NEWS OF THE MONTH: SEPTEMBER, 2007

 

Volkswagen Challenged to Improve Fuel Emissions

In Germany, home of the Volkswagen, the head of the Transport Department in the Federal Environmental Agency, Axel Friedrich, has given Volkswagen a direct challenge. An outspoken environmentalist, Friedrich is putting together a campaign to get Volkswagen to make changes that would further reduce emissions or pressure lawmakers to mandate those changes if Volkswagen is not willing to comply. Friedrich's latest push resulted from a project in which engineers at several German universities were brought together to make improvements to a VW Gulf. By reducing weight (seats took a brunt of this) improving aerodynamics (taking out side-mirrors to reduce wind drag) and optimizing engine performance, Friedrich's team of engineers were successful at reducing emissions by 25% on the Gulf. Furthermore, Friedrich claims all of the changes are feasible with existing car manufacturing technologies. Volkswagen, which has never been one to shy away from eco-friendly practices, were slightly guarded on this one, however. They claim that the lightweight seats are too uncomfortable and that the use of cameras and a video screen to show rear-view activity will drive the price of the vehicle beyond the competitive market. This one's not over yet though. Perhaps a middle ground can be found and more discoveries can be built upon the one's that Friedrich's team of engineers have impressively made.



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