As Europe's biggest carmaker, Volkswagen attracts an exceptional amount of public attention. Policy makers, the public at large and, ultimately, our customers expect us to provide products that will continue to enable individual mobility now and in future. We are happy to use the opportunity afforded by this year's TRA to demonstrate what it is that motivates us in this challenge.
Because economic, technical and social framework conditions, trends in society and the ensuing customer demands are all subject to change, it is essential that we keep our vehicles and mobility systems under constant development. Environmental conservation and the conservation of resources also play a key role in shaping our endeavours. All these aspects need to be converged and judiciously balanced to produce a sustainable system. Sustainability is achieved by weighing up ecological needs against economic necessity while also giving due consideration to sociological factors, and then finding the right balance.
The work to develop new mobility systems revolves around using highly efficient powertrains and new alternative sources of energy. This focus is a critical one in the effort to devise solutions to foreseeable global energy problems – problems caused by dramatic growth in the demand for energy by emerging nations such as China and India as well as stagnating or even marginally increasing demands in industrialised nations coupled with a declining output of inexpensive crude oils. This situation makes it imperative to tap new sources of energy, most notably renewable forms of energy. What is needed is the diversification of primary energies but not of those sources of energy used to drive mobility.
The outlined framework conditions give rise to three concrete fields of action in the development of future powertrain concepts:
The systematic further enhancement of powertrain efficiency
The incorporation of alternative sources of energy for fuel production
The development of carbon-neutral paths to vehicle operation
The Volkswagen Fuel and Powertrain Strategy sets out the answers to these challenges.