Volkswagen Diesel-Hybrid Golf, At What Price?

Volkswagen is the latest car company to announce plans to introduce a vehicle that combines hybrid and diesel technologies. The company says that a diesel-hybrid Golf, to be offered in Europe as early as 2009, will achieve 70 miles to the gallon, and pass tough diesel emissions standards in Europe and California.

The VW diesel hybrid is expected to use a full hybrid drivetrain with a 2.0 liter engine, allowing it to travel in all-electric mode at low speeds.

In the weeks leading up to the Geneva Motor Show, BMW and Mercedes also released plans for diesel-hybrids. BMW will introduce the BMW X5, a seven-passenger vehicle utilizing a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine and a mild hybrid system. The X5, which is expected to achieve 36 miles per gallon and 200 horsepower, is still in the concept phase. Mercedes-Benz is offering more details about its S400 gasoline-electric luxury sedan, expected in 2009—but has only hinted at a diesel-hybrid version in 2010.

Reports about diesel-hybrid introductions date back several years. Toyota, Ford, Citroen, and Peugot have produced diesel-hybrid concept vehicles or issued press releases about future offerings in the next few years.

Combining diesel and hybrid technologies could offer dramatic fuel economy benefits, but the combined costs of the two systems is a major obstacle. In an interview with HybridCars.com, Dr. Johannes-Joerg Rueger, vice president of engineering for diesel systems for Robert Bosch LLC, a leading manufacturer of diesel vehicle technologies, said, “From a cost perspective, that’s definitely a nightmare. The diesel engine itself is more expensive than a gasoline engine. And a hybrid device on top, definitely that’s the most expensive combination you can have.”

Rueger did not entirely rule out the possibilities for a diesel hybrid. “Nevertheless, for certain applications, we will see it. Bosch is developing diesel-hybrid technology right now, but my perspective is that it will remain a niche market” he said. “I don’t think it will enter the market widely, especially not in the U.S., because the prices for vehicles in general are low compared to Europe—so it would be extremely difficult to introduce a technology which has the highest cost.”


  • Armand

    There is NEVER a time where a new technology was not introduced without the whining and complaint of cost….it’s a given. The automakers are cry babies…they want to screw you for free.

    It’s also interesting to note that they all cry big tears to also put off any other automaker from actually developing a new technology..it’s a fright tactic which I am sure they use all the time.

    What a pathetic bunch of people. It would be nice if they stopped all their whining and actually did something for the good as a whole.

  • otto

    Big men at major oilcompanies just tell their employees
    at meetings that governments have to make decisions
    about energy.
    They are not willing to make a stand in this.
    After politicians made decisions, you will of course
    hear about them again.
    Those guys are in no way feeling responsible
    for the way ordinary (voting) people want to
    have the future to be.
    I agree with Nozferatu:
    Let be clear right among the people who vote:
    We will deside how we live.
    how we move
    how we (maybe) drive

  • J-Bob

    I find it interesting that with all the talk of the newer hybrid technologies, you don’t get the specs for them. You hear about the existing GAS based system, “2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine” but when talking about the ‘better half’ of the equation, you get “mild hybrid system”. No details about its particular output, what speeds are relegated to electric only, etc.

    I mean its mostly subconscious, but common, the focus should be on the newer tech, not the older tech.

  • Christian

    Here are the first official pictures:
    http://www.germancarblog.com/2008/03/vw-golf-tdi-hybrid-first-official.html

    The VW Golf TDI Hybrid will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show, comes with 75 bhp and an electric engine and is said to be more than just a concept. It could hit the roads by end of 2009 as a possible engine for the new VW Golf which will be introduced this year.

    Average consumption is said to be around 3.4 liters diesel per 100 kilometers, that’s just 90 gramm CO2 and would be a world record for a 5-seater car.

  • mdensch

    There already are diesel hybrids in our transportation network, they’re called locomotives. Diesel locomotives are serial hybrids where the diesel engine is just there to generate electricity for the motors but does not propel the train.

