Volkswagen advert banned for its depiction of gender stereotypes

VW eGolf ad banned over stereotypes

A new Volkswagen advert has been criticised and banned for presenting stereotypes “in a way that was likely to cause harm”, under new UK gender stereotyping rules.

The advert for the e-Golf featured men doing ‘manly’ and ‘exciting’ activities such as camping on a cliff face, exploring a spaceship and performing athletics. The copy over the footage reads “When we learn to adapt… we can achieve anything”.

By contrast, the woman in the ad was sitting on a bench next to a pram.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) criticised the advert for suggesting that stereotypical roles associated with both men and women were depicted as being exclusive to those genders. Three people complained about the ad, highlighting the ad’s exclusive-to-gender depiction of stereotypes. The ASA claimed that viewers focused on the main activity of the characters. Intentionally or not, they were stereotypically schewed with the direct gender contrast obvious to see.

VW eGolf ad banned

“[The ad] directly contrasted stereotypical male and female roles and characteristics in a manner that gave the impression that they were exclusively associated with one gender.”

Volkswagen UK claimed that the ad didn’t suggest a sole association between childcare and women. It actually claimed that the calm demeanor of the woman bucked stereotypical depictions of stressed and overwhelmed mothers exhibited elsewhere in advertising and the media. It claimed that the theme of the ad was humans’ ability to overcome challenges by adapting to change.

“Ads that specifically contrast male and female stereotypes need to be handled with care,” investigations manager at the ASA Jess Tye told the BBC.

“It’s about thinking about what the cumulative effect of those gender stereotypes might be.”

VW eGolf ad banned

The new gender stereotyping rules for advertising were ratified in December last year. The intention is not necessarily to ban the depiction of certain stereotypes. Rather, it’s to discourage the necessary association of stereotypes with a specific gender. The rules apply to advertising on all formats, from television and magazines, to the internet and social media.

“Harmful gender stereotypes have no place in UK advertisements,” said Shahriar Coupal, director of the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) which sets the rules enforced by the ASA.

“Nearly all advertisers know this, but for those that don’t, our new rule calls time on stereotypes that hold back people and society.”

California dreaming: Volkswagen bus updated with new tech

Volkswagen California update 2019

Volkswagen has updated its California camper for 2019. There’s a freshened face, living area upgrade, more safety tech and electric power steering.

Here’s what you need to know about the new bus.

Getting a grilling

On the outside, the new California gains Volkswagen’s corporate nose. There’s a large grille spanning the area between the angular headlights, plus a larger vent beneath.

Other than that, it’s business as usual. What matters most with a camper is what’s inside, after all.

Changing rooms

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New alloy handles on all cupboard doors join push-button opening for the sink, cooker and fridge. There are sliding doors in place of shutters for the rear cupboard and wood grain trim.

There are also new beds with a sprung base for better comfort. A ‘sunrise function’ uses individually selectable LEDs in the roof to slowly raise the brightness around wake-up time.

Digital revolution

Volkswagen California update 2019

This and many other functions can now be controlled by the new full-colour touchscreen instrument panel. Menu items include Camping, Cool Box, Light and Set-Up. 

The hydraulically deployable roof can be set on its way via the Pop-Up Roof menu, while there’s also a Level function, which acts as a spirit level for the bus. That should help when deciding where to park your California for a secure and comfortable night’s sleep.

The new overhead control panel joins upgraded infotainment, which comes with greater smartphone integration and connectivity – including the now-familiar VW Active Info Display as an option. Buyers can choose from 6.5-, 8- and 9.2-inch screens.

Turning electric

Volkswagen California update 2019

The new California switches from hydraulic to electric power steering. This allows for the integration of Lane Assist, Park Assist and Trailer Assist semi-autonomous driving functions.

The most innovative new feature is probably Cross Wind Assist, which helps stabilise the van when there are strong side winds.

