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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VW Qualit...
By Iaiken on 7/20/2010 10:36:12 AM , Rating: 2
VW has stood for Vixit Wulfgang for almost a decade and it has no indication of subsiding.

A friend of mine had no shortage of expensive problems with her rabbit while still under warranty (VW refused to accept responsibility):

- DSG transmission choked at 41,000 km (they still blame her for problems with what is essentially an automatic)
- Brake rotors warped long before the pads needed changing.

The following were fixed under warranty:

- Head light shorted out
- Brake lights shorted out
- Water pump died
- Stretched timing chain
- Head gasket
- Temperature sensors in the gear box were installed incorrectly on the replacement transmission

The following were never fixed:

- Car pretty much rattles everywhere
- Airbag light won't turn off
- Hand brake is loose (moves side to side)

Until they stomp out their quality issues, VW can go fly a kite as far as I am concerned. As for my friend, I told her to sell the damned thing the moment the warranty is up.

RE: VW Qualit...
By jonup on 7/20/2010 2:13:48 PM , Rating: 4
WOW. I would think that your friends driving must have something to do with all these issues. I mean:
- DSG transmission choked
- Water pump died
- Stretched timing chain
- Head gasket
- Car pretty much rattles everywhere
- Brake rotors warped long before the pads needed changing.
VW would be broke if these were design flows and they had to replace them under warranty for all their models.
No offense to you or your friend!

RE: VW Qualit...
By Iaiken on 7/20/2010 2:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
I would think that your friends driving must have something to do with all these issues.

Having ridden with her on numerous occasions I can safely say that her driving isn't the issue (unless she turns into some form of road demon when I am not around). We've done our research on the subject and all of these problems are pretty much par for the course in a 2006 Rabbit 2.5L.

Most of the electrical problems are caused by the cars wiring not being designed and properly covered to prevent corrosion in places where they use salt on the roads. Basically, it's just laziness/cheapness on the part of VW when it comes to the export market.

The rotors are just a low quality POS OEM part that overheat quickly under only moderate braking and take a long time to cool down. This causes them to deform in situations like continuous stop and go traffic or high speed emergency braking(this is actually what did hers in).

Stretched timing chain was caused by the use of low grade metal that fatigued easily under all but the gentlest acceleration. When you come in to get it fixed, they actually use a different part made to a higher standard. The waterpump failure was related to this problem.

With the exception of the diesels, VW has a terrible track record when it comes to head gaskets, which is fine by them because they tend to fail outside of warranty.

The DSG is pretty much the exception, they either last 100,000+ km or they pretty much choke right away and then VW blames the owner and refuses to fix it under warranty.

As for the rattles, I'm talking about generic body/trim rattles. This is because VW bodies/trim are put together with plastic clips and hangers that stretch over time. This is made worse by the fact that the Rabbit frame is not particularly rigid and the body/trim gets twisted out of shape over time. This is by no means restricted to VW, a friend of mine with a Saab 92x ahd his windshield crack right up the middle because of this and the dealer was like "no worries, happens all the time with the Saaberu".

RE: VW Qualit...
By wolrah on 7/21/2010 1:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
FYI, the DSG had the warranty extended to 10 years, 100,000 miles on all cars equipped with it, so your friend should be able to get refunded anything she paid for a replacement.

A friend of mine has a 2009 GTI with the DSG and drives it exactly like you'd expect a mid-20s male in a fairly quick car to drive, no problems at all. It's been to the drag strip and launched hard (using the launch control feature) repeatedly (sometimes for up to two hours of nearly nonstop runs if the track is deserted that day) without a single complaint. It's also chiptuned up to 250HP, so it's putting a lot more power through the transmission than your friend's 2.5L.

As you said though, the DSGs do seem to be one of those things that either breaks or doesn't, there's no in between, but it seems to be all related to sensors rather than mechanical failures. The problem is that the thing is so complex that from my understanding not even VW dealers have service manuals for them, they just swap in a new one and send the old one back to Germany no matter what the problem.

RE: VW Qualit...
By Johnmcl7 on 7/20/2010 2:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
The DSG isn't essentially an automatic, while it does change gear automatically it's technically very different to a conventional automatic.

I've seen lemons from any car manufacturer so taking a single example from such a large company isn't particularly relevent. I'm currently on my third VAG car (Octavia Mk1, Toledo Mk II and now an Octavia Mk II) and none of them have suffered any serious problems (or anything bar wear and tear), Skoda particularly are in the top ten for reliability usually alongside the Japanese car manufacturers.


RE: VW Qualit...
By Lord 666 on 7/20/2010 2:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing I have read on is people's DSG's fly wheel warping around 80,000 miles.

In my TDI Jetta, its been flawless after 90,000 miles. Excellent transmission and overall powertrain.

RE: VW Qualit...
By chunkymonster on 7/21/2010 1:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
Your friend is the exception to the rule.

Got a 2005 Jetta TDI with 162,000 miles on it and it runs as punchy and torquey as the day I took delivery. Of course, I also ensure regular and routine factory recommended maintenance.