    The Jeep Renegade concept vehicle that Chrysler has been showing around uses this same set up. I suspect that serial hybrids will prove to be a more viable application for diesels since it is easier to control their emissions when they can operate at a constant speed. I also suspect that we will have to wait until lithium ion batteries are more affordable.

  • David

    I find it’s interesting that there is mention of the amount of “cost” for these new systems. Yes, Of course an I-4 diesel is expensive right now, and yes of course hybrid drives are expensive right now. Only once we start mass producing these systems and optimizing them they will come down in price. Just like everything else in the market.

    Heads up, diesel will be taking over very soon. Those types of internal combustion engines w/turbos are twice as efficient as gasoline, and they are getting very smart about making Bio-diesel, Not with corn… Corn doesn’t make nearly enough fuel. Corn is food, K? There are several companies on the horizon setting up shop near power plants with algae that converts the pollution into renewable fuels, more specifically Bio-diesel. As we all know, there are plenty of sources of pollution in our country, now we can use our pollution as fuel metabolized into less harmful emissions.

  • Ronnie

    I agree with the general complaints about price. The big three will always try to use that excuse. They cry and whine and try to distract everyone from alternate methods of transportation, meanwhile they continue to crank out the big honkin’ gas guzzling, water wasting, tree killing odes to materialism. They are keeping their heads in the sand and refusing to see what the real consumers want. They always wait until its too late and all the other companies with foresight, such as Honda and Toyota, pass them by.

  • mdensch

    The “real” consumers have spoken. They made the Ford F-150 the best selling vehicle last year and the Chevrolet Silverado the second best. The Toyota Prius ended up in 16th place. Ford sold four F-150s for every Prius that Toyota sold. Apparently there still is a market for the vehicles that Detroit produces.

    Enough with the conspiracy theories, folks. New technology does tend to cost more and consumers can be slow to embrace it, that’s just the way it is. And for whatever reasons, Americans have never warmed up to diesels. I can understand why the industry would hesitate to spend millions of dollars developing a technology that buyers might reject.

  • BK

    I think this hybrid diesel golf is made for the european market.
    @mdensch
    With this kind of thinking I can admit, that some car companies are willing to stay on the same old technology level as long as they are able to sell it.

    There seems noone to be interested in that the running costs for a car owner a tremedously raising.(in Europe )

    For the benefit, that other energy sources can be used in cars there will be the sacrifice , that for quite some time these vehicles should be able to run on more than one energy source.

    Everyone in the development department knows , that in the moment the batteries are available at an affordable price the common combustion engine will be an dying dinosaur.

    You can be very lucy to have this cheap gasoline prices in the u.s.

  • Tuesday

    I can say this much, having kept up with the auto and oil industries for the last several years, much of the hesitation of consumers to buy hybrids, even full electric, has a lot to do with lack of information and options at reasonable prices.
    Most consumers who purchase the gas guzzlers are those who are still feeling the patriotic power of 9/11. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, not at all. But, the American industry isn’t making any strides to offer something that particular set of the market is looking for.
    I mean, if Toyota can offer a hybrid SUV, why can’t Ford and Chevy do the same with a truck? They keep putting out sedans which, for reasons I don’t fully understand, are not what the American public is looking for.
    Bigger is not always better people.
    As for the diesel, well gasoline is more refined and costs more to produce. The oil companies like that price hike they get out of the process, eventhough they don’t end up paying the arm and leg the public does. So, why would we bother with diesel?
    Also, the US is one of five nations unwilling to join the advancement for a greener Earth, amongst other first world countries.
    This is the reality, our country makes its living from polluting and will continue to do so until the profits show otherwise.
    I hate to say it and I hate see it…
    The question is… Can we and what will we do about it?

    Sorry to get political. I really am excited about the new VW hybrid collection. I love VW.

