INGOLSTADT - Audi AG is setting new standards in logistics: The carmaker is using trains powered by green electricity to transport its cars from Ingolstadt to the North Sea loading port of Emden, making it the first company in Germany to use green electricity in this way. This innovative logistics concept is a trailblazing step for the car industry and an important element of Audi's strategy of ensuring that production is sustainable in all areas.
"CO2-free rail transport is an important element of our environmental efforts and is of great interest to us," says Ernst-Hermann Krog, Head of Audi Brand Logistics. Beginning August 1, 2010, the carmaker is operating its transport trains on the Ingolstadt - Emden route with electricity from renewable energy sources. This allows Audi to eliminate the emission of around 5,250 tons of CO2 per year, more than 35 kilograms (77 lb) per car transported. The line to the North Sea loading port, the hub for overseas exports, is the brand's most important transport route. Three trains loaded with Audi models travel this route each day and carry roughly 150,000 cars a year.
The CO2-free rail freight transport concept Eco Plus is a new offer from DB Schenker, the logistics area of German railway operator Deutsche Bahn. For transport within the domestic rail network, the energy required is replaced entirely by renewable energy from Germany. The electricity is bought in additionally by Deutsche Bahn, meaning that emissions are avoided right from the start. Eco Plus from DB Schenker and the energy supply are approved by TÜV SÜD.
The additional costs incurred compared to conventional electricity are borne by Audi; DB Schenker uses a portion of these for targeted projects in the field of renewable energies. Green electricity only comprises around 18.5 percent of the German rail electricity mix, with conventional energy sources in the form of coal-fired, nuclear and natural gas-fired power plants currently dominating. The green electricity required for transport is an additional component fed into the grid for Eco Plus from DB Schenker, thus the share of green electricity in Germany will increase.
Audi is the trailblazer in the car industry when it comes to the use of green electricity in rail freight. The premium manufacturer is working with DB Schenker as an early adopter and development partner. "The switch to CO2-free transport underscores our progressive character and sustainable mindset," adds Ernst-Hermann Krog.
Originally posted on Green Fleet Magazine