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Audi Backed CO2 Project Gets To The Root Of The Problem


Vorsprung durch Technik brand plants 36,000 oak trees to create a CO2 reservoir as part of a wide-reaching efficiency initiative

  • First of a planned series of CO2 storage forestation schemes takes root with Audi help in Germany near the brands Ingolstadt manufacturing facility
  • Numerous efficiency measures already in place for cars and production facilities
  • Audi range emissions to be cut by 20% by 2012
  • Latest A3 model is capable of 74.3mpg with emissions of just 99g/km

Audi has taken a literal approach to nurturing the proverbial green shoots of recovery in 2010 by funding the planting of 36,000 oak trees. Forming the basis of the Oak Forest CO2 Reservoir project, the budding mighty oaks cover six hectares in Ksching, near the Audi manufacturing facility in Ingolstadt, Germany, and are the first of a planned series of forestation schemes funded by Audi.

Almost completely destroyed in 2007 by bark beetles, drought and severe storms, the Ksching Forest has been replanted with 36,000 young Pedunculate Oaks with funding from Audi in conjunction with the Bavarian State Forestry and the Chair of Forest Yield Science at the Technical University of Munich. The revitalised forest provides a diverse biosphere for a wide variety of animal and plant species, and equally importantly can also store large amounts of carbon. The aim of the project is to identify the relationships between stand density, CO2 sequestration potential and biodiversity.

The Ksching Forest project will spawn several others on sites with different climatic conditions. Another trial site with an area of four hectares at the Audi production site in Gyr, Hungary, will be planted with more than 13,000 Pedunculate Oaks. Plans are underway for additional sites at international locations.

The newly sown forest is a particularly visible indicator of the Audi commitment to sustainability and environmental protection, but it is just one example of the numerous measures the prestige car manufacturer is systematically implementing to conserve resources in both the cars themselves and in their production.

Efficiency technologies in products

Audi offers 33 models worldwide whose average CO2 value is below 140 grams per km, placing the brand in a leading position among the premium manufacturers. Fleet CO2 emissions will be reduced by an additional 20 per cent by 2012.

Already the cleanest in the premium sector with CO2 emissions of just 109 g/km, the A3 1.6 TDI has also just become available in a new version which cracks the 100 g/km mark with CO2 emissions of only 99 g/km, corresponding to fuel consumption of 74.3mpg.


Audi engineers are working on several subject areas in the engine sector and are the global leaders with the TFSI and TDI engines. In the TDI engines, the common rail systems work at an injection pressure of 2,000 bar, which allows combustion to be managed extremely precisely and efficiently. The Audi valvelift system is used in many petrol engines to optimize gas exchange. In the normally aspirated V6 engines, it varies the stroke of the intake valves; in the turbocharged 2.0 TFSI, it affects the exhaust valves.

Audi also focuses on lower emissions. In the TDI clean diesel, the ultra low emission system drastically reduces nitrogen oxides in the exhaust, making it the worlds cleanest diesel.

Energy management

Energy management is another important efficiency area. The climate control system for the Audi A4, A5, and Q5 model series combines high performance with particularly low energy consumption. Another technology has found its way into series production in a number of models a recuperation system for the recovery of electrical energy during the braking and coasting phases.

Intelligent thermal management ensures that the engine reaches its operating temperature more quickly. Many Audi models are already equipped with optional daytime running lights comprising high-efficiency LEDs to reduce fuel consumption while simultaneously enhancing safety.


The reduction of internal friction is an important topic and Audi has devoted tremendous effort to optimizing the manual transmission. The six-speed tiptronic and stepless multitronic transmissions have also benefited from a number of detailed improvements for increased efficiency, and they are widely spaced to foster a low-rev driving style.

The new seven-speed S tronic shares this same strength. This new dual clutch transmission takes advantage of the strong pulling power of Audis engines and a particularly long final gear ratio to lower both engine speed and fuel consumption. A number of models already come equipped with a start-stop system that switches off the engine when the car is stationary. Audi will soon launch another efficiency technology heating the transmission improves efficiency immediately after a cold start.

