The Volkswagen Group has pledged to meet the European Commission’s (EC) target of 95g/km average CO2 emissions among its European market offerings by 2020.
The target was announced by the EC in 2012, and the Volkswagen Group is the first carmaker to commit to meeting this figure.
The target figure equates to less than 4.0l/100km on the European cycle, and will be based on an average of all Volkswagen Group European market new vehicles.
“This is a herculean task, and calls for the best efforts of all our 40,000 developers. We can do it,” Volkswagen Group boss Martin Winterkorn said.
“Now is the time to initiate innovations so that efficient technologies and alternative powertrains can be widely used faster."
"I am convinced this is in the best interests of customers, the environment and Europe as an industrial location.”
The announcement was made ahead of the Geneva Motor show this week, and follows the ecological restructuring of the group’s operations announced in Geneva last year.
According to Dr Winterkorn, this restructuring is “proceeding to schedule”, and is part of the Volkswagen Group’s goal of becoming the world’s most environmentally sustainable automaker by 2018.
Dr Winterkorn also expressed his confidence at achieving the group’s in-house target of 120g/km by 2015 for its European new vehicle fleet - some 10g/km beneath the EC’s 2015 target.
Volkswagen’s existing European lineup includes 245 models that produce below 120g/km on the European cycle, 36 of which produce less than 100g/km.
European models that already meet the 2020 95g/km target figure include the manual Volkswagen Up in 44kW guise with the optional Bluemotion kit (95g/km) and the CNG-fuelled Up Eco at 79g/km on the European cycle.
At the other end of the scale, the also-Volkswagen Group Bugatti Veyron produces 596g/km from its 8.0 litre quad-turbocharged W16 engine, though its production run is likely to have ended by Volkswagen’s 2015 initial target.
Volkswagen’s new Geneva-unveiled XL1 plug-in hybrid (pictured top of article) emits just 21g/km, and gives a strong hint at how Volkswagen will achieve a 95g/km average figure.
“The technologies used in the XL1 find their way into our series vehicles. That applies in particular to plug-in hybrid technology, which we are systematically pursuing,” Dr Winterkorn added.
Reports this week suggest that the first expansion of XL1 technology will be with a version of the Up city car with the XL1’s drivetrain within the next two years.