  • Tony

    Tuesday,

    Not sure what you’re talking about when you say:

    “I mean, if Toyota can offer a hybrid SUV, why can’t Ford and Chevy do the same with a truck?”

    The only Hybrid SUV’s on the market right now are those offered by Ford (Escape) and GM (Saturn Vue). GM also has an HEV pickup on the horizon, although I’m not terribly impressed with the projected efficiency numbers. To my knowledge, Toyota hasn’t so much as a plan for a Hybrid pickup or SUV.

    While it’s not on the market yet, GM is closer to a plug-in HEV with the concept Volt than any other car maker. Toyota only even considered working on a PHEV because of the buzz generated by the Volt. Since the limiting factor here will be batteries, and both will be buying their batteries rather than developing them independently, it’s likely that both will hit the market at around the same time.

    It’s true that US makers have not been on the ball lately, for many reasons. That seems to be changing, however, and it would be nice to give credit where it is due. We’ll probably see the Volt and the plug-in Prius around the same time, but we’ll only see the Prius because Chevy decided to make the refreshingly bold move with the Volt. And the existence of two competing products will cause each to be less expensive than they would have been otherwise.

  • Boom Boom

    Folks gotta get educated on the hybrids on the market. Toyota has a Highland Hybrid SUV and the Lexus RX400h. Ford has the Escape Hybrid SUV (which was the first Hybrid SUV on the market). It has a twin called the Mercury Mariner. GM has the Saturn Vue, but most folks agree that it is joke due to the weak battery and minimal fuel savings.

    Everybody is talkin’ big about hybrid this and that, but thus far VW has yet to put a hybrid on the roads. I think that VW doesn’t have to worry much about cost since their customers already pay a big premium for the European style and name, so they’ll pay the extra for the hybrid image as well.

  • Anonymous

    u cant even get VW to bring a 2dr golf TDI back to america good luck w/ a this.

  • Boom Boom

    The majority of hybrids built worldwide are sold in the US. If VW builds a hybrid, you can be sure they’ll send it over here. They’ve been cautious on the TDIs because most folks in the US think diesels are big, dirty and for trucks (and they had emissions issues). As that changes, VW will move more TDIs here.

    Car companies are going to be cautious, but the companies that survive the coming shift in the auto industry will be the ones which are willing to take the risks and make a car that people want before they know they want it. The US industry did that with the Minivan in the 80s and the SUV in the 90s. Japanese Auto just followed both of these trends (and to their credit, improved on the original). Toyota and Honda have led the way on hybrids and efficiency. We’ll see if they can stay out in front…..

  • domboy

    This just might be the PR type of stunt needed to get diesel cars back in the green here in the US – if it’s a hybrid, well then, it HAS to be green! ‘Cause we’ve all been brainwashed by the media to think that! And they tell us Diesel cars are BAD, DIRTY, SMOKEY, bleck!! Of course, I think otherwise, but I’m in the minority. Good luck VW! I hope it’s a success. Of course, I hope the new TDI’s coming this year are a hit.

  • Doug

    I’m not sure I agree that the media paints diesels as clattering smokepots, but they do convey the aura that they are eclectic, oddball devices, aren’t as fast as gas engines, and they keep recalling GM’s unfortunate early venture into passenger car diesels.

    All people seem to picture is the black smoke poured out by old dump trucks and buses with bad injectors. Then they hear about the diesel’s fuel economy and check out the option, only to find that there’s a stiff upcharge at the showroom and a 50-80 cent per gallon penalty at the pump, neatly canceling out the MPG savings. Bye-bye.

    Business-oriented buyers of 2500 and F-250+ pickups pretty much embrace diesels despite the cost issues because they perform much better under high loads. Both speed and fuel economy at the same time. Thanks to the new diesel fuel and emissions laws in the U.S. though, diesels no longer deal as well with stop-and-go, light-load usage. In my mind, this should make new diesels a problem for local errands in little cars. They’d need to be a little undersized so they’d be worked harder more of the time, but car testers would hate that and pan them even more.

