Published on July 2nd, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
The Philosophy – a history of Think Blue
Think Blue: Volkswagen Malaysia introduced this philosophy in conjunction with the launch of the Touareg TDI and Touareg Hybrid models late last year. Think Blue is both used to describe a way of thinking that focuses on finding environmentally friendly solutions, as well as the technology that Volkswagen has developed in order to achieve their emissions and efficiency goals. For Volkswagen Malaysia this is something relatively new, but the concept was first introduced back in 2010, and has slowly diffused into more than 30 countries that Volkswagen has an active market in. That being said though, we can trace this style of thinking back by over 5 decades.
Volkswagen is a company that has been in the business for the better part of a century, and it only knows too well that a company must change with the times. One of the buzz words that has been floating around for the better part of two decades now is “Sustainability”, which refers to changing our practices in order to conserve our fragile environment.
But while most other companies have only given serious thought to this problem in the past 10 years or so, Volkswagen has been at it since 1959, from the launch of the first Beetle. In striving to produce vehicles that were economical and yet highly practical (Volkswagen is the peoples’ car, after all), quite a few leaps were made in terms of technological development. For a while, Volkswagen focused on improving quality and meeting production scales, all in the name of bringing down cost and building the brand image. But little by little, it was looking for ways to develop efficiency and bring down emissions.
The early 90s saw the introduction of the Volkswagen TDI engines, and as these engines evolved they maintained their claim as some of the most fuel-efficient engines, even to this day. Introduction of the Lupo (class below the Polo) 3L was a huge milestone for both Volkswagen and cars in general, as the 3L stood for a fuel economy of 3 litres per 100 kilometres.
Where Volkswagen first used “Blue” to define their fuel efficient products was in the Polo BlueMotion, which came about in 2005 and changed the world standards for fuel economy in its class. This only set the stage for one of the most incredible commercially available engine ranges: the TSI.
TSI engines featured direct-injection and forced induction, working in harmony to produce some pretty significant power figures from relatively small displacements. While turbocharging for power was nothing that hadn’t been tried before, Volkswagen emphasised fuel efficiency when developing these engines, and this is an area in which most other turbocharged engines fail. The TSI range was key in changing the public perception on small displacement engines, with so many of their models adopting a TSI engine.
Volkswagen was keen to keep the momentum up, and just two years ago the XL1 was introduced at the Qatar Motor Show. A project 9 years in the making at the time, and having gone through 2 iterations, it had successfully realised Volkswagens target of creating a 1-litre car: a car that can travel a hundred kilometres on a single litre of fuel. Made of highly exotic materials and powered by a diesel hybrid powertrain, this car stands as proof of Volkswagen’s efforts to develop sustainable technology. The XL1 would only ever see limited production, what with it being so incredibly expensive, but it remains a proof of concept and Volkswagen will undoubtedly adopt some of the tricks they’ve learned in their more mass-market models.
What’s next? The up!, a super compact city car, and the every popular Golf are both slated to receive full electric powertrains, under the name Blue-e-Motion.