The 2.5 liter gasoline VW Rabbit available in the U.S. gets 26 MPG combined (city/highway).  (Source: Volkswagen of America)

  (Source: Volkswagen of America)
VW pairs diesels with electric motors to achieve nearly 70 MPG in its Golf hatchback

Hybrid technology is often a hot topic of discussion on DailyTech. Detractors of hybrid technology often point out that diesel engines would make a better alternative to achieve greater fuel efficiency. Hybrid proponents often point out that while diesel are more efficient than gasoline motors, they are far dirtier.

Volkswagen is looking to bring the two camps together and will unveil a diesel-electric hybrid version of its popular Golf hatchback (known as the Rabbit here in the U.S.) in Geneva. According to the German automotive giant, the Golf Hybrid will achieve 83.9 MPG (Imperial gallons) which is roughly 69.9 MPG here in the U.S. Carbon dioxide emissions are also limited to just 89g/km.

The diesel engine used in the Golf Hybrid meets all Euro 5 emissions criteria and also passes the stringent Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standards here in the U.S.

Given that costs involved with producing a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain, VW is looking to spread the technology to a number of its vehicle lines. According to 4Car, likely transplants include the VW Jetta and the Audi A3. Other Golf-based vehicles that would be a prime target for the new powertrain include the upcoming VW Tiguan and Audi Q5 crossovers.

VW isn't the only company; however, that is looking towards diesel-electric hybrid powertrains. DailyTech reported on Peugeot's 308 Hybrid HDi in late August 2007. The 308 Hybrid HDi features a 107 HP diesel engine which is paired to a 22 HP electric motor. The combined system helps the vehicle achieve 69 MPG.

Diesel technology is seeing a rather large resurgence in the U.S. thanks to new CAFE regulations. VW is bringing back its TDI motors now that they meet Tier 2 Bin 5 standards, Nissan is looking to drop a Renault diesel engine into its next generation Maxima and Honda will provide four and six-cylinder diesel engines for its cars and trucks.

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