Volksawgen Beetle

How Volkswagen tried and failed to replace the Beetle

Volksawgen Beetle

Too much success can stunt the mind. That can apply to the collective mind of a company just as easily as it can a music artist struggling with that difficult second album.

And back in the late ‘60s, Volkswagen was having exactly this kind of problem with its Beetle.

Volksawgen Beetle

Not that this famous car was anywhere near reaching its popularity peak in 1967, when a 30% sales slump in its native Germany prompted VW’s management to take the challenge of replacing it a whole lot more seriously.

Although it hadn’t been ignoring the task entirely. During that same year VW revealed a whole heap of prototypes to a press becoming increasingly critical at the absence of a Beetle replacement. In fact, VW had developed no less than 70 potential successors since 1952, but none had made production and all shared the same basic rear-engine layout.

Some had been under development for as long as five years before being abandoned, others were simply styling mock-ups. And what they all pointed to, apart from the waste of millions of pounds-worth of r&d money, was the lack of a solid idea for replacing a car that by 1967, had been in quantity production for 22 years, having started life before WW2.

Hitler’s people carrier

Great Motoring Disaster VW Beetle replacement

The ‘Strength-through-Joy’ KdF-wagen was commissioned by one Adolf Hitler from Ferdinand Porsche, the Fuhrer keen for the KdF-wagen to become the affordable car of the people. And it actually became that very thing, though not entirely in the way Hitler had envisaged.

A few were produced before and during the conflict, the war-damaged Wolfsburg plant restarted in 1945 by British Army officer and engineer Major Ivan Hirst. In 1948 he handed over the running of the plant to Heinz Nordhoff, an inspirational ex-Opel manager who expanded production and successfully established excellent sales and service networks for VW overseas, most notably the US where for well over a decade, the Beetle became part of the fabric of North American life.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

In fact, it was not the only car that Wolfsburg was making. Volkswagen Type 1, as the Beetle was officially known, was joined by Volkswagen Type 2 (pictured above) in 1949, this the almost equally famous Transporter van and its Kombi brother.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

And in 1961 came the Volkswagen 1500 saloon (pictured above). It was still rear-engined and air-cooled, like a Beetle, still a two-door and still largely uninterested in ploughing a straight line on a breezy day. Despite this the 1500 did well, the Fastback and Variant estate versions helping it to sales of over three million between 1961-73.

The Beetle replacement, take one…

Great Motoring Disaster VW Beetle replacement

But the 1500  wasn’t a replacement for the Beetle. Another prototype came close to doing the job in 1960, when project EA97 got to the point where the production machinery to build it was being installed, and the first 100 pilot-build cars had been assembled.

A rear-engined two-door saloon, it was powered by an 1100cc engine and would have competed with the Hillman Imp, Renault 8, Simca 1000, NSU Prinz and Fiat 850, several of these big sellers.

But as author Russell Hayes’ excellent book ‘The Volkswagen Golf Story’ explains, EA97 was reckoned to be too close to the 1500 saloon – they looked pretty similar, besides – and now that VW had bought the Auto Union company, acquiring the Audi 60 saloon in the process, it suddenly had another in-house competitor.

So EA97 was cancelled at the last minute, losing VW yet more millions. But it was making so much money from the Beetle that this mattered a lot less than it would have done for other car companies.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

Its next attempt came in the gruesome shape of the 1968 Volkswagen 411, another air-cooled rear-engined car, this time with four doors. Its styling was as tortured as the VW management’s efforts to solve their new Beetle problem, this ugly beast living four short years and selling only 266,000 copies in the process.

By now mild desperation was setting in, Nordhoff’s replacement Kurt Lotz arriving to a largely empty new model cupboard, 411 apart, making him particularly eager for some quick-fix solutions.

Making slow progress

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

One of those came with Volkswagen’s acquisition of NSU, makers of the little Prinz and the radical rotary-engined Ro80 executive saloon. Sitting between these two was a yet-to-be launched modern, front-wheel drive saloon. Crisply styled and glassy, it was a vast improvement on the 411, if far from as gaze-freezingly handsome as the futuristic Ro80, whose design legacy can still be seen in the Audi saloons of today.

