14 October 2008. Knoxville, TN.
Tennessee Governor's Summit on Clean-Energy Technology "Clean Jobs, Bright Future"
Thank you, Governor Bredesen. Thank you for that kind introduction — and for hosting this summit on clean-energy technology.
This important meeting is another example of your foresight and vision.
It is not the first time that Tennessee has taken the lead in using technology to improve and protect our environment.
Nearly 40 years ago, a freshman senator from your state — Howard Baker —played a key role in drafting the Clean Air Act.
He said then that technology can help solve our environmental problems.
We're here today because we know he was right. He still is.
Senator Baker, thank for your continued leadership at the Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee.
We're fortunate that this summit also has strong support from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory…..
From the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development…..
And, from the Tennessee Valley Authority.
They have all played a big role in making this a better and more economically vibrant state.
It is an honor to be the keynote speaker with so many distinguished participants.
As you can probably tell, I'm not from Tennessee.
I am learning about the state, and I've learned that sports are important here in Knoxville.
But, I still don't know the words to "Rocky Top."
And, I don't know much about football either, unless by "football," you mean soccer.
But I am a big fan of Tennessee.
Tennessee is truly America at its best in many ways.
In the past, brave men and women came to this beautiful region on America's frontier to seek a new life.
They faced the unknown with optimism.
They were confident in their ability to influence the future.
They literally blazed a new path to a better a world.
Today, Tennessee is on the frontier of technology.
Talented men and women are coming here to seek a better future for all of us…. in all parts of the world.
The modern version of this frontier spirit helps explain why Volkswagen picked Chattanooga.
We could have gone anywhere in the United States.
We had several attractive options.
But, we picked Tennessee because it felt right.
I always said that our decision would not just be about the site.
Ultimately, it was based on something intangible, something in our gut — or, even better, in our hearts.
I know that explanation might surprise you.
I am the CEO of a company known for stringent standards and precision engineering.
Modern CEOs are expected to be guided by metrics and hard data. Plus, I'm German!
But to be successful, you have to rely on your heart as well as your head.
You have to produce cars that are well engineered and technologically impressive — and fun to drive.
Our Volkswagens and Audis meet that test.
Our hearts and our heads told us that Tennessee was the place to be.
We share your focus on technology and the environment.
Government leadership, strong public-private partnerships and individual know-how are transforming Tennessee.
This state is a leading center for technology-based businesses.
We can learn from you, and we believe you can learn from us.
We think we fit right in.
Volkswagen pioneered the U.S. market back when the world's economy was still neatly divided by national borders.
We have been part of the American landscape for quite some time. The first Volkswagen arrived in 1949. The first Audi arrived in 1969.
Americans love their cars. That's good. It's even better when they love our cars.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press was flooded with responses when it recently asked Tennesseans to share their VW memories.
People wrote about memorable road trips. They recalled funny moments and shared touching stories.
A man named Steve, from Dayton, Tennessee, confirmed that a VW Beetle can run on three wheels.
Now, I don't advise that you try it. Not with any of our cars.
But Steve said it happened to him one day in 1967.
As he told the story, his father was driving Steve and some friends to football practice.
The dad had been working on the car earlier in the day and failed to secure the lug nuts that hold the wheel in place.
As they were driving along, one of the boys looked out the window. He noticed that the right front wheel was rolling along beside the car.
Not a good sign.
As the wheel went into a ditch, the father yelled, "Lean left! Lean left!"
The boys followed his instructions. It worked. They pulled over safely, put the tire back on and went to football practice.
I guess that's the Tennessee Vols spirit that I've heard about.
The interesting thing to me in all the VW memories was the number of people who admitted that they cried when they had to sell their cherished car.
At Volkswagen, we understand that emotion. We do not think it odd to look a car as if it were a person.
In fact, that is how we look at our cars when we consider our environmental responsibilities.
Our commitment to sustainable mobility covers the entire lifespan of a car, from the earliest stages of the manufacturing process to the vehicle's final trip to the salvage yard.
Our integrated approach ensures that environmental protection is accepted as a core management mission throughout our company.
As a carmaker, we feel a special obligation to deal with environmental challenges.
We know that our industry has contributed to some of the problems we face.
Fortunately, we now have the knowledge to do something about it.
We shouldn't run from challenges. We should face them head-on, confident that we can overcome them with knowledge, imagination and creativity.
Addressing environmental problems is not only the right thing to do.
It makes us a better company.
We have learned the lesson of this summit:
Dealing with environmental challenges encourages innovation.
It leads to technological breakthroughs.
It makes us more competitive.
It makes us a better employer.
It makes us a better neighbor.
We're determined to be a good neighbor at our new home in Tennessee.
The cars that will eventually roll off the production line in Chattanooga are now in what we could call the pre-natal stage of a vehicle's lifespan.
As we prepare for their arrival, we are working to make sure that our manufacturing processes contribute to our goal of sustainable mobility.
With the support from city and county governments, a wetland will be created near the entrance to our plant.
The park-like setting will help preserve the ecosystem and prevent flooding during major storms. Area streams will also be preserved.
The new production facility is designed to reduce energy consumption.
It will conserve resources.
And, it will limit environmental impacts at every step of the manufacturing process.
