Volkswagen's Hybrid Future

September 25, 2007

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Auto industry pundits are frothing over Volkswagen’s promise to roll out hybrid technology across its entire vehicle lineup. In an interview with German auto industry weekly Automobilwoche, Ulrich Hackenberg, VW’s development head, explained that “future VW models will also be constructed with hybrid concepts.” Few details were provided about VW’s plans, but Hackenberg indicated that both full and mild hybrid versions of the company’s new small car platform would be developed.

It’s exciting to see Volkswagen take a page from the Toyota playbook and plan for hybrid versions of all of its models. But seeing is believing, and so far we haven’t seen much from VW.

Volkswagen collaborated with Porsche and Audi in the development of its hybrid powertrain, but is the last to announce when and where the technology will be deployed. (Audi plans to launch a hybrid version of its Q7 SUV in early 2009, and Porsche says a hybrid Cayenne SUV will be available the following year.)

VW has been a leader in diesel technology, but is quickly becoming a laggard in the diesel-hybrid field as both Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot announce plans to sell diesel-hybrid cars in 2010.

Hackenberg’s comments resemble Chrysler’s announcement about ENVI, a new subsidiary focused on developing electric drive and other advanced powertrains. Both are steps in the right direction, but neither includes much detail about products or launch timelines. If VW is serious about hybrids, it will need to issue more than press releases. The company will need to prove that it can build a hybrid vehicle that people want to buy.

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  • TSBinLV

    I’d love to see a diesel hybrid sold in America. I would by a veggie kit and burn used veggie oil. Why don’t they just make a model with the veggie kit built-in?

  • domboy

    Good for them. But they already have a clean fuel-effecient solution – the TDI engine. I wish they’d bring a lot more of those models to the US. They could do that fairly quickly without waiting to develope the whiz-bang technology. A guess we’re getting a couple new TDIs next year… a start.
    Oh, and what happened to Toyota’s plans to make hybrid versions of all their cars? We’re still waiting on that too…

  • Mike

    This for a company that once stated something along the lines of, “Hybrids suck, diesel is better…we have no intention of building a hybrid” …?

    Domboy is right…what happened to Toyota’s all-hybrid fleet?

  • Dave K.

    This is good news, like everyone else they don’t want to be left behind. As for Toyota they have built more hybrids than everyone else put together, what are you guys griping about? I actually think the unexpected success of the Prius has delayed the launch of other hybrid models, they only have so much component capacity.

  • Charles C.

    a diesel hybrid, would give us, the best of both technologies.
    cc

  • simon

    the most expensive of technologies…

  • yro

    Why should the engine drive the wheels…

  • yes motor in wheels

    put the electric motor in the wheel and a diesel generator under the hood. Battery in trunk.
    would this work for speeds up yo 65mph?

  • Anita

    I believe it was high time that VW should become hybrid, really !!!

  • The Magician

    I think that peoples need for speed is a bit ridiculous. Solar Power is by far the most abundant energy sorce on our planet. To think that people do not use solar vehicles because they are bulky and/or ugly is pathetic. Solar technology is only expensive for a few reasons: A- It is not being manufactured at a high enough rate to reduce cost. B- Once you have an efficiant solar vehicle the need for fuel no longer exist.

    To bad peoples demeanors are not bold enough to live in this fuel efficient utopia…

  • şaban

    ulan hybrıt araba yapın ulan benzıne para vermekten anamız agladı lan suyla calısan arabalar yapın ulan ınekler calısın

  • Solar

    Magician is right. Solar powered cars are the best because of the fact that the energy they use requires no gas at all. Many people need to stop and think about what will help the environment more.

  • John345

    I own 2 jetta tdi’s would love to see a diesel hybrid.

  • Toun

    that is great, but not soon enough.
    toyota and nissan is ahead of the industries for electric and hybrid cars. vw waited to long for hybrid most of the customer will not waited for that long, they are buying toyota and honda including nissan at this moment. so if vw and audi wanted to keep their loyal cutomer they have to come out soon since the gas prices will be in the 4 buck this 08 summer. i’m a vw cutomer for 7yrs since the hybrid car is made now i traded my 01 gti vr6 for a civic hybrid the car is smoother than my gti.
    that all thank for reading.

  • Someone

    This is all interesting, but how can we trust VW. Anyone see their Sedan, 2008 Passat in Consurmer Reports?

    It is rated 135% below average, compared to all in it’s class, yikes. I would not buy one.

    I personally will stick to Toyota, an easy 200,000+ mile vehicle.

  • hosea yusuf

    i want the vw to manufacture a solar cars that uses air condition

  • PJ Reddy

    It is unfortunate that VW is delaying the hybrid introduction. I remember that in the 1991 Frankfurt motor show they had displayed a diesel electric hybrid using a Bosch electric pancake motor in the slot where the flywheel is mounted. That was 17 years ago. I thought the germans are enviromentally ahead of other countries

  • Terry Knight

    VW has a diesel in the makes which is getting 70 mpg or better and had it since the 80s and now it’s on sale in Europe a. It seems there is always an excuse, Euro/U.S. dollar exchange; No one interested in a car which gets 70 miles per gallon in the U.S. etc.. I think it’s a copout… The vehicle could be made cheaper in the U.S. with unemployment on the rise everywhere throughout the United States (Company could pick and choose where to build the plant) with the price of shipping escalating. The demand is here…MAKE IT and they (buyers) will come… Mr. FORD had the right idea… If a worker can buy the vehicle he makes the company is going to make money but for this simple process to work the RICH or the people with the money must share some of the wealth! It takes a happy team…everyone from the top bottom.

  • A. Sherzad

    Hello evry one
    I think the VW which is the leader of diesel ingins, will make the best disel hybrid. I had a shran 98 model which used just 0.3 liter per 10 km. on long way.So with todays new super magnets, the new elctro magnetic motors will give the best power for any purpose.With fixing one motor in each wheel, the car will become as four wheel drive and also hybrid car.Thank you.
    A. Sherzad