Nevertheless, an eager Volkswagen took this NSU design over, relabelled it the VW K70 (pictured above) and optimistically built a new factory capable of making it at the rate of 500 per day.

But like many hastily conceived plans in the motor industry, the K70 soon hit problems. It was expensive to build, sharing almost no parts with other cars in the group, expensive to buy for the same reason and rust-prone. That slowed, sales, as did VW’s activities within other parts of its empire.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

When it bought Audi in the mid ‘60s it was simply to get its hands on another factory in which to build Beetles, because it couldn’t keep up with demand. Audi’s small 60 saloon (pictured above) continued to be made, but product development director Ludwig Kraus was instructed to halt new model development.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

Instead he disobeyed, developing a new saloon in secret. It was eventually revealed to VW’s management, who got over their shock and annoyance to approve what became the 1969 Audi 100, pictured above. That car was a big hit, and would eventually keep a money-losing VW afloat, but in the meantime it seriously undermined the appeal of the less than stylish K70 that came a year later, giving VW yet another failure.

Replacing the Beetle bugs VW

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

If the K70 was a piece of misfiring opportunism, the EA266 prototype (pictured above) was the company’s main attempt to properly replace the Beetle. In fact, it was developed mostly by Porsche, whose engineers produced a hatchback with a water-cooled four cylinder that lay flat beneath the rear seats, to drive a gearbox and differential behind it.

In effect, this was a mid-engined hatchback, and development again advanced to the point of tooling being ordered. But despite its sporty mid-engined layout and Porsche parentage, EA266 apparently had handling issues, besides continuously perfuming its cabin with oily engine vapours via an access panel beneath a rear seat that was expected to get progressively grubbier as mechanics removed it to service the engine.

Nevertheless, EA266 was part of a major management review of VW’s new model plans in May 1969, along with a new front-wheel drive hatchback from Audi, its four-cylinder engine mounted longitudinally, and a similar prototype from VW itself whose front wheels were propelled by a Beetle engine.

Great Motoring Disaster VW Beetle replacement

It was this car, codenamed EA235, that would eventually lead to the VW Golf that became the Beetle’s real successor. A variation of it, codenamed EA276 (pictured above), can be found in Volkswagen’s museum.

At last: enter the VW Golf!

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

Neither prototype was a beauty, but one of VW boss Lotz’s best decisions during his brief and troubled career at the helm was to instruct Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign to style the car that would become the Golf, pictured in launch guise above.

It would be released in 1974, at the end of seven troubled years that had produced one of the ugliest family cars of the ‘60s in the 411, had proved the riskiness of opportunism with the K70 and ultimately, threatened the very existence of VW itself.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

And that’s without including all the abandoned prototypes built between 1952 and 1967, VW beginning its long and painful quest for a successor when the post-war Beetle was only seven years old.

But the lesson was learnt – many of us can count our lives out in Golfs, VW now building the seventh version of this car since 1974. And this multi-brand group is a long way from being dependent on only one model, the mighty Golf one of a number of big sellers.

Past master: the Beetle returns

Concept One

There is a footnote here. For decades, the original Beetle was moribund. It was still produced in South America for an increasingly diminishing market, but eventually faded away for good in 2003.

Then came the craze for nostalgia, one arguably accelerated by Volkswagen, which showed a ‘modern’ concept version of the original Beetle in 1994, called Concept One. The world swooned. Production for the Californian-designed concept was approved.

1998: the Volkswagen Beetle is back

New Beeetle

The New Beetle was introduced in 1998. Ironically, it was based on the platform of the car that sealed its fate back in the 70s, the Volkswagen Golf, but this did ensure it drove well.