    Bottom line, I think the biggest impediment to acceptance that diesels face is comparative fuel cost. It’s cheaper to refine, and is vital to our infrastructure, but since the majority of registered voters clamor about gas prices, the refiners go for gasoline and simply pocket the extra profit diesel brings them. Congress only gurgles indignance over gas prices. Refiners claim that they have to gouge for diesel because there can be comparatively so little of it as a production priority. Law of supply and demand, market forces, etc. No wonder gas company profits have doubled each year since 2003. If diesel prices were linked to true production costs, I think the general acceptance of diesels would ramp up nicely, media or no media interference.

  • Anonymous

    Volkswagen made a good decision in bringing up their own hybrid model. But unit sales may vary on their tag price. The Toyota Prius is the best-selling hybrid because it’s just under $30,000. However, if the VW diesel hybrid’s price is as costly as Volkswagen Toureg cylinder head gasket, car shoppers might go for cheaper hybrdis.

  • jake

    electric (300 mpg equiv) $27,000 http://www.aptera.com

    Loremo AG: Sporty 157 mpg Diesel $13,000
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/02/loremo_ag_157_m.php

  • Huron

    Good point. I’ve owned two VW diesels and am very excited about an economical diesel hybrid that is not extremely small. The diesel Tourareg has blown me away with its purchase price and low miles per gallon so I hope Volkswagon does a lot better this time.

  • Harry

    it will have a 1.2 l diesel engine.

    http://uk.cars.yahoo.com/06032008/62/golf-tdi-hybrid-concept-0.html

    (a 2.0 l diesel would produce about 136bhp, even without the electric motor boost, and would not get anywhere near the 83mpg (imperial))

    Diesels are now as common if not more so in europe than petrol (sorry, ‘gas’)

  • Jacob

    How much could it possibly be? My wife’s 2.0T Jetta was around $32k (yes, for a Jetta) by the time we got it out the door. I would gladly pay that much for a car that touts this kind of efficiency!

  • omn1potent

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Release it in Golf, Jatta and Polo format in Australia asap! What about a LPG-Hybrid vehicle?

  • FowVayJay

    I do not know which Americans you can be talking about. I am born and bred in the USA, even though I speak some broken German. My first two cars were diesel Jettas and I still love them to this day. I would jump at the chance to drive a hybrid diesel, especially a VW. Love that car! Farvergnugen forever! I declare this day that YES, THERE IS A MARKET! Achtung, Freunden vom Wolfsburg! Bitte geben Sie uns das Diesel Hybrid VW! Wir mochten es kaufen!

  • Costa

    I can only pray that they will allow this to come to the US. Would be nice to have it in a 2dr (GTi) body but I highly doubt they will allow this to come here though. These oil company’s do not want to make less money. So anything they can do to avoid this, they will.

    My memory may be off but wasn’t GM’s EV1 (built for California) a success but later destroyed by these oil company’s? I could have sworn that they recalled them all and tossed them into a shredder.
    Just a FYI, not everyone in US wants some big SUV that has trivial acceleration, guzzles gas like its nothing, and handles like garbage. Bigger does not mean safer.

    A guy ran a stop sign and slammed into my Passat. His Ford Explorer flipped over and was completely destroyed. I swear, all that metal and yet it crumbled like a piece of paper. Sure, the guy lived, but his bran new SUV was totaled unlike my 95′ VW. I drove her home just fine while he had his “safe” SUV towed away.

  • MNDaveW

    I believe they sold about three times as many Priuses as the “experts” predicted. If I were making Priuses, I would keep mum on the huge demand. This VW is a whole next level. a hybrid with biodiesel in its future — wow. Toyota thinks Americans don’t want a plug-in. I hope VW adds a plug and eats Toyota’s lunch.

  • passatdriver

    I think this is fabulous news! Any technology that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels is worth the price when you look at the big picture. As with any new technology, the price will moderate over time. Rock on, VW!

