companies should only purchase battery cells produced using green power. Suppliers must provide documentary proof of this before any contracts are signed. As a result, the carbon footprint of the battery cells arriving at the Zwickau plant is 80 % smaller than before. And as Volkswagen offsets the remaining unavoidable CO₂ emissions by investing in climate action projects, we are able to supply our customers with vehicles boasting a net-zero carbon footprint. 

Braunschweig, Germany

Green battery logistics

Volkswagen is already using exclusively green electricity to manufacture battery cells for the ID.3 and ID.4 EV series. And thanks to a green logistics chain and the latest automation technology, their transportation has also become more climate-friendly since the end of 2020. 

The battery cells manufactured using green power are first transported by rail from the supplier in Wroclaw, Poland, to the Volkswagen Group Components plant in Braunschweig. DB Cargo uses 100 % eco-electricity for rail transport within Germany. Once arrived in Braunschweig, the cells are automatically unloaded onto electric trucks and taken to the workshop, where the complete battery systems are assembled. These are then loaded back onto rail cars – again, using a fully automated process – for transportation to the Zwickau plant. Energy from renewables is used for this leg too. 

The loading and unloading systems in Zwickau and Braunschweig are regarded as some of the most advanced systems of their type in the industry. This high level of automation is an essential prerequisite for efficient battery assembly at our German plants. 

Overall, compared with conventional transportation by truck, this green logistics chain cuts out around 11,000 metric tonnes of CO₂ emissions. Equivalent to the annual CO₂ emissions of a village with 1,000 residents, this represents a key contribution to the carbon-neutral series production of electric vehicles. 

Salzgitter, Germany

Take old, make new

Batteries in electric cars contain a wealth of raw materials: lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt, as well as aluminum. Mining these and using them to make high-voltage batteries takes a lot of energy – which has a negative impact on the climate. To help minimize that impact, Volkswagen has opened a plant for recycling end-of-life high-voltage batteries, enabling over 90 % of a spent vehicle battery to be re-used. 

First, the recycling experts in Salzgitter, Germany, discharge and dismantle the old battery systems. A shredder then grinds them into granulate. Along with aluminum and copper, this mainly produces a black powder containing lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt, as well as graphite. These substances can be separated from each other using water and chemical agents. The advantage here is that there is no need to melt them down in an energy-intensive blast furnace. 

At present the plant can recycle around 3,600 battery systems per year. Each recycled 62 KWh battery saves the atmosphere around 1.3 metric tonnes of CO₂ emissions.


Astypalea, Greece

Sunny prospects

Before long, all you will need to sample the future is a trip to a Greek island. Astypalea is set to become the world’s first region with completely emission-free traffic. To make it happen, the island has teamed up with Volkswagen. 

The plan is to convert all traffic on Astypalea to e-mobility. New carsharing and ride-sharing services featuring e-cars, e-scooters and e-bikes will replace the old bus lines. Not only will smart mobility services make it easier for people to get around the island; they will also reduce the number of vehicles by 500. Everyone will “fill up” with green electricity from new wind and solar farms built by the Greek government. At the same time, a comprehensive network of private and public charging stations is taking shape.

Volkswagen is providing the vehicles for the project, including the e-up!, ID.3 and ID.4 models, as well as commercial vehicles and e-scooters from SEAT. Volkswagen is also responsible for setting up the new e-mobility services and installing the charging infrastructure.

Volkswagen WeShare
Berlin, Germany

Climate-friendly urban mobility

Carsharing is already a good approach to traveling in more climate-friendly style. And with WeShare, Volkswagen is going a step further. WeShare is an all-electric, free-floating carsharing service. All vehicles have electric drives and are charged using certified green electricity. 

With no fixed pick-up or drop-off spots for the cars, WeShare makes zero-emission, sustainable mobility accessible to as many people as possible. Usage is billed by the minute, although daily rentals are also possible for longer journeys such as trips to the surrounding countryside. The whole system is app-based, so no keys or access cards are required. From registration to rental, the smartphone app makes the whole process digital and hassle-free. The vehicles are charged at public charging stations or recharging points belonging to partner companies. With this flexibility, WeShare is making a smart and sustainable contribution to reducing the pressure on urban spaces. 

WeShare was launched in Berlin in 2019. In the German capital city, more than 100,000 registered customers can now access 1,500 e-Golf and ID.3 cars. Today, WeShare also operates in Prague and Hamburg, with Paris, Madrid, Budapest, Munich and Milan soon to follow. The standard vehicle in these cities will be the Volkswagen ID.3, which are net carbon-neutrally produced.

e-Golf - combined power consumption in kWh/100 km: 13.8 - 12.9; CO₂ emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+

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