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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 rogard on 10/4/2007 5:28:34 AM , Rating: 2
There are arguments and statements I read all the time...and I just have to add my two cents.

Why is it that every single time when there is an article on DT about fuel efficient cars, people soon start a discussion about how cool big block engines are, how many bhp they have (or even sadder: would like to have!?), and similar offtopic chitchat? Why don't you open a new thread somewhere else where you can talk turbo-speed-kit-V8-dragster-talk in private? Thank you.

While I am totally d'accord that it's nice to have a powerful car, I always wonder how 40 ton trucks, RVs and buses get on the motorways you name at all? Surely those are not able to accelerate to 75mph? What happens? Do they have to reverse, or try again later? According to your opinion they probably should be banned, or have at least 2000bhp to be allowed to go on motorways in the US (or CA).
Even if short ramps were dangerous, it might be a good idea to build better ones. This is far more intelligent than having everybody driving around a 400bhp car just because of this lame excuse.

Same logical error for all the guys who drive a 4000+ lbs car to feel safe in case of a collision. Following your logic, y'all had to drive a 100k lbs truck or even better, a tank. If you are hit by a truck, it doesn't really matter whether you are sitting in a SUV or smaller car. Being the strongest, fastest and heaviest on the road has to stop somewhere. It really reminds me of knights in full plate armor. They got heavier and heavier, but in the end, they became obsolete because weaponry (read: circumstances and requirements) changed and they could not adapt/were no longer needed. Dinosaurs.
Modern cars, even small ones, are surprisingly safe in case of a crash. Probably much safer than older and larger models. You stand a good chance to survive heavy impacts that would have been your certain death 20 years ago, even in a big car.

Talking about the American way of life with freedom of choice as the highest can you be at ease with speed limits? Or no-parking-zones? Traffic lights? Does that not restrict you freedom? Shouldn't the government be immediately removed by force then? If not, if you think those rules are necessary, what is wrong with other rules like minimum fuel efficiency for cars, maximum size, maximum whatever? No? Not even when there are good reasons for a governmental intervention, because otherwise people will never do the right thing on their own? Hmm.

I am 6'3" and I fit well into all cars but the tiniest ones (Fiat Cinquecento et al) which are a bit inconvenient. You can sit quite comfy in a "Smart", by the way. I am not kidding. Reading some of the comments here makes me wonder if some of you are traveling in living rooms on wheels. What are you doing in a car that you need so much space? Gymnastics? :-)

I wish people would just admit that they simply like driving huge and powerful cars without frantically trying to find a good excuse or explanation for that.
Or, even worse, poking fun at attempts to save energy and build more efficient cars. It's a law of physics that the heavier and bigger a car is the more fuel it will consume.
Problem is, auto developers will always be forced to produce for the market. If nobody is willing to trade their semi truck for a smaller and maybe less powerful car, it cannot be successful on the market and will disappear soon. It is you that dictate what kind of cars are being built, so only you, the customers can change something. Just do it then.

Oh, the far as I know, "efficiency" is defined by the energy it takes to do/move something. If your car needs less energy to travel a distance than somebody else's car, it is more efficient. Period.
You cannot compare the efficiency of 2 people going different distances. Even if the one guy only goes 5 miles a week, he could still be more efficient in a smaller and less fuel guzzling car. (The total amount of fuel a person uses, and why, and how to reduce/avoid that is a totally different story.)

Diesel engines may have some drawbacks, but they are more efficient. Nowadays they produce the same power as gas engines while consuming around 30% less fuel. They are perfect for towing something (high torque) and they operate at low rpm. Coupled with chargers they rival acceleration of a gas powered engine and are therefore quite popular even in sports cars in Europe. I guarantee, you will not feel underpowered in a BMW with a diesel engine. BTW, I really cannot see why emission laws in the US are so rigid when you have more than 90 million diesel trucks going 50k miles a year each (on average). I bet the emission of a Peterbilt does not compare favorably to a passenger car.

All the worries that diesel fuel would be more expensive if more people used them are unfounded. In the US there are dozens of million diesel trucks. US diesel consumption is by far the highest in the world (as is gas consumption)
Rest assured, the impact, if any, would be minimal.

Here are some numbers for you:
United States: 92,794,859 Diesel commercial vehicles
137,633,467 gas, private vehicles
total diesel consumption 1,670,307,462,000 litres
total gas consumption 185,805,180,000 litres

(source: Report 2005,
Some interesting numbers and comparisons there)

Waiting for the full electrical or hydrogen fuel car is not an option when there are other technologies that are available in the meantime. At least some people should stop denying that it is reasonable to think about fuel economy.

One last thing: I know that some of you guys probably even tow a yacht when they go to work. And they are constantly transporting either 6 children, 3 bathtubs or 2000lbs of mulch. They are hereby officially "exonerated". You folks really need the truck you're driving. All the others, you better admit that you don't really need a huge car but you just want to have it. Next step would be to accept that it is not a bad idea to think about efficient use of resources in general. It's not about finding "the" way to propel a vehicle, most of the advances on this sector are done in small steps. In the end, getting a fuel efficient car will always mean that there is a compromise. You can't have a bigger, heavier and more powerful car that gets a better mileage (than a smaller lighter car). And even if you don't agree to that, please don't make fun of people who are willing to fold their limbs into a small car. At least they are doing something, be it for their wallet, or their conscience or because they have invested some thought in this topic. In my opinion that's better than just saying "WTF do I care"?

All of us need and use energy in various forms. Every decade the energy needs increase. The more each of us uses, the more expensive it gets, because high demand=high price and it's getting increasingly hard to get to the crude oil. That is the reason why I think everybody who deliberately wastes energy who could go by with half of it is wasting my share of it as well, and I even have to pay for their ignorance at the gas station, even halfway around the world. Just because many of you claim that what you can afford is rightfully yours does not negate your responsibility to take care of the world's supplies. There will be a day when even people in the richer countries cannot afford to go by car because fuel is too scarce and too expensive. By then, the whole world will suffer badly because the majority of people will be thrown back into the stone ages. It's mainly the responsibility of the industrialized and rich countries to try hard to reduce our energy consumption. So start thinking. You should care about all that. I should, too. We all should.

Go ahead, prove me wrong.

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