  • Kai Green

    Air Powered Cars are the way forward. No need for batteries; No need for consumables such as Petrol, Diesel, and whatever other fuel sources that may be used in Fuel Cell vehicles.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmqpGZv0YT4&eurl=http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/videos/air-borne-cars/

    If in the future.. we could organize our societies to run solar panel arrays to power air compressors in order to fill these babies up for free… then imagine the social changes?!?

  • Jerome

    In the future people will dream big fantastic dreams about using solar panels to power air compressors to “air up” their cars. When the world population doubles from where it is at today and every single person (even people outside the USA and Europe; the majority of the worlds population) wants to buy a car to drive, and every single one of these cars is going to need to be “aired up”, solar panels may not cut it. Unless you never want to see the sun again :).

    People think of fossil fuels as the root of all evil nowadays. The only problem is that in order to sustain the the lifestyles that we take for granted (in the developed world), we need something that actually produces an enorous amount of energy, such as gasoline, diesel, coal, nuclear (oh no you didn’t just say the “n” word), or hydrogen (boom hear comes the boom).

    Americans especially (don’t worry I am just as guilty as the next person) like to own and drive their own personal car and commute an hour to and from work. Correct me if I’m wrong but this is probably not the best use of a precious resource such as gasoline or diesel.

    My opinion is that VW has the right idea for the short term, but mass public transit is the future of transportation. Efficiency on large scale!!!! Victory is mine!

  • David jones

    GM does have another Hybrid SUV it is a Tahoe. Where have you been? If you look a little further you will also notice that the Silverado is being produced as a Hybrid and should be availabe later this year.

  • mike1

    Affordablity is stiil a huge issue with alternativ hybrids especially now that the gas prices are heading south again.
    Webmaster – diesel generator

  • just me

    I’ve like to know if Governments like Germany in this case pump lots of money to these companies to develop this amazing technologies. As we know big 2.25 American companies get huge amounts of money from the government just for even coming up with an idea. I currently own the new Jetta TDI and also owned an older TDI amazing cars. I don’t see another gasser on my driveway ever again. For those of you not familiar with diesel tech did you know that in the event of an accident your diesel will not catch fire due to an accident, diesel is not flammable by itself there has to be a factor for diesel to catch fire something to think about next time you decide to buy a car big safety factor.

  • Wes

    Why should anyone even have a criticism about turbo-diesel hybrids. If cost is a problem, whether it’s the cost of the car or the fuel, remember that’s YOUR problem. This is not meant for the usual uninformed pennypinchers who make very little money unless they happen to work for the car company itself.

  • Mark W

    It’s funny that many in the states sill perceive diesels as nothing more than black smoke puffing rattle boxes. Once the public becomes informed about modern clean diesels they will realize how economical and efficient they are.

  • Max Cassidy

    You were wrong.

  • Don Pooper

    Well, a couple of years has passed since I first saw this thread. No VW TDI hybrids. Just some stoopid coupe design. WTF, VW? Give me a f*cking Golf and/or Jetta TDI Hybrid!!! I will gladly pay the additional price cuz I’m a rich sumbitch! I don’t wanna drive no stoopid Porsche Cayenne Hybrid nonesense cuz the tree huggers in Ann Arbor, MI will get jealous and probably throw dung at me as I drive by their little mini-gardens of pot on my way to work.
    Just build the TDI Hybrid (Tourag would be nice, too) and I’ll buy 3 of them at any price. Just do it cuz you’re losing market share. I know you sell more cars worldwide than anybody, but why not steal some more market share from Toy-rota and Hon-do-it. Why not, I ask, why not??? Grow a pair for Chr*st’s sake!

  • Al gibson

    wow! this article is way old and misleading… TDI- hybrid in 09?
    it’s late 2010 almost 2011 and nothing.
    diesel-hybrid must come out soon.

    the people should be outraged