Built in Mexico, it was shamelessly retro, taking the original cues of the Beetle and exaggerating them with cartoon-like emphasis: the separate wings, round headlamps and tail lamps, rounded roofline and chunky running boards.

New Beetle cuts a dash

New Beeetle

The interior was retro-inspired too. This meant packaging was dreadful, with a tiny boot and cramped, rear seats, but few at the time seemed to mind, because it was so bold. It even came with a vase on the dashboard.

New Beeetle

Yes, a vase.

2011: New Beetle take two

New Beeetle

Sales clearly convinced Volkswagen it was worth replacing. An all-new car arrived in 2011, with more of a fastback profile to the roofline and a more sophisticated, more practical interior – but still clearly a Beetle.

As with the original New Beetle, this second retro recreation also came in convertible guise, and was later offered with a tiny 1.2-litre petrol engine – the smallest since the original model ceased production. Luckily, it was turbocharged, so wasn’t quite as lethargic as the 1960s models…

Today: the Beetle’s second coming comes to an end

New Beeetle

But sales of this second remake never quite took off. And, like the original, soon started to go the wrong way. It seemed the world had moved on: a retro Beetle was nice as a passing fad, but didn’t seem to have staying power.

Rumours had thus circulated for years that this model would be the final Beetle – its second coming would come to an end. On September 13 2018, it was confirmed.

This week, the final Beetle was once again produced, 21 years after it returned from the great scrapyard in the sky. The last models off the line are going to VW’s ever-expanding heritage collection, presumably to sit alongside the previous final Beetle.

Goodbye again, then Volkswagen Beetle. It’s been an interesting ride, for sure…

The Volkswagen Beetle is dead (again)

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

Volkswagen has officially ended production of the Beetle in Mexico – again. The original Type 1 Beetle survived there until 2003 and now the third-generation car (successor to the ‘New Beetle’) is no more.

Production of the third-gen Beetle was short compared with the Type 1, which was made (on and off) for more than five decades. Indeed, its roots go back to designs first conceived in the 1920s.

In all, more than 21 million Type 1 Beetles were built.

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

The outgoing car, meanwhile, ends production just eight years after its 2011 debut. Half a million have been made in that time.

The Volkswagen de Mexico production line will now gear up for a small, sub-Tiguan SUV. 

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

“It’s impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle,” said Scott Keogh, president of Volkswagen Group of America.

“From its first import in 1949 to today’s retro-inspired design, it has showcased our company’s ability to fit round pegs into square holes of the automotive industry. While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished.”

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

The second-generation New Beetle was a bit more of a success. The Mexican plant built 1.2 million examples of that car between 1998 and 2010.

It was something of a pioneer at the time, introducing the idea of a modernised retro design. It also came with a flower vase on the dashboard.

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

The Beetle has been around for near-on 75 years. And if you count the KdF-Wagens of the Nazi era, that’s over 85 years.

Regardless of what we think of the Beetle, a couple of things are certain: it was the original people’s car, and it will be remembered.

Exclusive: VW Motorsport boss talks ID.R and how it relates to road cars

Volkswagen ID.RThis weekend at Goodwood Festival of Speed, the electric Volkswagen ID.R smashed a McLaren Formula 1 car’s 20-year-old hillclimb record, twice. All after less than two years of development.

For engineers like VW Motorsport director Sven Smeets, EVs are a new and near-unexplored frontier.

We caught up with him at Goodwood to talk ID.R, developing electric power and how this radical racer relates to what we’ll be driving in years to come.

The Goodwood hillclimb record

Just so we’re clear on the ID.R’s performance, that previous record was 41.6 seconds, set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld driving a McLaren MP4/13. The McLaren was fully prepared for the run, with custom gearing and tyre warmers keeping its rubber toasty for the start.

The ID.R, driven by Romain Dumas, posted a 41.1sec on Friday, a 39.9sec on Saturday and then a 42.3 during Sunday’s official shootout… in the wet.

