VW launched its Think Blue initiative in the U.S. last May with the idea to "encourage eco-friendly mobility and progressive ideas for responsible action in everyday life." The new Think Blue tour will hit 15 cities between now and the end of the year, bringing a semi truck full of information on VW's fuel-efficient vehicles to towns across the U.S., as well examples of vehicles like the 2013 Jetta Hybrid, E-Golf prototype and Passat TDI.
Aside from the E-Golf that is part of the tour, 20 units will be tested in Detroit, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. starting in April and continuing for nine months. The project, like so many EV test programs before it, is intended to collect data and to "monitor the effect of climate conditions, driving patterns, and energy performance." Remember, despite VW's claims that it is not behind the competition, some automakers *cough*Nissan*cough* have thousands of pure EVs in customer hands already. The all-electric Golf is scheduled to arrive in late 2013.
- Sustainable mobility tour to bring interactive experiences and innovative technologies to communities across the country
Herndon, VA - During an event at its Electronic Research Laboratory today, Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced the Think Blue® Tour, an interactive mobile display and activity center created to educate consumers about ecological sustainability and fuel-efficient technologies. The 15-stop tour will set the principles of Think Blue-Volkswagen's holistic approach to environmental sustainability-in motion as it travels throughout the United States from March through December 2012.
"This tour is a great way to demonstrate our Think Blue philosophy, which is at the heart of the Volkswagen brand," said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "We are incredibly excited to offer consumers a unique experience that not only showcases Volkswagen's fuel-efficient product range and manufacturing, but also engages them in fun games and activities that reinforce individual action and eco-friendly behavior."
The tour will be driven by a high-efficiency cab and 53-foot trailer decorated with vibrant Think Blue imagery, which will serve as the backdrop for each event. At each stop, Volkswagen will display a range of fuel-efficient vehicles, including the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid, E-Golf prototype and Passat TDI® Clean Diesel, among others.
In addition, consumers will have a chance to get involved by entering contests and participating in games and other activities that reward sustainable behavior. Interactive exhibits range from a Think Blue info-kiosk to a pedal-powered smoothie blender, as well as take home giveaways.
Volkswagen product and technology specialists will be on hand at each event to guide visitors through the exhibit and discuss the wide range of current and future fuel-efficient powertrain options, as well as the Think Blue initiatives that Volkswagen and its partners have created in recent years. They will also share information regarding the energy-efficient processes and technologies at work in Volkswagen's Platinum LEED® Certified manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Tour stops include locations that best represent different aspects of the Volkswagen Think Blue philosophy, from major environmental summits and public policy conferences to cycling competitions and outdoor music festivals. The display is completely scalable, and can range from a fully interactive outdoor experience to a smaller booth that showcases Think Blue products and technologies at an indoor trade show.
The current tour schedule spans more than 12 cities in ten states from coast to coast, with additional stops likely to be added in the coming weeks. The first three tour events will take place on the West Coast in April-May, including:
April 19-22, Monterey, Calif. – Sea Otter Classic Bike Race
April 29, Denver, CO – Cherry Creek Sneak (Running Race)
May 6-9, Los Angeles, Calif. – Electric Vehicle Symposium
About Think Blue®
Think Blue embodies Volkswagen's goal of creating environmentally friendly products and solutions, encouraging more eco-conscious behavior and contributing to a sustainable future. It is about being more responsible on the road and more environmentally conscious-not just in our cars, but everywhere, every day.
By focusing on designing and producing cars that are both environmentally sound and a pleasure to drive, Think Blue is driving progress. These truly are cars without compromise.
About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, CC, Eos, Golf, Golf R, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers.
VOLKSWAGEN LAUNCHES E-GOLF TEST FLEET IN THE U.S.
Nine-month pilot scheme evaluates prototype electric Golf models in three key markets as part of BEV research program
Herndon, VA - Volkswagen of America today announced that it will begin a pilot scheme to test 20 prototype E-Golf Battery Electric Vehicles over a nine-month period in select locations in the U.S. Twelve of these vehicles will be allocated to selected Volkswagen employees during the time period. By studying E-Golf use across multiple geographical regions, Volkswagen will monitor the effect of climate conditions, driving patterns, and energy performance; the data and insights gained during the scheme will be used in the final development of future EV technology applications.
The E-Golf pilot program will take place in the Detroit Metro, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. markets, beginning in April.
In addition to testing the vehicle itself, users will also test specific services designed for the E-Golf. For example, 220-volt charging stations will be installed at the employees' homes to charge the vehicles. Each E-Golf will be delivered with an iPhone® and a dedicated app, allowing the user to check the battery's charging status, regulate the car's internal temperature, gauge how much charging time is left, or even remotely start the charging procedure. Finally, Volkswagen has set up a web portal dedicated to the fleet test to support the users 24/7 in case of specific questions and in order to allow users to share their feedback on the E-Golf.
"As a part of our Think Blue strategy, the Volkswagen brand has shown an undeniable commitment towards investing in technologies that will help improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions," said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "This E-Golf test fleet will provide critical feedback on these vehicles that will prove essential in our sustainability efforts and in the drive towards electric mobility."
"During this test we will examine in detail all the technical and administrative aspects of typical consumers using electric vehicles on an everyday basis," said Dr Rudolf Krebs, Executive Vice president and Head of Volkswagen Group E-Traction. "For a successful market launch of electric vehicles, the way that home chargers are handled is very important, along with easy access to public charging infrastructure. For the U.S., we also have to recognize the specific legal regulations as well as the different characteristics of the electricity supply: both the reduced 110-volt mains supply and the type of charging plugs."
About the E-Golf
The E-Golf looks just like a four-door Golf, with seating for five people. It is driven by an electric motor that delivers a strong 199 pound-feet of torque: power for the electric motor comes from a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 26.5 kilowatt-hours. The battery itself consists of 180 cells. The E-Golf has an estimated driving range of 93 miles; however, the specific range will depend on driving style and factors such as the use of air conditioning and heating. The vehicle has a number of features that help ensure energy is preserved while driving: the vehicle can coast whenever the driver releases the accelerator pedal; there are three driving modes; and there are three settings for regenerative braking, where kinetic energy is recaptured into the battery. Charging is accomplished via a plug connector behind the gas cap on the right rear fender.
About Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, Eos, Golf, Golf R, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen of America online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.