We'll use environmentally friendly refrigerants in the air conditioning system.
We will employ water-saving technology.
We will recycle whenever possible.
And, we will implement manufacturing processes that reduce emissions and hazardous waste.
And when waste is produced, we'll clean up after ourselves.
All of these measures will cut costs and make our new facility a better workplace for our employees.
By the way, we are not just taking these steps in Tennessee.
We're doing it in production facilities around the world.
Of course, the goal of our manufacturing process is to deliver a car that appeals to consumers.
And in today's market, that means delivering a car that is fuel efficient, stylish and fun to drive.
So let's look at a car in the middle phase of its lifespan — its service life.
By far the largest share of energy consumption in the lifespan of a car occurs during its service life.
This is the phase where you and other consumers have the greatest ability to force change.
The market responds to your desires, and we certainly see that happening today.
In some ways, the focus on environmentally friendly cars is back to the future for the Volkswagen Group.
We have always been at the forefront of fuel efficiency.
The VW Beetle changed the way Americans think about cars.
We pioneered direct injection diesel technology – the TDI clean diesel.
And, Audi introduced the first production model with hybrid drive more than a decade ago.
We are leaders in fuel-efficient and low-emission engine and transmission technologies.
Many factors influence fuel efficiency and vehicle emissions.
Aerodynamics….higher gearing…more sophisticated transmissions…direct injection… lower tire resistance …reduced vehicle body weight can improve efficiency and performance.
Our approach to body weight illustrates what I mean when say we look at the entire lifespan of the vehicle.
In developing the Volkswagen Passat B6, we carefully examined the environmental costs of using high- and ultra-high tensile steel.
The lighter weight steel requires more energy during the production process but reduces fuel consumption and improves vehicle safety.
We looked closely to determine whether the tradeoff was worth it in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.
In other words, we wanted to know whether the negatives during the production phase were greater than the positives during the car's service life.
Our calculations showed a net reduction of 174 kg of CO2 equivalent over the life of each Passat.
Not surprisingly, fuel efficiency is also related to the choice of fuel.
At Volkswagen, we are taking a long-term and a short-term approach to fuels.
Our goal is a carbon-neutral car, but we are not letting that long-term goal distract us from improvements we can make right now.
Before fossil fuels can be completely phased out, we have to make sure that we get maximum efficiency from gasoline and diesel engines.
Our Volkswagen BlueMotion series and Audi "e" badge models are setting new standards for fuel efficiency.
Our TDI direct-injection clean diesel engines are harnessing the remarkable potential of low-emission diesel.
Advanced engine technology, new exhaust controls and a dramatic reduction in the sulfur content of diesel have made diesel far more attractive to consumers.
Our Jetta TDI has been sold out since its introduction in August. Going forward, we will offer diesel in 30 percent of the cars that have a diesel option.
This includes the new mid-size sedan that we'll build in Chattanooga.
Our Touareg TDI, a next-generation SUV, is sure to be a hit when it is on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.
At this very moment, more than 180 drivers from around the world are experiencing the extraordinary efficiency of TDI in real-world conditions as part of the Audi Mileage Marathon.
The 15-day road started in New York and will end in Los Angeles on Oct. 20.
I know our friends at the Oak Ridge National Lab are very interested in clean diesel.
We see opportunities to work with them on additional improvements.
We're also working on alternative fuels, with the primary focus on second-generation biofuels.
These are fuels from straw and other biomass that do not serve as food sources and that can be produced in a carbon-neutral or nearly carbon-neutral process.
For diesel engines, we've develop the all-synthetic SunFuel, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 90 percent.
We're refining our hybrid vehicles.
We're perfecting a diesel hybrid that uses an electric motor as the main source of propulsion.
The batteries that power our Golf Twin Drive can be recharged in a ordinary electric socket.
Some car experts have called our prototype Golf Turbo-Diesel Hybrid a "super hybrid."
Its fuel efficiency and emissions levels beat anything on the market today.
Longer term, we're at the forefront of efforts to develop a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell car.
This summer, our HyMotion Tiguan traveled from Portland, Maine, to Los Angeles to demonstrate the potential of this fantastic fuel source.
We also sent a fleet of fuel cell cars to the Olympics in China, where they provided zero-emissions transport and served as escorts the woman's marathon race.
Those cars will also be in Los Angeles next month.
We also think about what happens to our cars when they finally go out of service.
The challenge in the final phase of a car's lifespan isn't energy use, it's efficient recycling and safe disposal.
The end takes us back to the beginning.
We know that everything we put into our cars during their production can ultimately impact the environment.
We use biodegradable hydraulic oils whenever possible.
We're researching carbon-fiber vehicles, which could include materials made from wood pulp and cellulose.
That is another shared interest with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
As you can see, we have a lot of ideas that we think will improve our environment and our bottom line.
Some of them will work. Some will not.
Other people will come up with better ideas. That is how innovation works. And that is the story of clean-energy technology.
We can have clean jobs and a bright future if we work together, here on the frontier of technology.
Volkswagen is committed to these goals.
We're here to stay. We're here to be a partner.
I may be new to Tennessee, but I am working on the words to that popular song I mentioned earlier:
"Ain't no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top."
Let's keep it that way.