AROUND 23 MILLION PEOPLE LIVE
IN SHANGHAI – The busy city is an ideal place
to search for new trends and tomorrow’s
solutions for mobility.
Automobile manufacturers in China, too, are driving forward e-mobility, partly thanks to the strong support of the government in Beijing. The People’s Republic aims to have five million electric cars on its roads by 2020. Many experts believe that China has the potential to become the first major market for electric cars and plug-in hybrids. “We want to help make sure that Volkswagen is at the forefront right from the very beginning”, says Giebel.
Group researchers work particularly closely with Tongji University on safety. “One of the most urgent problems is the extremely high number of road casualties in China compared with other countries”, explains Giebel. His team of researchers quickly identified one of the main reasons. He likes to take visitors on a walk through the city streets to explain: “Many Chinese often don’t buckle up when they get behind the wheel. Even at relatively low speeds, this can often lead to serious injuries.” Volkswagen is combating this with educational initiatives for children and road safety campaigns together with Chinese automobile associations. One outcome of this is a seatbelt alarm function, which is fast becoming a standard feature in Chinese cars.
Giebel looks down at the traffic from one of the many pedestrian bridges in Shanghai. “Technical innovation alone does not equal progress. Education is just as important. This is the only way we can change people’s driving behavior”, he explains at the sight of the many buses, cars and bicycles jostling together with little regard for pedestrians. “As the market leader in China, it is only natural that Volkswagen also conducts research in this area.”
VEHICLES were produced by Volkswagen Group China in 2011.
PATENT APPLICATIONS were registered by employees
of the Volkswagen Group worldwide in 2011.
PROFESSORSHIPS are sponsored by Volkswagen at the Sino-German College for Graduate Study of Tongji University in Shanghai. Two professors work in the product
and technology sector, while the third is devoted to human resource management.