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Audi highlights community’s trailblazing sustainability efforts

Orkney has more than 700 micro wind turbines. Image credit: Audi


German automaker Audi is spotlighting a special archipelago in Scotland in its latest sustainability spot.

Located 10 miles beyond the northern edge of the British mainland, Orkney is attracting attention due to its enlightened approach to renewable energy. In a new short film, Audi shares about the energy practices in Orkney and how this could help support the automaker’s vehicles.

“I think Audi is using this spot to tap into the old 'Think Global, Act Local' mindset by giving viewers an example of how a relatively small community can harness clean energy and use it not only for itself but for larger cities hundreds of miles away,” said David Undercoffler, editor in chief at Autolist.com, San Francisco. “It's an effective way to show the role anyone can have in moving toward a greener future.”

Energy abundant
The short film, entitled “Energy At The End Of The Earth,” opens with an Orkney resident describing the unpredictability and force of the archipelago's weather. Inclement weather in the region is known to cancel ferries, plane rides and other trips.

“You have to make an effort to get here,” he says.

Dr. Laura Watts discusses all that Orkney has, and continues to, offer

The film then cuts to Dr. Laura Watts, author and senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, who describes Orkney as a place rampant with innovation. She explains that Orkney is also famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Site and its prehistoric archaeology.

Dr. Watts then goes on to explain that currently, Orkney has three times the amount of electric vehicles than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. That is one of the few mentions of vehicles in the film overall, as the overall focus is Orkney’s role as an energy titan.

Dr. Watts describes the energy in Orkney as palpable.

“When we’re talking about energy in Orkney, it’s not invisible,” she says. “It’s something very tangible, it’s something you feel all the time on your skin and on your body.”

The archipelago has been generating 120 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources. Since it is generating more electricity than it needs, it is looking to send its electricity south.

This means that someone plugging in their electric vehicle in the south of England could potentially be drawing on renewable electricity that is generated by Orkney’s local community wind turbines, of which the archipelago has more than 700.

The e-tron GT quattro arriving in Orkney. Image credit: Audi

Then Neil Kermode, the managing director of the European Marine Energy Center, explains that there could be 17 gigawatts of offshore wind within 150 kilometers of walking in Orkney, which could be a huge part of the United Kingdom’s energy supply network.

According to Mr. Kermode, his organization is currently working on technologies to eventually harvest energy from the sea. The belief is an “epic amount of energy” in the sea, energy that can be used to power electric vehicles.

Continued sustainability efforts from Audi
“Energy At The End Of The Earth” is one of many recent efforts from Audi reflecting the automaker’s dedication to and value of sustainability.

Earlier this month, the brand unveiled a new version of its EV&me app, which is designed to help customers make the switch to a fully electric (BEV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles.

Available for download through the Android and Apple app stores, EV&me allows Audi customers to compare useful performance data, charging times and running costs between models. The automaker hopes the cost-savings information within the app will encourage customers to switch from a gas-powered engine to an Audi electric or hybrid vehicle (see story).

In March, Audi’s U.S. importer announced its new role as the official and exclusive automotive partner of nature-inspired luxury hospitality group 1 Hotels. Audi of America plans to join in this mission to support sustainability-focused initiatives and events throughout the next two years (see story).

Notably, the Orkney spot is a celebration of an area that is trailblazing in energy production while contemplating how to share its resources, rather than drawing attention to the brand itself.

“What's notable about this piece is that you never hear anyone mention Audi or its vehicles by name,” Mr. Undercoffler said. “That gives the piece authenticity because viewers aren't getting beaten over the head with a marketing message; they're just learning about a forward-thinking community while seeing a few shots of Audi's e-tron driving around the scenic islands.

“It's a subtle yet effective way to signal Audi's green energy intentions.”