I have warped brake rotors on cars in the past and in the end the cause ended up being my bad driving habits of slamming on the brakes and causing the to overheat, thusly warping the rotors. Once when I owned a Ford Crown Victoria and used change my own oil, I mistakenly added 6 quarts of oil instead of the normal 5 quarts. The additional quart, effectively, caused the head and valve cover gasket to blow out from the additional pressure. Excessive revving of the engine or running it consistently at high rpm's can also stretch the timing chain, stress the head gasket, and put undo strain on the water pump. Neglecting regular and routine maintenance, over time, can also cause some of your friends issues.

So, either your friend totally got a lemon or she would change her driving habits when you were in the car.

This is a nice change
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/20/2010 10:00:16 AM , Rating: 2
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.

It's nice to see a German car company is setting it's sights on an American car for once, instead of the other way around.

RE: This is a nice change
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/20/2010 10:00:58 AM , Rating: 2
Ohh... and the Volt's battery pack could go 80 miles on a single charge, if the goal was for the pack to last less than a year.

There's no magic bullet here, unless they come up with a new way of storing electricity, they'll be pretty much in line with the Volt in terms of kwh per pound.

RE: This is a nice change
By Flunk on 7/20/2010 11:16:14 AM , Rating: 2
You also have to remember that the Volt is a much bigger car than the E-Up!, which is a city car. A compact like the Volt is much more practical in the US.

RE: This is a nice change
By FaaR on 7/20/2010 2:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
...Because as we all know, the US has no cities whatsoever.


City cars are ideal for congested US cities where traffic barely moves at walking speed on average during rush hour.

You just say that, because you have this screwed-up idea that americans just HAVE to drive huge cars with 5.7 liter V8 engines. That is not so, most of you do not haul around a boat or a horse carrier all day long with your vehicle. A city car would be quite sufficient for most peoples' needs, if they just could fit their ego inside of it along with themselves.

RE: This is a nice change
By Spuke on 7/20/2010 6:17:00 PM , Rating: 2
City cars are ideal for congested US cities where traffic barely moves at walking speed on average during rush hour.
You chastise him for making a blanket assumption then you do just the same. LOL! Looking at how Americans actually make their vehicle purchases instead of wishing and hoping, we see that Americans vastly prefer their compact and mid sized sedans. It would behoove an automaker that chooses to sell a vehicle here to make what people want.

Americans have demonstrated time and time again that subcompacts are not desired. Not for lack of trying by the automakers though. They test the water every so often by flushing a billion or two down the toilet to see if we'll bite. I prefer a lighter car over a heavier one myself but I am an enthusiast and part of a niche market. I don't represent the 100,000+ people a month that buy Camry's, Accord's, Civic's and Corolla's.

BTW, about half of the US lives in a metro area and the other half lives in a rural area. If I'm not mistaken, a metro area, according to the US Census, is a city with a population larger than 100,000. I may be wrong on the exact number but it's not LA or San Francisco type numbers.

So, given facts and history, city cars may not be the best route for Americans but as far as I'm concerned, that's irrelevant. What's relevant is what people will actually buy. And a simple search will reveal that. If someone wants a city car, then have at it. Maybe VW or someone will be willing to flush a bill for that market.

Diesel Hybrid
By mgilbert on 7/20/2010 12:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder why no one, especially VW, hasn't introduced a Diesel hybrid. In a Jetta, that would probably get 70 MPG.

RE: Diesel Hybrid
By tng on 7/20/2010 12:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
Fully agreed. Seems like that would be a logical next step in the hybrid evolution. Couple a clean and efficent new style diesel to a standard unit like the Toyota system and you could probably get at least ten more MPG out of the system.

It is sad seeing all of the manufacturers jumping on the electric bandwagon. As of now there is a very limited market for any of these cars since the range is battery limited. 40 or even 100 miles is not far enough for a majority of people who would need these car the most.

RE: Diesel Hybrid
By Johnmcl7 on 7/20/2010 2:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure Citroen or Peugeot have, the problem with hybrids is they need to keep the wait down and diesel engines are heavy.


RE: Diesel Hybrid
By chunkymonster on 7/21/2010 1:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
Totally agree especially now that Obama has mandated increased bio-diesel production.

I would be one of the first people in line if VW offered a diesel-electric hybrid Passat, Jetta, or Golf.

2005 Jetta TDI with 162,000 miles and still running strong!

jetta not made in USA
By BernardP on 7/20/2010 10:42:09 AM , Rating: 2
The next-gen Jetta (from 2011) will not be built in Chattanooga but in VW's plant in Puebla, Mexico, like the current Jetta.

The new Chattanooga plant is going to build the next-gen, bigger Passat.

By Beenthere on 7/20/2010 11:36:07 AM , Rating: 2
VW's goal is to be the largest sales volume car maker in the world - at any expense.

By FITCamaro on 7/20/2010 9:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
Their diesel engines were what they really had going for them. Electrics are worthless and nothing more than feel good toys for idiots smelling their own farts. They aren't practical for anything more than a daily commuter car which doesn't meet the needs of most people who can't afford two cars.

Hybrid just ins't German
By guffwd13 on 7/20/10, Rating: -1
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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