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VW Up! Concept  (Source: Autoblog Green)

  (Source: Autoblog Green)
Volkswagen's tiny Up! to get a hybrid powertrain

Volkswagen (VW) is no stranger to fuel efficiency in the United States. While the company may currently known for its 200HP GTI pocket rocket and Eos retractable hardtop-chick mobile, the company also has deep roots in diesel motors.

The company is famous for its TDI engines which in recent years have been available in a number of vehicles including the New Beetle, Jetta, Passat and Touareg. TDI engines are currently on hiatus in the United States due to more stringent emissions requirements, but VW will bring to market a new Tier 2 Bin 5 TDI engine for the Jetta next year (and likely also for the Passat, New Beetle and Rabbit).

If VW has its way, consumers may have an alternative method for achieving high fuel economy with its vehicles.

VW is looking to introduce two variants of its recently introduced Up! rear-engined concept car. The tiny Up! measures just 135.8 inches from nose to tail and is only 64.2 inches wide.

The first variant of the Up! would be a small minivan aimed at families who clearly don't need all of the space afforded in today's super-sized minivans from Chrysler, Honda and Toyota. The second variant on tap is a plug-in hybrid model.

The plug-in variant would ditch the concept Up!'s hatchback profile for a more traditional sedan configuration (which is more in tune with American buying tastes). According to Auto News and Autoblog, the plug-in hybrid Up! would achieve close to 100 MPG.

The Up! minivan is scheduled to be unveiled shortly in Tokyo while the Up! plug-in hybrid will bow in Los Angeles.

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By PlasmaBomb on 10/3/2007 6:54:08 AM , Rating: 2
I think we are all guilty of buying things that some would class as luxury, again it is a personal opinion.

As I said I am well aware that there are times when public transport won't cut it, which is something that politicians should wake up and realise. This leads us onto -

Punish the SUV owner because he has a different taste in car, because he has a better job, or because he makes more money? That's not right either.

It is happening here already (UK), vehicles which produce the most CO2 have a "luxury" vehicle excise tax (road tax). The government has just introduced the first of a series of three tax increases on fuel (petrol/diesel) over the next 18 months.

It has been reported that the price of fuel will be over £1/litre by the end of the year, to put it into context that $7.72 per US gal, and you are at $3.10 per gal (if wiki can be trusted).

There are also plans to implement road pricing to "combat congestion". It wouldn't take too much of a stretch of imagination to think that if/when this comes in there may be additional penalties for driving large vehicles which take up more road space.

-Actually it looks like the politicians have already had this idea

Ken Livingstone has announced that the £8 per day London congestion charge will rise to £25 for 4 x4s in 2009

From personal experience a lot of congestion is caused by people driving their kids to school, poor drivers and poorly planned road works. Though those topics are perhaps for a different time...

By mdogs444 on 10/3/2007 8:36:00 AM , Rating: 2
In the US, we already have a Fuel Efficiency Act - that car manufacturers have to pay a penalty on each car produced for not reaching the minimum requested average miles/gallon. Unfortnately, the EPA is about 15% off par when it comes to actually figuring out the efficiency.

Also, in the US - we pay "gas guzzler" taxes on cars that dont meet certain efficiency standards.

Our fuel costs are extremely tax based as well - and of all the taxes we pay, only 60% of the fuel taxes actually go to maintaining the roads - the other 40% go to "other unrelated items".

On your other note at the bottom - and not to completely change the political topic - parents should be allowed to drive their kids to school every day if they want. No one says that parents have to trust their kids riding in a school bus with no seatbelts driven by someone who they dont trust.

There are poor drivers - and much of that is because of the technology available today. Spending too much time on the radio, the navigation system, on the cell phone, etc. But there are still drivers who just plain suck. No idea how they passed a drivers exam in the first place.

By acer905 on 10/3/2007 10:09:50 AM , Rating: 2
One quick tidbit. I always hate when american politicians (mostly liberals) present an idea and back it by saying that "it worked in he UK" because of one simple little fact. We were once colonies. We got fed up with it, and fought a war to be independent. Personally i am rather glad that we did as well, because i feel sorry for people living in the UK today, with all the restrictions they seem to have to live with. Just my personal opinion though

By mdogs444 on 10/3/2007 10:13:02 AM , Rating: 2
I second that opinion.

I dont want a liberal, socialistic government to tell me what is good for me instead of letting me decide for myself.

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