Last year, the first variant of the ID.R took the Pikes Peak hillclimb record, and it’s since become the second fastest car around the Nurburgring. Let’s learn more from Sven Smeets…Sven Smeets

What were the biggest leaps forward with ID.R?

“If we went back to Pikes Peak, the car would be completely different. The battery could have serious weight reduction – and I’m not talking about 5kg – versus what we have now. Of course, the less weight we have, the less drag on the battery. Everything else follows.

“We already have some idea of how we would get more power. There are plenty of ‘next time’ ideas. If we went back now to the beginning, the car would look completely different.”

What have you learned from running at Goodwood?

“We have much fewer cells here, but we’re still asking for serious performance. We’ve learned about the balance between performance extraction and heat management. It’s interesting, how you regulate to optimise. You look after the battery like it’s your baby.”Volkswagen ID.R

Your thoughts on the ID.R’s record run?

“We were a little bit taken by surprise, to be honest. I spoke to Romain when we were testing and he was not super-optimistic. Because rain was forecast for Sunday, we had Friday and Saturday to give it a go.

“Of course, the record was our target, but we wanted to build up to it. Romain had a bad start, and a bad first corner because he was distracted by the start. Yet he still got 41 seconds. 

Will there be another ID.R?

“We have some ideas for the future, which we will be discussing with marketing and the board from August through September. Hopefully some of them will be taken up, including some that go in different directions from records and hillclimbs like this.

“Things that were not possible in 2017, we can do now. In 2016, the Nurburgring lap wouldn’t have been achieved.”

Romain DumasHow does the ID.R relate to road cars?

“On a certain level, we are interacting with the team behind the ID road cars. There is big work behind the scenes so that by 2022 there will be something properly presented. Many things are asked of us.

“We have a one-to-one connection with the performance people who build Volkswagen ‘R’ cars today. They will get our first electric test car. In terms of what we do, it’s very interesting for them to see what happens.” 

Volkswagen ID R claims electric Nurburgring lap record

Volkswagen ID R Nurburgring record

The all-electric Nurburgring lap record has been smashed by the Volkswagen ID R racer. The hillclimb champ, with Pikes Peak and Goodwood already under its belt, set its sights on the notorious Nordschleife, posting a time of 6min 5.3sec.

The new car is a very different beast to the one that dominated Pikes Peak and Goodwood. The Nurburgring circuit features many straights, with the main one longer than the entire Goodwood hillclimb, and these demand a high top speed. So VW had to reduce drag, which also resulted in a loss of downforce.

Enter an F1-style Drag Reduction System (DRS), good for making the car 20 percent slipperier when the going gets straight and fast(er)

Batteries are easily drained, however, so the ID R’s VMAX is ‘only’ around 155mph. It could be much more, but even with the 20 percent battery boost from KERS, the full 12.9-mile lap necessitates tactical power conservation.

Volswagen ID R: how quick is quick?

For the avoidance of doubt, the time is a full 40 seconds quicker than the previous electric record-holder, the NIO EP9. The EP9 is a road car, though, so a better benchmark ought to be the legendary Stefan Bellof lap in the Porsche 956, which the ID R beats by six seconds.

Until last year – when Porsche went record-hunting with the 919 Evo LMP1 car – Bellof held the lap record for 35 years.

The ID R team was aiming for a 6min 15sec lap, but given VW had two chassis to work with, and quick-charge times of 20 minutes, consistent lapping paid dividends. 

What’s next? Well, there’s the Festival of Speed at Goodwood coming up soon, at which the ID R came very close to the overall record last year. Maybe the ‘Ring spec car will be there to make it happen? We shall see…

What’s the point of all this?

Volkswagen ID R Nurburgring record

There’s no better arena to prove technology to be used in future road cars than the racetrack. The ID R is, in effect, the halo machine for VW’s new ID electric-only model line.

Advancements made in this car today will inform what we see in ID road cars tomorrow.

Volkswagen service plans cover ALL cars back to 1999

Volkswagen servicing

Volkswagen has introduced widespread changes to its service plans, which now cater for electric cars and models up to 20 years old. And the plan covers some of VW’s strangest and most exotic models

The changes should future-proof Volkswagen’s servicing protocol as electric cars become mainstream. It also acknowledges owners of modern classics that would otherwise become costly to maintain. We’ll get to the electric car service plan in a bit. First, those ‘unicorn’ cars…

Volkswagen servicing

These include both generations of the V6-engined Golf R32, the W8-engined Passat and the V10- and W12-engined versions of the Phaeton and Touareg.

Given the only limit to the service package is the car must be under 250,000 miles, even oddballs like the ultra-eco XL1 are presumably included.

This is a significant upgrade to the previous package, which allowed cars up to eight years old.

Volkswagen electric car servicing offer

Volkswagen servicing

Also new is the electric car servicing package. This is a big deal for the marque, given the difficulty of preparing dealer servicing departments for high-voltage maintenance.

According to VW, it’s ‘another signpost that mainstream electric vehicles from Volkswagen are not just imminent, but have already arrived’.

How do the service plans work?

Volkswagen servicing

The service plans include the mandatory two-year service on an electric vehicle and the yearly check-ups that follow.

At present owners can buy two services upfront and split the cost of a service plan into a monthly fee. The new plans mean you can pre-book up to four future check-ups at once.

“This series of updates to our service plan catalogue reflects the changing needs of drivers, as cutting-edge, zero-emission electric cars like the e-Golf are now included, as well as older vehicles up to 20 years old”, said Kevin Rendell of Volkswagen UK.

“It’s a real commitment to the satisfaction of Volkswagen owners, whether they are driving family workhorses or cherished modern classics. Offering the peace of mind and quality of care that a full dealer service provides on cars, which can now date back as early as 1999 shows that we value drivers of older vehicles.”

Why Volkswagen is already planning the second life for its electric car batteries

vw electric car batteries

The battery is one of the most expensive parts on an electric car, but what do you do with it when the vehicle reaches the end of its life? Volkswagen has the answer.

Doing nothing is not a solution, but Volkswagen will adopt a two-pronged strategy: re-use and recycle.

While an older lithium-ion battery that’s been in use for a decade may not be suitable for powering a vehicle, it could still have its uses. Amazingly, the battery pack in the 2019 e-Golf can store as much energy as a typical household consumes in one day.

Which is why Volkswagen intends to use the battery packs from its electric vehicles in a network of portable recharging stations. Designed to hold up to 360 kilowatt-hours of energy, these stations can charge up to four vehicles at a time.

And because they’re portable enough to be used in hard-to-charge locations, they can ‘pop-up’ at music festivals, public events and car shows. Clever stuff.

At some point, a battery will lose its ability to store energy, which is where Volkswagen’s component plant in Salzgitter, Germany, will be called into action. From next year, the facility will have the capacity to recycle approximately 1,200 tons of EV batteries every year – that’s around 3,000 vehicles.

The company wants to recycle 97 percent of the raw materials in the battery packs, up from the present 53 percent and more than the 72 percent expected at the Salzgitter plant.

Shredded batteries

electric car batteries shredded

A special shredder will separate the components into a black powder containing the valuable raw materials cobalt, lithium, manganese and nickel. Mining these materials is both bad for the environment and hugely expensive, so using them again is a win-win.

Such strategies are required to cope with the expected rise in demand for electric vehicles. Volkswagen expects to be building a million EVs by 2025, each one with an expected lifespan of 10 to 15 years.

Bill Plant Driving School is now exclusively Volkswagen

Bill Plant Driving School Volkswagen

Volkswagen has become the sole vehicle supplier for Bill Plant Driving School, with the national driver training firm using T-Roc and Golf models.

Bill Plant Driving School started using Golfs in early 2018, but the company’s fleet will be Volkswagen-only by the end of the year. The Bill Plant website states that its fleet currently includes the 1 Series, but the BMW’s days are numbered.