Driving resistances

The areas of body and tyres harbour significant potential for reducing driving resistances. Tyres with a low rolling resistance play a major role. Sophisticated  refinements to the aerodynamics, such as a fully enclosed underbody in the Audi A4, A5, and Q5 model lines, improves the flow of air around the vehicle. Meanwhile the Audi TT, A8, and R8 have a body built largely or entirely of aluminium according to the principles of the Audi Space Frame (ASF). Reduced fuel consumption is a direct consequence of the savings in weight.

Efficient, resource-friendly production

Reducing the energy consumption and thus lowering CO2 emissions even during the assembly of the vehicle plays a central role in the environmental activities of AUDI AG. Climate protection and carbon dioxide emissions have long been among the leading environmental protection topics.

The search for new and improved processes in this area is a constant one, leading to new projects such as increasing the amount of district heat procured or the use of pioneering renewable energies such as photovoltaics.

Taking the planned expansion of capacity into account, AUDI AG has stated the goal of reducing site-specific and company-specific CO2 emissions by 30 percent relative to 1990 by the year 2020. It is therefore very important to continuously improve the energy efficiency of the production facilities.

Overall energy consumption at the Audi Group has held steady for several years now, despite significantly increased vehicle production. An entire package of targeted projects has made this possible. Energy-saving measures are considered during the planning phase for assembly plants and buildings, for infrastructure and for logistics concerns.

Trigeneration (power-heat-cooling) and waste heat utilization

To optimize energy efficiency, Audi operates a power-heat-cooling trigeneration plant in Ingolstadt. The very efficient energy utilization of the natural gas fuel enables the plant to achieve an efficiency of up to 78 per cent. This reduces CO2 emissions by roughly 25 per cent or 17,200 tons versus conventional power generation.

Audi also procures most of the heat it needs from two, predominantly gas-fired heating plants. Ingolstadts waste utilization plant began supplying waste heat to the Audi plant at the start of 2004.

In 2008, Audi procured approximately 90,300 MWh of district heat from this source, saving the emission of 17,878 tons of CO2 at the site. An additional increase to 200,000 MWh is planned, which would enable Audi to meet a large portion of its total demand of 410,000 MWh per year with waste heat. This would enable the Audi plant in Ingolstadt to significantly reduce the amount of heat generated in its gas boilers and thus save up to 45,000 tons of CO2 each year.


Audi is making nearly 50,000 square meters of roof space at its Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites available to a solar energy investor under the proviso that a variety of different, modern and innovative photovoltaic modules are used.

A particular aim is to promote thinfilm technology, whose production is much less energy-intensive than the production of conventional photovoltaic modules with monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells.

Heat recovery

Heat recovery is a central element of the HVAC systems. Several hundred heat recovery systems are in operation in the grounds of the Ingolstadt plant. One particularly effective type of heat recovery system is the thermal wheel. The use of 19 heat recovery systems at the Audi paint shop extracts approximately 35,000 MWh per year, or the annual heating requirement of roughly 3,270 single-family homes. Expressed as CO2 this corresponds to an annual emissions savings of around 7,000 tons.

Efficient joining processes

Audi uses innovative and efficient joining processes to assemble bodies, including spot welding, laser welding and adhesive bonding. The respective welding technology is matched to the individual joining process so that the most efficient solution for the respective process can be selected.

Electric motor-driven welding tongs have gradually replaced the pneumatic welding tongs in recent years. Energy consumption and thus CO2 emissions are reduced by roughly 50 percent compared to pneumatic welding tongs used the exact same way. Based on the positive experience gleaned with the advanced technology, it will now be considered for all new projects at the Audi Group.

The Audi brand exceeded the milestone 100,000 sales mark in the UK in 2007 and 2008. Globally, the brand exceeded 1 million deliveries for the first time in its history in 2008. With its programmes for both road and race cars the brand continues to maintain its upward trajectory. On the road it has extended its reach into important new segments with new models such as the A5 Sportback, the Q5, the TT RS and the R8 5.2 FSI quattro, and in the near future will break further new ground with the A1 compact hatchback and the Q3 compact SUV. On the race circuit Audi Sport has contested the Le Mans 24-hour marathon eleven times since 1999, achieving a podium finish on all of these occasions and outright victory a total of 8 times.

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