Eco Warriors

Audi plans to cut CO2 emissions 30% by 2025 but there's a catch

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi is fully committing to the Paris Climate Agreement, becoming the first automaker to adopt the ambitious goals. As part of that agreement, the company aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions across its products by 30 percent by 2025. But, there's a big catch.

The Volkswagen Group, the parent company of Audi, will be using 2015 model year vehicles as its high-water mark for emissions. Nearly every vehicle in the Audi lineup has been completely redesigned since then including the fresh Q3, which is just making its way onto dealership lots.

Audi has also introduced the 2019 Audi E-Tron electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid variants of some of its most popular models in that time.

And there's still five years remaining.

In the next five years, Audi was already slated to make a big EV push, as is the Volkswagen Group as a whole.

At the L.A. Auto Show last year, Audi unveiled the Audi E-Tron GT concept and followed that up with the Audi Q4 E-Tron compact SUV concept at the Geneva Motor Show. Later this year, the company will deubt the Audi E-Tron Sportback.

The company is predicting that by 2025, it will offer 30 electrified Audis, including 20 all-electric vehicles.

Neither Audi nor the Volkswagen Group has revealed any plans in regard to cleaning up lithium-ion battery production for electric vehicles as part of this announcement. Last year Bloomberg reported that battery production may actually result in up to 74 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than an efficient internal combustion engine-powered car, when those plants rely on fossil fuels for production.

There is also the matter of battery materials harvesting, which often happens in Africa where allegations of child labor and abuse are rampant.

Questions also linger regarding the disposal of batteries following their natural lifecycle in a vehicle.

In addition to vehicle changes, Audi intends to operate carbon neutral plants by 2025 including its Brussels plant, which has been carbon neutral since 2018. Next up for conversion is the Audi plant in Győr, Hungary.

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The Nissan Ariya has wind glide over it in the testing tunnel.

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

Nissan is targeting a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.297 for the Ariya all-electric crossover. If it can make that number, it will be the company's most aerodynamic crossover to date. What does that mean? Let's take a closer look.

What is drag?

Simply put, drag is an aerodynamic force. It's mechanical in nature, so it is the result of the interaction of a solid body and a liquid. In the case of a car, this liquid is air. (Yes, air is a liquid.) It only occurs when one part of the equation (the solid body or the liquid) is in motion. If there is no motion, there is no drag.

Drag only occurs in the opposite direction of the object's movement. Think of a car cutting through the air as it drives down a north-south road. As the car heads north, the air it passes through is pushed south. The car is in motion; there is drag.

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

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What is coefficient of drag?

The coefficient of drag, also called a drag coefficient, is a number that aerodynamics professions (aerodynamicists) use to determine the shape, inclination, and flow conditions on a vehicle's drag. The shape of an object (bullet vs. square vs prism, etc.) has a large impact on the amount of drag created by airflow surrounding a vehicle. Objects with narrower front ends tend to have a lower coefficient.

Scientists and vehicle designers want to keep air moving around the car for maximum efficiency. The inclination of the airflow to either move in a smooth, connected pattern, or to be broken up with air sitting, stalling in one particular part of the vehicle, lessening airflow and making the vehicle less aerodynamic.

A vehicle's Cd is determined by plugging various measurements into an equation. Cd is equal to drag (D) divided by the quantity of density (r) multiplied by half the velocity (V) squared multiple by the reference area (A). As an equation, it looks like this: Cd = D / (A * .5 * r * V^2).

The smaller the Cd, the more aerodynamic a vehicle is.

2022 Nissan Ariya

The Nissan Ariya employs aerodynamic wheel design, made to help it cut though the air with greater ease.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

What is the coefficient of drag of the Nissan Ariya?

"With the growing shift towards electric mobility, aerodynamic testing is becoming increasingly important. The aerodynamics of electric vehicles are directly linked to how efficiently the vehicle moves – less drag and better stability allows the customer to drive longer distances before having to recharge," said Sarwar Ahmed, Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Engineer at Nissan Technical Centre Europe.

Nissan is targeting a 0.297 coefficient of drag for the Ariya. How will it achieve that number? By utilizing precisely shaped body lines and strategically placed air ducts, among other components. There's a bonus to better aerodynamics when it comes to EVs.

"Following official homologation of the Nissan Ariya later this year, we anticipate the range to improve compared to the 310 mile figure shared in 2020 during the World Premiere. This will give drivers more efficiency and confidence to go even further on a single charge," said Marco Fioravanti, VP Product Planning, Nissan Europe.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to other Nissans?

The newest Nissans, the Kicks, Pathfinder, and Frontier, don't have their Cd publicly available yet, but other models have their results. The targeted 0.297 Cd in the Ariya is less than that in the 2021 Armada, Murano, and Rogue. But, it's higher than the Nissan Leaf.

The fact that it's higher than the Leaf is not surprising. Shorter cars tend to be more aerodynamic because they sit lower to the ground and have a smaller profile. That also explains why Nissan's largest and boxiest SUV, the Armada, has the highest number on the list.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to numbers from other EVs?

The Nissan Ariya's coefficient of drag is higher than that of most other electric cars, crossovers, and SUVs sold in the U.S. Here's where the others measure up:

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The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo will be the next member of the company's all-electric family.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

There's a new Porsche car coming and despite the way it looks, it's not a fresh all-electric Panamera. It's the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo. The car was spied on the roads east of Weissach, Germany, doing its finally testing wearing very little camouflage.

We already know that the underpinnings of the new car are pretty much the same as what's in the Taycan sedan. Its outside isn't too dissimilar from the Taycan either, with much of the face holding the family looks and its back getting a sport wagon treatment that's similar to the Panamera - new fenders a longer roof, and a hatchback. The car also has an increased ride height.

And that's just what we can see from the photos. The car was darting along the countryside between frozen farmland and snow-covered forests. Porsche has confirmed many of these details and they were the ones that released the photos of the car testing - something usually left up to a spy photographer but in a COVID world, here we are.

They also released a video showcasing the car and its testing journey, featuring Stefan Weckbach, Vice President of the Taycan product line at Porsche. Take a watch.

The Camouflaged Taycan Cross Turismo Hits the Road www.youtube.com

Just a few days later, Porsche released video of the inside of the Taycan Cross Turismo, giving enthusiasts a peek behind the scenes on its development.

Taycan Cross Turismo - Inner Space www.youtube.com

The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo is expected to be fully revealed later this year.

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