Deliveries of the T-Roc to the Bill Plant Driving School fleet began in March, and so far, hundreds of new cars have been delivered to instructors across the UK. Volkswagen expects to deliver more cars as the business opens more franchises using Golf or T-Roc models.

Bill Plant Driving School Volkswagen T-Roc

The T-Rocs will be delivered in 1.6 TDI SE specification and will feature a touchscreen sat-nav system, remote electrically foldable door mirrors with kerb view, front and rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control. Learner drivers can expect to pay £29.50 to receive tuition in Volkswagen’s small SUV.

The Golfs are also powered by a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine but are delivered in SE Match trim. The spec is largely the same, but learners pay £27.50 for manual gearbox tuition or £29.50 to learn to drive in an automatic. Obviously, both cars are dual-controlled.

‘A smash hit’

Michael O’Shea, Volkswagen UK’s head of fleet, said: “The Golf is Volkswagen’s most popular model and is a smash hit with UK customers, being the second best-selling car in the country, so it’s easy to see why learners can benefit from a Golf being their introduction to driving life.

“The T-Roc SUV, with its numerous safety features, elevated seating position and compact size, has the ideal combination of qualities to make learners feel at ease when venturing out on the road. Volkswagen prides itself on the safety of its cars, so it’s little wonder Bill Plant Driving School chose the Golf and T-Roc to create a whole new generation of Volkswagen fans.”

Bill Plant Driving School Volkswagen Golf

Tom Hixon, head of instructor support at Bill Plant Driving School commented: “We’ve received tremendously positive feedback from our driving instructors and pupils about the new Volkswagen Golf, and we also welcome the T-Roc to the Bill Plant Driving School fleet.

“Every week hundreds of pupils will have their first experience of driving with Bill Plant Driving School inside either a Volkswagen Golf or T-Roc. This is a tremendous partnership for Bill Plant Driving School as we continue to grow our business in 2019.”

Volkswagen electric cars produce less CO2 for life

Electric cars DO have a smaller carbon footprint overall, says Volkswagen

Volkswagen electric cars produce less CO2 for lifeVolkswagen has crunched the numbers to show electric cars produce lower CO2 emissions than petrol- or diesel-engined models, for the entire lifespan of the vehicle.

While it may be clear that an electric car produces no direct CO2 emissions when driving, Volkswagen has demonstrated the wider savings through use of a ‘certified life cycle assessment’ process.

The company has taken the all-electric e-Golf, and the traditional diesel-engined Golf TDI, to demonstrate just how substantial the differences can be over the whole life of a car.

Volkswagen electric cars produce less CO2 for lifeThe diesel Golf TDI produces 140g/km CO2 on average over its entire life cycle, while the electric e-Golf sees average emissions of 119g/km.

When in use, and being fuelled, the Golf TDI will produce average emissions of 111g/km, derived from the supply of diesel and the burning of it in the engine.

By comparison the e-Golf will average 62g/km across the use and charging stage of its life. Those emissions are the result of energy being generated from the power grid to recharge the e-Golf’s battery pack.

Swapping to an energy provider that only supplies power from renewable sources would see this drop to just 2g/km for the e-Golf.

Volkswagen electric cars produce less CO2 for lifeThe only time at which the diesel Golf results in a lower carbon footprint is during its initial stage of being built in a factory.

Due to the exotic metals and other elements included in the battery pack for the e-Golf, extracting these from the ground as raw materials results in higher CO2 emissions of 57g/km. In contrast, building the Golf TDI emits accounts for only 29g/km of CO2.

Volkswagen does note that battery technology is improving all the time, and that forthcoming ID electric cars will offer substantial reductions in overall CO2.

The company has also invested in a new pilot factory, which recycles batteries at the end of their lifecycle into new materials. Doing so could save a further 25% in carbon emissions, but will not become a widespread practice until the end of the next decade.