Future Mobility Day 2018
The mobility of the future is being created by consistent research and strategic development. The SEDRIC autonomous concept car, self-driving transport units for goods deliveries, learning assistance systems, augmented-reality technology for enhanced safety in road traffic, 3D printing procedures, the transformation of engine heat into electricity, vehicle sensors to measure air quality and innovative methods for developing batteries for electric vehicles are among the projects that Volkswagen Group Research is presenting at the Mobility Day 2018 and which will define mobile life in the future.
Volkswagen Group Research is defining the trajectory for innovations that will exert a defining influence on the mobility experience of tomorrow. It carries out fundamental scientific research work, identifies relevant trends and acts as an incubator and driver of ideas for the entire company. “Our central function is to drive forward innovations with the objective of offering our customers throughout the world products and services with outstanding technology,” commented Axel Heinrich, Head of Volkswagen Group Research. … more
The Volkswagen test site at Ehra-Lessien
The story of mobility and dynamism can be told at several different places in the world. But nowhere else is the connection between production site and city so closely linked as in Wolfsburg. Nowhere other than the city in Lower Saxony are mobility, independence, freedom and rising affluence as all-embracing. The four smokestacks of the cogeneration power station at the Volkswagen Group are visible from afar and they are a landmark of this city.
The Volkswagen test circuit is located nearby at Ehra-Lessien and this too is inseparably linked with the concepts of mobility and dynamism. The test site was officially opened on 19 September 1968 and this year the circuit celebrates its 50th anniversary. The site is flat and wooded and it is located around 25 kilometres north of Wolfsburg. The area measures roughly ten kilometres long and one kilometre wide. This facility is regarded as the biggest test centre for motor vehicles in the world and it is used for all Group brands. The roadway system is about 100 kilometres long. This includes a 21-kilometre fast road with a straight section more than eight kilometres long and overbanked turns at the north and south ends with a radius of 380 metres, so that vehicles can drive at up to 200 km/h without experiencing any lateral forces. When the carriageway is dry, speeds of up to 300 km/h are possible.
Different types of road are available for a wide range of different tests. The uphill and downhill gradients are from five to 32 percent. Other sections have been designed as zigzag roads with hairpin bends similar to roads over Alpine passes. The vehicles can be tested on lots of different surfaces. Uneven tarmac roads, cobblestones and bumpy sections, potholes, bends with different radiuses, covered mud and salt-water thoroughfares, and a climbing hill and a steering test field with a particularly tight bend radius. The 25-hectare, trapezoid dynamic performance area in the southern half of the site is covered in asphalt with no joints. A wide range of different driving situations and new electronic driving assistants can be tested here. Some 1000 employees drive around 34 million kilometres on the Ehra test site every year.
All significant models from the Volkswagen Group have undertaken their first journeys here over the past five decades. And there has been a steady string of new records here. In 1973, racing driver Huschke von Hanstein set up the speed record in the relevant displacement class with a Porsche 914/4 and a Porsche Carrera RS. In 1985, an average speed of 208 km/h and a new 24-hour world record was established here with the VW Polo G40. In 2005 and 2010, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 achieved new speed records for series vehicles: 431 km/h in 2010. In 2013, the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse became the fastest road-legal roadster. In August 2017, the former Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya went on the ultimate shortest ever journey in a Bugatti Chiron lasting 41.96 seconds in which the vehicle accelerated from 0 to 400 km/h and then braked to a standstill.
Today, the Volkswagen Group is the biggest automobile manufacturer in the world – with more than 10.7 deliveries in 2017 and a global market share of 12.1 percent. In Western Europe, 22 percent of all new passenger cars come from the Volkswagen Group. The Group has 120 production facilities in more than 20 European countries and in 11 countries in North and South America, Asia and Africa. More than 642,000 employees around the world produce an average of 44,170 vehicles on each working day. These are marketed in 153 countries.
The Group has twelve brands from seven European countries: Volkswagen passenger cars, Audi, SEAT, SKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen commercial vehicles, Scania and MAN. Each brand has a unique character and operates independently in the marketplace. The range covers motorcycles, through compact cars to vehicles in the luxury class. The product range for utility vehicles starts with pick-up trucks and extends to buses and heavy-duty trucks.