Europe’s Largest Automaker Joins Designing Sustainable Mobility Summit

Eleanor Hanson

In the news: US subsidiary of Volkswagen is giving a high profile to vehicles with lower environmental impact at the Designing Sustainable Mobility Summit held at the Art Center College of Design in Southern California. At the summit designers and other transportation experts from various countries will share their ideas on how to make future mobility more environmentally attuned.

In connection with this objective, Volkswagen has offered attendees and Art Center students the chance to experience driving VW models that are equipped with only the top-of-the-line Volkswagen parts like the popular Volkswagen ignition coil and have engines specially designed to run on biodiesel, ultra low sulfur diesel and hydrogen. These VW models have highly efficient gasoline engines that are perfect for cruising on public roads.

By allowing participants of the Summit to drive some of the very technologies that they are pursuing makes it more meaningful and at the same time boosts awareness on the importance of environmentally friendly vehicles.

According to Ron Cogan editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal which is hosting the Summit’s ride and drive, “It’s important to demonstrate that raising the bar in such important areas as fuel efficiency and emissions reduction isn’t just accomplished with exotic or future-oriented technologies. Volkswagen’s demonstrating of its clean diesel and twin charger engines provide real-world examples of environmentally positive technologies that are operating on highways today.”

For the Summit’s ride and drive, Europe largest automaker is fielding a Touareg V10 TDI running on B5 biodiesel which is a mixture of conventional ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel and renewable biodiesel. Diesel fuel that includes a mix of biodiesel burns cleaner and help displace fossil fuel use which contributes to energy diversity. Volkswagen has also extended its warranty protection to its models operating on B5 biodiesel to encourage more customers to use a cleaner fuel.

In addition an advance preview of the twin charger gasoline engine Jetta which is still in development is also being offered. The Jetta’s TSI engine would provide higher power output derived from a smaller displacement engine and at the same time achieve greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions. The TSI is famous in Europe and now being considered for distribution in the US. The TSI also makes use of a supercharger to give its engine that extra boost at lower rpms while its exhaust driven turbocharger provides mid-range rpms or higher.

Also presented at the Summit was Volkswagen’s Touran HyMotion hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that does not only embodies the automaker’s interest in zero-emission fuel but also showcases the company’s breakthrough high temperature fuel cell. The zero-emission fuel is the result of a decade long hydrogen vehicle development that produces a more compact, lighter, and more durable fuel cell system. This technology is expected to make fuel cell powertrains more economical making mass production in the future possible.

The environmentally adept vehicles and activities that Volkswagen is sponsoring simply show the company’s commitment in protecting and preserving nature. And because of the company’s dedication in pursuing a “greener and safer” world, Volkswagen of America was named the “Industry’s most environmentally friendly automaker” by the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Alternative Powertrain Study.

Volkswagen has also received the EU Commission’s European Business Award for the Environment for its innovative SiCon recycling process.

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