As a car manufacturer, we can never claim to have a truly positive impact on the environment – and nor should anyone else in the automotive industry. But what we can be certain about is that the billions of pounds we’re investing in responsible technologies over the next decade will place Audi at the forefront of efficient motoring and manufacture.
The principles of constant innovation at the heart of Vorsprung durch Technik already place Audi in a strong position. Technologies such as our lightweight space frames, efficient TDI engines and our waste-reducing manufacturing processes all serve to cut CO2 emissions. And we’ve been doing this for years – we’ve improved our cars’ efficiency by over a third during the last 20 years, and by 2012 we pledge to reduce the emissions of our vehicles by a further 20 per cent.
We’re continuing to work hard today to create a clean driving tomorrow and have a number of very exciting developments to offer our customers over the coming years. Read on to learn more about our commitment to reducing our, and your, impact on the environment.
In the UK
Whilst our colleagues in Germany are doing everything they can to make our cars more efficient, at Audi Head Office in Milton Keynes we are also committed to reducing waste. A lot of what we do isn’t very innovative, you probably recycle paper and switch off unused appliances at home, but it does make a significant difference to our carbon footprint. On top of this, by investing in technologies like intelligent lighting and video conferencing we are able to work efficiently without compromising our business standards. And by joining forces with Audi UK’s franchise operation to minimise waste, we are generating tangible environmental benefits across the whole of the network.
Saving you water
It makes environmental sense to use water-saving processes and to re-use as much water as possible.
We don’t mind when it rains. In fact, at the Audi factory we welcome a good downpour because we collect rainwater in our underground cisterns – from an area of almost 450,000 square metres – to use in our car production. Since adding an additional storage facility in 2006, over 14,000 cubic metres of water can be stored in reservoirs at our Ingolstadt plant. And we’re looking to increase this figure. In 2007, this supplied nearly 240,000 cubic metres of water – that’s enough to serve the needs of a small city.
On top of these innovations, we also feed 96.3 per cent of our total water use into a closed-loop system. All this means the demand on water (and therefore the amount of wastewater used in the production of each vehicle) has been reduced from 4.9 cubic metres per car in 1988 to 1.5 cubic metres per car in 2007 – that’s a 69 per cent reduction.
Recycling waste material
We’ve already reduced our waste by a considerable amount using some innovative thinking. We all know waste significantly affects the environment, but disposing of it costs a lot of money too. And that’s not efficient.
So a thorough review of our practices on the production line led to an extensive recycling scheme and a complete rethink about the logistics of waste management. Now most of the waste produced on the assembly line is separated and sorted on-site, reducing the need to transport elsewhere for processing.
(We’ve also reduced our transport needs by using a software system which calculates every last square centimetre of loading space in our lorries, maximising the available space. Packaging is already optimised in the planning stages; our packing team and their computer find the most efficient way of loading, further reducing the number of lorry journeys.)
Reducing carbon footprint
Like any organisation, we want to reduce the amount of energy we consume and CO2 we emit. And we’re continually doing so with an entire package of targeted projects and innovative ideas that are helping to reduce our carbon footprint. In fact, despite our car production increasing, our overall energy use has remained virtually the same.
One of the ways we’ve been able to do this is by using different sources of energy. One of these sources comes from the local municipal waste processing plant here in Ingolstadt, which supplies us with 76,000 megawatt hours of heating. This saves 19,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Another source of energy comes from within the factory, from our state-of-the-art Combined Heat, Cooling and Power production facility (CHCP). Audi invested 8 million euro in this technology, which produces electricity from natural gas, cutting 17,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
We also have a heat recovery system that saves around 60 per cent of the thermal energy produced within the plant. The heat saved annually is the same amount it would take to heat 915 family homes.
In the car body paint shop in Ingolstadt, we saw a decrease in emissions of 84.5 per cent between 1991 and 2007.
We took the decision not to use materials containing CFCs or adhesives containing solvents back in 1990, for the entire factory. This has also helped to reduce our overall solvent emissions, and thanks to water-based paint technology, the paints we use contain very little organic solvents (which are found in conventional paints). What’s more, technologies such as electro-magnetic paint application have allowed us to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions as well.
In car technologies
At Audi, our strategy for reducing our carbon footprint hasn’t really changed. Historically, we’ve led the way in low-consumption technologies and contributed major advances in protecting the environment.
Over the years we’ve become synonymous with advanced diesel power, ever since our first efficient TDI engine was launched 20 years ago. It was a milestone for us; it reduced our environmental impact and of course it rewarded the astute driver.
That pioneering technology put us ahead of the game, and now our next generation TDI engines are so advanced they already meet future EU5 European emission limits.
Volkswagen Group United Kingdom has partnered with Cartakeback.com to provide a Government-approved national network of certified dismantling companies. They will take care of the environmentally friendly recovery of your car once it's reached the end of its life. To find your nearest Volkswagen Group-appointed recycling facility call 0870 850 5301 or visit Cartakeback.com.
We also take back a large range of used parts from vehicle repairs and remanufacture on an industrial scale. These parts are sold across the world with a full manufacturer's guarantee under the name Genuine Parts.
All battery producers in the UK are required to be registered with the Government as part of an EU-wide initiative to increase battery collection/recycling and completely prohibit the landfill/incineration of automotive and industrial batteries. Volkswagen Group UK Ltd is registered as a Producer of Batteries under Registration Number BPRN00504.
When an automotive (starter) battery in your vehicle reaches its end of life, it can be delivered to the facilities listed below for disposal.
- Civic Amenity and Recycling Centres
- Local authority battery collection schemes (please check with your local council)
- Licensed Scrap yards
- Authorised Treatment Facilities (car dismantlers etc).
To find out the easiest way to dispose of your battery please search the “Recycling near you” directory (http://www.recycle-more.co.uk/banklocator/banklocator.aspx)
If requested, Volkswagen Group UK Limited can arrange for the automotive batteries it has produced to be collected from the types of sites listed above. Should you wish to arrange a collection, please telephone 01908 548584 and ask to speak to a member of the environment team.
Electric powered or “hybrid” vehicles
From 1 January 2010, businesses that place hybrid/electric vehicle batteries onto the UK market have an obligation to arrange for the treatment and recycling of these batteries. If you have such a battery and need advice, please contact us on 01908 548584.
Volkswagen Group UK Ltd is a member of the BatteryBack producer compliance scheme. To find your nearest portable battery disposal facility and find out more about the benefits of battery recycling, please visit www.batteryback.org