Print 28 comment(s) - last by wolrah.. on Jul 21 at 1:31 PM

Volkswagen's upcoming all-electric E-Up!

The Audi E-Tron is an electricified version of the Audi R8

Porsche is planning a hybrid/electric variant of its popular 918 Spyder supercar/roadster.
Company says it wants to become the world's leading electric car maker

Germany's Volkswagen AG has long been a pioneer in fuel efficient vehicles – some of its European variant diesel vehicles get well over 60 mpg.  However, it has trailed in hybrid and electric vehicle efforts.  In fact, will just get around to offering its first hybrid vehicle in the U.S. later this year.

At its Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, amid the backdrop of the launch of its sixth-generation VW Jetta compact, the company talked about its transition from being focused on diesel to going for the gold in the electric arena.  Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn comments, "I am deeply convinced Volkswagen will play a key role in electrifying the automotive world."

The company's efforts will be spread across its base consumer brand and its luxury brands -- Audi and the recently acquired Porsche brand.  

VW plans to release a Touareg (SUV) this year and Jetta (sedan) hybrid in 2012.  It will then follow up with hybrid Golf and Passat models in 2013.  In 2011, it plans to start testing a fleet of electric VW Golf vehicles.  VW will also introduce a new electric called the E-Up! .

On the luxury front, Audi will release its first EV, the e-tron.  Meanwhile, Porsche is cooking up hybrid variants of its Cayenne (SUV) and 918 Spyder (roadster).

VW reports that by the time these vehicles hit the market, its electric efforts will be as refined as its diesel ones.  It says that its E-Up! batteries are already capable of running for 93 miles on a charge -- more than the 2011 Chevy Volt's, which can only muster 40 miles on a charge.

Winkerton states, "Our customers are not willing to compromise.  They expect the same high standards from an electric Golf as from a conventional one."

Volkswagen has seen a long slide in sales in America.  Once the top foreign brand -- selling 570,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 1970 -- the company has been gradually displaced by Japanese and Korean automakers who have a better reputation for quality.  Diesel enthusiast still love VW, though, and Volkswagen Group of America increased deliveries by 29 percent to 175,000 vehicles in H1 2010.

The German automaker will soon open a $1B USD plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which will produce the popular Jetta and its upcoming hybrid variant.  The plant will mark VW's first auto-production facility in the U.S. since it shut the doors on its Pennsylvania assembly plant in 1988.

Volkswagen has set a relatively lofty goal of selling 800,000 VW-brand vehicles and 200,000 Audis annually in the United States by 2018 -- over twice current sales levels.  Winkerton states, "We want to take Volkswagen to the top of the industry by 2018. ... We know that the United States is one of our main destinations on our way to the top."

The company realizes that diesel will not necessarily win many new customers, so its hoping its shift to electric will win new business.

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Hybrid just ins't German
By guffwd13 on 7/20/2010 10:02:41 AM , Rating: -1
If I'm going to buy a German car, I want German engineering. The Germans are the ones who are exploring all different types of alternative fuels and the diesel, while not quite as adventurous as hydrogen et al, is no exception. Plus, the Japanese have the hybrid market cornered. The diesel engine is excellent. It's dependable, it'll last 200k (assuming the electrics don't fail first, which is likely), it's more efficient (better mpgs!) and it's also cleaner than is gasoline counterparts with the Ad-Blue and the government mandate of ultra low sulfur diesel.

The super torque doesn't hurt either. I think the American market is ready for it - and much of the reason they sold better in 2010 was with its Jetta and Touareg TDIs.

Wrong way to go if you ask me.

RE: Hybrid just ins't German
By superPC on 7/20/10, Rating: -1
RE: Hybrid just ins't German
By bupkus on 7/20/10, Rating: 0
RE: Hybrid just ins't German
By The0ne on 7/20/2010 1:26:39 PM , Rating: 2
Thousands and thousands of consumers/drivers don't realize what you just linked. "Rare" means rare and China does have a substantial stake in many countries. It's almost comical hilarious because it reminds me of fossil fuel. The demand for fossil fuel is go great that people are willing to sacrifice lives in order to use it; meaning if you follow some oil operations in say, africa, then you'll know what I mean.

RE: Hybrid just ins't German
By roadhog1974 on 7/20/2010 7:31:36 PM , Rating: 2
giving MORE money to CHINA!

Don't buy clothes everybody.

RE: Hybrid just ins't German
By walk2k on 7/20/2010 1:44:33 PM , Rating: 3
Please keep in mind that Eu uses imp. gallons which are larger than US gallons so ie 60mpg is more like 50mpg which already gas(petrol) hybrids can achieve and also US does not get the same quality diesel as Eu it's much dirtier leading to much more air pollution (soot). Diesel is still a petroleum product therefore not a long term solution.

If every time electric cars are mentioned everyone goes "nah gas is better" (or to be more exact, if the oil companies keep saying that... and buying up EV patents..) we will never get off oil. If 30 years ago we had put the massive R&D into electric cars we'd all be driving them RIGHT NOW instead of saying "well, maybe in 5 more years..."

RE: Hybrid just ins't German
By FaaR on 7/20/2010 2:50:20 PM , Rating: 5
The EU uses the metric system, not gallons.

Some weirdo holdouts in the UK may be stuck on their imperial metrics for volume still, but it's not at all spread across the EU.

Ask pretty much any random non-UK EU person how big an imperial gallon is and they won't know what the F you're talking about. ;)

RE: Hybrid just ins't German
By alanore on 7/20/2010 5:12:23 PM , Rating: 3
The 60mpg mentioned in the article was already converted to US gallons, the BlueMotion Polo achieves 75mp(UK)g so about 60mp(US)g.

I would like to see diesel hybrids, especially for situations such as the Volt where the engine is used to drive a generator, which diesels are particularly good at.

RE: Hybrid just ins't German
By Amiga500 on 7/20/2010 1:45:21 PM , Rating: 1
I think a diesel electric hybrid is the way to go.

Particularly for soft 4x4s. Remove the main driveshaft, and have 2 electric motors at the back wheels for assisted drive rather than permanent 4x4. In town at crawling speeds, the engine could turn off, and the car is rear wheel drive...

The motor weight helps with c.g., and 4WD is never really needed for driving above 20/30 mph anyway (unless you are rallying or something of a similarly small niche)...

Sure, Audi do use 4x4 for balance on the newer vectored quattros - but how many owners actually explore the limits of the friction circle? 1%? 2%?

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