Volkswagen: driving climate protection in freight logistics
In an announcement made by Volkswagen Group, the company reports its plan to further drive climate protection by using certified fuel from vegetable residue for certain new car shipments on marine routes.
Produced from materials such as used oil from restaurants and the food industry, the company re-fuelled for the first time with this oil in mid-November, a second ship is due to do the same at the beginning of 2021.
“We are the first automaker to make widespread use of this fuel. This way, we reuse waste oil in an environmentally compatible way. With 85 percent lower CO2 emissions than with conventional fossil fuels, the contribution to climate protection is enormous,” commented Thomas Zernechel, Head of Volkswagen Group Logistics.
For its European shipments, Volkswagen Group Logistics charters two vessels continuously. The vessels carry up to 3,500 vehicles from Emden via Dublin (Ireland), Santander (Spain) and Setubal (Portugal) back to Emden roughly 50 times a year. In total their journeys will carry 250,000 new vehicles including AUDI, SEAT, ŠKODA, Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
“The two ships, which are both 180 meters long, are each powered by an MAN marine diesel with more than 19,000 PS (14,220 kW). In future, the two ships are to be refueled at sea off the coast of Vlissingen (Netherlands) with alternative fuel supplied by the Dutch company GoodFuels,” commented Volkswagen Group.
In doing this the CO2 emissions of the conventional vessels is expected to see a reduction of 85% from more than 60,000 tonnes a year to 9,000. In addition, the group will see sulfur oxide emissions almost completely avoided.
This latest change made by Volkswagen Group comes as part of its strategy to make its logistics even greener. In addition to using certified fuel from vegetable residue, the company is using liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power car freighters travelling between Europe, North America and Latin America. In addition the group is replacing all rail shipments in Germany with DB Cargo with eco-power.
“This way, Volkswagen Group Logistics is helping the Group achieve net carbon neutrality by 2050,” added Zernechel.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany