Welcome to the leading source for news and details on Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche hybrid and electric vehicles. The first hint that VW was going to make a hybrid was the VW Golf TDI hybrid concept car. VW ended up making their first production hybrid the 2011 VW Touareg hybrid (since discontinued) and 2011 Porsche Cayenne S hybrid. The next hybrid was the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta hybrid. There have been interesting concepts from Audi but their first production hybrid will be the Audi Q5 quattro hybrid followed by the Audi A6 hybrid. The First hybrid from Audi for sale in North America is the Audi Q5 hybrid. VW will soon introduce a VW Golf hybrid and VW Golf electric car in North America – it’s already been released in Europe so stay tuned and visit the forum!
Porsche is also part of Volkswagen Auto Group (VAG) which is why it shares the Touareg hybrid system. They’re researching full electric cars to go up against Tesla. Feel free to ask any questions in the Porsche hybrid forums!
The front page is a blog that will keep you updated on Audi, Porsche, and VW hybrid/electric vehicle news. Click on categories to view past articles sorted by that category. The forum is just getting started and needs your input! Also check out the buying guides for detailed info about the VW/Audi/Porsche hybrids that you won’t find in the sales brochure or reviews. Please check back often as we are building an online community of Volkswagen – Audi – Porsche hybrid fans!
This has not been a good month for Volkswagen. Springtime is a time for auto sales and VW’s are down 12% compared to last year. Dealers are unhappy because of the diesel fiasco which has tarnished the whole brand and possibly killed the diesel movement in North America. The new CEO has promised that VW aims to be a mass market car, this compensating dealer franchisees for their investment in new showrooms and lower sales through no fault of their own.
Meanwhile, Tesla unveils the Model 3 and 24 hours later, has 250,000 deposits of $1,000 for an all electric car starting at $35,000 that they’re not getting until 2017 (average ordered price is $42,000). VW has the e-Golf for sale now, starting at roughly $30,000. The Model 3 has a range of about 217 miles vs. the e-Golf’s 83 miles and that is key. The Nissan Leaf has a comparable range and it hasn’t been the best seller either. I guess someone decided 83 miles was enough but the public has spoken – give us a model with at least 200 miles range.
The CES (consumer electronics show) was recently held in Las Vegas, showing lots of cool consumer electronics. One that always makes the news is the new car stuff. Cars are becoming platforms for their infotainment systems vs. a vehicle to get you from point A to point B. Tesla, Infiniti, Mercedes Benz, and BMW all have some level of “hands off” self driving cars. While these still require your hands to be at least occasionally on the steering wheel, they’re not without flaws and they sometimes try to send the car into traffic or off the road! The reason why is because they can’t possibly see all the conditions and anticipate things as well as a human.
Here’s a test: do you see a cat or a dog below?
A computer couldn’t! Computers are good at quickly calculating things with 99.99999% accuracy. But they don’t have any common sense. It wasn’t until last year that someone developed a computer program that can tell the difference between a cat and a dog, but only AFTER a human has programmed and taught what’s a cat and what’s a dog. NPR 2014 While this sounds like a simple problem, it’s actually a major breakthrough. The guy who wrote it was quickly hired by Facebook as head of AI. So far it’s the only thing that has come close to solving this common sense problem.
Audi recently tested their autonomous RS7 racing car…if you don’t trust a self driving car on the road, would you trust it at 140 mph? Even though the car will race on a track better than most people, it still needs to be “trained” what the left and right boundaries of the track are, and even still, can’t race as good as a professional because there are limitations on adapting how a human can. For example, if a deer runs out onto the track, you get smashed deer. What if another car spins out or rubber track marbles get throwing into the camera? A blind car moving at deadly speeds.
The point is that computers can do a task that was previously extremely difficult, as long as it’s within strict parameters and taught by a human what to look for. There are simply too many variables and unknowns for a computer to deal with, to safely drive on the public roads….for now. I’m sure someone will solve it but it’s much farther off than the recent demos at the CES would suggest.
Porsche has released some interesting electric concept cars and their North American CEO, Klaus Zellmer, has commented that they can do it better than Tesla in an interview with Fortune magazine. Their timeline for an all electric car is by the end of this decade. He also quoted research that says the combustion engine will start to be displaced by full electric cars and plug-ins around 2027. While that seems like a big number, that’s only 11 years away! With gas prices at record lows, is there enough momentum to develop this technology?
Tesla cars sell great but it’s a niche market due to the price and limitations of an all electric car. I could see Porsche being a viable contender to Tesla though. Porsche usually go for $60-150k, depending on the model and options. Tesla also go for $60k AFTER incentives like tax credits ($75k before), and up to about $110k for their loaded model (more power, better range). So they occupy the same price bracket. Now Porsche only needs to make a car!
Volkswagen will offer one of the world’s first compact cars with gesture control functionality; new infotainment system has a configurable 9.2-inch home screen
• New infotainment system with gesture control to be launched in compact cars
• Configurable home screen with interactive tiles enables driver-selectable preferences
• Tiles can be configured for any of ten different functions (e.g. Music, Phone)
• “Electronic voice amplification” allows easy communication with back-seat passengers
• Personalization settings can be saved to the cloud for access in other Volkswagen models
Las Vegas, January 2016 — Volkswagen returns to CES 2016 with two ground-breaking, zero-emissions vehicles: the BUDD-e concept and the e-Golf Touch. BUDD-e is a concept vehicle that will take CES attendees on a quick time-hop to the year 2019. In contrast, the e-Golf Touch, with its next-generation infotainment system, shows that technologies showcased at CES 2015 are close to production.
Additionally, Volkswagen will introduce numerous electronic innovations at CES 2016, to debut in the very near future. These developments illustrate how cars are currently undergoing immense transformations via electronics. New innovations control drive functions, allow driver assistance features to react faster, and increase connectivity by bringing the Internet into the car. Other technologies will transform instruments, displays and controls allowing for a new level of functionality.
Interactive Human Machine Interface (HMI) functions make new communication channels between humans and cars possible—and natural. Devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart watches and cameras have become omnipresent in our everyday lives, and are being integrated into the car in new ways. This fusion is accelerated by more powerful computers and increasingly intelligent software, resulting in evolutionary leaps that are destined to transform the automobile.
Bringing gesture control to mass production cars
The Golf R Touch concept car that was shown at CES 2015 was the first production-based Volkswagen to feature a gesture control system. With the introduction of the e-Golf Touch, Volkswagen presents a more advanced generation of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) and for the first time, an early series-production preview of this new intuitive control technology. The e-Golf Touch features the latest version of MIB with a 9.2- inch high-resolution display (1280 x 640 pixels). All functions and displays are embedded in a sophisticated, clear glass surface.
Facing the driver are four touch-sensitive buttons (Menu, Home, Car, App) and a push-rotary switch. The system’s 8.2-inch wide and 4.1-inch high home screen consists of a large main area as well as two configurable tiles on the right of the home screen. Each tile area, sized 1.7 inches high and 2.4 inches wide, can be assigned any of ten different functions. They can include Media (including cover art) or phone (including photo caller ID). It is also possible to drag the main area out to fill the entire home screen, displaying the full navigation map or smartphone integration platforms such as MirrorLinkTM, Android AutoTM or Apple CarPlay®, through Volkswagen’s Car-Net® App-Connect interface.
The e-Golf Touch also marks the debut of Volkswagen’s latest generation voice control technology. This system offers significantly improved controls, as voice commands are displayed on the screen to accompany the request. This new version of the voice control system will be launched in the early summer of 2016 in Europe.
Volkswagen will also be the first manufacturer to present a new “Keyword Activation” voice recognition function in the e-Golf Touch. This feature allows the driver to start voice recognition simply by saying “Hello Volkswagen”, or similar, to the system. This eliminates the need for physical activation.
In the context of electric cars, we typically think of inductive charging as related to the car’s battery. But in the case of the e-Golf Touch, this process refers to smartphones and similar devices, as Volkswagen has integrated an inductive charging system into the mobile phone tray, under the infotainment system. For the first time on a Volkswagen model, it is also possible to wirelessly charge smartphones in the back seats, via the rear armrests. The e-Golf Touch is equipped with a new USB Type C port, permitting high-speed USB data transfer while simultaneously charging the phone. This feature drastically reduces the time it takes to recharge.
Electronic Voice Amplification
The electronic voice amplification used in the e-Golf Touch improves in-car acoustics, making it easier for the driver and front-seat passenger to talk to back-seat passengers. The system uses the hands-free microphone in conjunction with the rear speakers. The volume of the electronic voice amplification is also automatically adjusted to suit the speed of the vehicle. If the music volume is very high, the volume of the electronic voice amplification is reduced.
The range of functionality for the Exit Screen will increase considerably with this new infotainment system. For the first time, the exit screen will offer personalized, simplified access (one touch) to functions relevant to the real world, in real time. This makes it possible, for example, to program the auxiliary heating system within a matter of seconds, as the infotainment system displays the predefined settings for a predetermined length of time. Volkswagen will offer the Exit screen functionality in all future generations of vehicles. An individually configurable entry screen is also currently under development.
Personalization 2.0: The number of convenience and assistance systems and the associated range of configurability increases with every new vehicle generation. Many of these systems are individually adjusted, and used by different drivers of the same car. Invariably, this means that settings have to be constantly reset. Volkswagen conceived Personalization 2.0 to solve this challenge. This allows individual settings for one driver to be saved in a user account, then saved to the cloud via Volkswagen Car-Net ID.
If that driver then gets into another compatible Volkswagen, they can simply load his or her Car-Net ID settings in the infotainment system, activating them in the new vehicle. This effectively means that drivers will always have their own individual settings with them, which is especially handy for use in rentals, company cars, or even within families. Using the Volkswagen Car-Net ID app also makes it possible to change your settings in your user account and save the updates to the cloud. The app can be used to familiarize users with a new Volkswagen in advance. All user data is protected against unauthorized access by utilizing advanced third-party encryption and can be deleted quickly by accessing the app.
Media Control, Generation 3.0: Volkswagen Media Control is the rear-seat entertainment system of the future. The app allows control of almost all infotainment functions through a tablet device. Simply connect a tablet via the vehicle’s WiFi hotspot, and passengers are able to control various features such as the radio, all media sources (USB, CD, DVD, hard drive, online song search) and factory-installed navigation. This third generation of Media Control will launch this summer in Europe, and adds several additional features, including:
• Video streaming between tablets.
• Remote control of the media that is playing on tablets via the infotainment system. This makes it possible to play a film simultaneously on two separate tablets in the back, which a great feature for traveling with children.
• Audio streaming a playlist via tablet or smartphone to the infotainment system (synchronized audio playback via the vehicle’s speakers). The current playlist can be customized by all in-car users of the app, via compatible devices.
Car-Net® App Connect and WiFi: Volkswagen Car-Net® App Connect is the brand’s advanced smartphone integration platform that allows for seamless integration from your device to the vehicle. When linked to the infotainment system, the Telephone app can be used—via the system’s touchscreen—with a graphic interface that mirrors that of the smartphone being used. Similarly, the voice control which is available on several smartphone operating systems, map or music apps can also be used in the same manner. Through Car-Net® App Connect and the MirrorLinkTM, Android AutoTM and Apple CarPlay® integrated platforms, the system is compatible with most available smartphones currently available. Previously it was necessary to connect the smartphone to the infotainment system via a cable. With Volkswagen’s introduction of the second-generation ofCar-Net®AppConnect&WiFi,userscantakeadvantageofwirelesssmartphoneintegration. Oncethe function has been configured, the smartphone can be left in the user’s handbag or jacket pocket. On longer journeys it is, of course, advisable to put the smartphone in the Volkswagen’s wireless inductive charging cradle to supply it with constant power.
Volkswagen Car-Net® Updates: The various online services offered by Volkswagen Car-Net® include the Guide & Inform, Security & Service, App Connect and e-Remote packages. At CES 2016, Volkswagen is showing a number of new programs and add-on features for Volkswagen Car-Net.
• Car-Net App Features. The e-Remote feature, developed for Volkswagen’s plug-in hybrid and electric cars, will be reconfigured, and will soon be available for other VW models. As part of this process, the app’s functions are being expanded to be integrated into existing Car-Net® app functions. One of the app’s new functions is named Calendar Import. When information about a destination is imported from your smartphone, the data can be transferred to the navigation system’s Frequent Routes menu, if so desired. From there, the data can be integrated directly into the route guidance. Another new extension is Intelligent Route Planning, where the app calculates an optimal route to several selected POIs. The driver can enter several different stores as POIs in a certain order—for example a dry cleaner, jeweler and a supermarket. The Volkswagen Car-Net App will then automatically suggest the best and most efficient route and sends it directly to the infotainment system.
• New app for MirrorLinkTM. An extremely useful new program for MirrorLinkTM users is called My Rules. My Rules helps to complete important tasks, through a simple, logical “if this, then that” approach. Examples of this functionality include programing the app with requests like “Take me to the nearest gas station, as soon as my reserve indicator lights up”, “Play the song ‘Summer in the City’ when it is a clear, warm day”, or “message me to remember shopping I need to do this weekend.”
The focus of feature add-ons for Volkswagen includes the service aspect. The new Service assistant can recommend switching to winter tires after experiencing persistently low temperatures. The Charging assistant for electric cars shows charging stations within range and indicates how long it will take to charge. The Accident Note app helps to record all necessary information in case the worst should happen. Parking Position displays where the car is parked on its owner’s smartphone and can display walking directions through Google Street View. The Route Info app suggests charging stations that are along a planned route, and provides information on the applicable road traffic rules when you cross a national border. The Calendar assistant can be used to manage the availability of a shared company car online with your colleagues.
Smartphone Notifications: Volkswagen has come up with a solution that allows drivers to stay informed, legally and without being distracted, through smartphone notifications. If the driver wants to know more, the notification can be read out fully. At speeds below 3 mph the whole notification is displayed. Above 4 mph this function is deactivated for safety reasons, in which case only the headlines or the first few words of the message are displayed.
• Social media notifications. Volkswagen presents a two-stage extension of smartphone notifications, which will not only allow the driver to have social media notifications from Facebook and Twitter displayed, but to reply to them immediately:
Step 1: The driver can reply to Facebook and Twitter updates displayed as pop-up messages, using a reply option. Reply options correspond to common social network interactions, such as retweeting. In the near future, it will also be possible to reply via voice command. While stationary, it is possible to enter free text using a keyboard.
Step 2: In the second stage of the extension, the car will be given its own identity, as well as a Twitter account. The car can then post messages itself, though the driver will still be required to approve them. If the vehicle’s speed falls below 12 mph for a predetermined length of time, the car could, for example, tweet “Wow, traffic is bad! Sorry guys, I’m going to be late. I’m at a crawl.” If the temperature falls below freezing and the car’s stability control system is active, the message could be: “Hey guys, drive carefully. It’s freezing here and getting slippery! #Thanks, ESC.” This allows friends and family who “follow” the car to stay informed about the state of the vehicle and the surrounding road conditions.
The new Audi TT moved its battery to the rear and connects it to the engine compartment with aluminum battery cables. The marketing materials in the press release said using aluminum wire reduced weight and moving the battery to the rear improves the weight distribution front-rear. Normal cars use copper wire for the battery. This got me thinking – are there any other possible benefits/drawbacks of moving the battery to the rear and using aluminum instead of copper?
First, are their claims true? Yes. Most cars are front engined and moving it to the rear balances the car better. the heavy battery also takes up space. Moving it to the rear also frees up underhood space. European pedestrian impact laws dictate a minimum space between the hood and any hard spots and this requirement has hit sports cars especially hard by raising their hoods and making the lose their low sporty hoods.
One downside is that it takes up rear room and it requires some kind of access compartment to seal it off from the cabin. This is because batteries contain lead and acid which can give off toxic fumes. I hope that the trunk is not electrically actuated or has an easy to find manual release because if the battery dies, how are you going to open the trunk to get access to charge the battery? Before you say who would implement such a stupid design, Porsche sports cars are well known for this. The trunk cannot be opened without electricity and the manual release is behind the wheel well plastic which requires wheel removal and trim removal. The trick is that you have to connect a special fuse in the fusebox to a charger to get enough juice to pop the trunk. German engineering, lol.
Another downside is that the battery must transmit the juice all the way to the engine compartment instead of just a short distance from the battery to the starter. I’m just using the starter as an example because cold engine starts are one of the most strenuous things the battery will be subjected to. There’s a reason batteries have CCA or cold cranking amps stamped on them and not “turn on the radio” amps.
This brings me to the reason I typed aluminum or copper wire in the title. Which do hybrids and EV use? I’m not sure but I just got a great idea for my next article, lol. Could switching to aluminum wires save weight and increase fuel economy? Since so much energy flows through the electrical system on a hybrid or EV, would it make a difference?
Aluminum saves weight but copper prices have been high recently and most importantly, copper has a lower resistivity than aluminum! I realize the Audi TT will save a few pounds and gain a tiny bit of fuel economy by that weight loss with aluminum battery cables. However, the greater resistance of aluminum also wastes electricity which will result in a tiny (really tiny) loss of fuel economy and moving the battery to the rear will cause a voltage drop which might require the use of a larger (and heavier) battery. The actual cables have to be thicker but because aluminum is lighter than copper, it saves 6 pounds according to Audi.
I assume the engineers have done the math and the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. That said, are aluminum battery cables in the marketing brochure really a selling point? Does the average car buyer care, know the different, or will ever see the battery cables?
VOLKSWAGEN UNVEILS THE PLUG-IN HYBRID GOLF GTE
Feb 20, 2014
New plug-in hybrid marries sustainability and performance
- Golf GTE can be driven up to 31 miles in all-electric mode; the total theoretical driving range is 584 miles
- European Driving Cycle combined fuel economy of 157 mpg
- System has 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque
- GTE is the third GT in the Golf model series, following GTI and GTD
- Golf GTE has a top speed of 135 mph and accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just 7.6 seconds
Wolfsburg / Geneva, March 2014 — Volkswagen is the first automaker worldwide to offer a model line with a full range of conventional and alternative powertrains. The new Golf GTE plug-in hybrid, which will be presented at the Geneva International Motor Show (March 4 to 16, 2014) is the fifth powertrain to be offered in the Golf, adding to gasoline, diesel, CNG and full electric versions. The Golf GTE has an NEDC hybrid combined fuel economy rating of 157 mpg (equivalent to 35 g of CO2) and has an all-electric range of 31 miles along with an overall range of 584 miles.
GTI, GTD, GTE. The Golf GTE name is in line with the GTI and GTD abbreviations—two sporty icons of the Golf range. The first GTI in 1976 invented the term “hot hatch” and is currently the most successful compact sports car in the world. The “I” in the name stands for electronic fuel injection while the “D” in GTD, introduced for the first time in 1982, stands for diesel fuel injection. The latest versions of these two best-selling Golf sports cars were introduced in 2013. Now Volkswagen has transferred its sporty compact car philosophy to a third model—the Golf GTE.
The new Golf GTE has two engines: a 1.4-liter 148 horsepower turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine and a 101 hp electric motor. These combine to provide the stated system power of 201 hp. If the electric motor is the sole source for propulsive power, the Golf GTE is capable of speeds of up to 81 mph. When the full power of the system is harnessed, the GTE sprints from 0 to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and achieves a top speed of 135 mph on the autobahn and race courses. Of more significance is the superior pulling power of the Golf GTE thanks to its alliance of a gasoline engine and electric motor that produces a maximum torque of 258 lb-ft. This torque sets this first “GTE” apart from other plug-in hybrid models.
Despite its power and torque, the Golf GTE remains one of the world’s most efficient cars. If you mainly run short distances, you can drive in emissions-free all-electric mode for days, weeks, and months. The battery takes about three and a half hours to charge fully from a conventional wall outlet.
If the battery is charged using a wallbox or a public charging station, the charging time is shortened to approximately two and a half hours. Thanks to the control options on the Golf GTE, the driver can also ensure on longer trips that only the electric motor is used in an urban area.
The automobile revolution has a name – MQB. The variety of products in the Golf lineup— TSI (including GTI), TDI® (including GTD), TGI (powered by CNG), e-Golf, and Golf GTE—is made possible by the modular transverse matrix, abbreviated to MQB. This modular technology platform, initially introduced with the current Golf in 2012, is synonymous with an automotive revolution because Volkswagen engineers have created the prerequisites for a high-volume model, such as the Golf, to accept all drive types. This explains why Golf models with gasoline, diesel, natural gas, electric and hybrid drives can be manufactured from bumper to bumper at Volkswagen factories. As soon as developments make it possible, the first Golf with a hydrogen fuel cell will become part of the range.
Golf GTE plug-in hybrid system
As mentioned, the new Golf GTE is driven by a 148-hp TSI turbocharged and direct-injection gasoline engine and a 101-hp electric motor. The electric motor is supplied with power from a high-voltage 8.8 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that is charged from a socket behind the VW logo in the radiator grille. The battery weighs 265 pounds, or about eight percent of the GTE’s 3360-pound curb weight. The GTE has a six-speed DSG® automatic transmission that was developed specifically for hybrid vehicles.
Volkswagen integrated the electric motor in the transmission housing. Additional hybrid drive components also include the power electronics (which converts the battery’s direct current to alternating current for the electric motor) and a charger. An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air-conditioning compressor safeguard optimal and energy-efficient operation of the brakes and air conditioning, especially for the GTE’s “e-mode”.
The Golf GTE can be driven in various intuitively named modes. For instance, the driver can push a button to intentionally switch to the “e-mode” which makes the Golf GTE a zero-emissions vehicle. The driver can also use the button to switch to “GTE mode”, which activates the sporty side of this new Golf.
Design and features
The Golf GTE contains a pioneering, environmentally friendly, and sporty plug-in hybrid system. All of this is combined with a suspension that offers equally sporty handling and high levels of comfort.
Exterior. Volkswagen Head Designer Klaus Bischoff’s crew created a look that merges GTI insignia with those of the e-Golf, creating an unmistakable identity. Klaus Bischoff explains the differences: “The presence of the electric drive is visually expressed by the prominent C-signature of the daytime running lights on the Golf GTE. Meanwhile, all other front design elements bridge to the GTI.”
In those places where red dominates on the GTI, blue is used in the GTE. Bischoff continues: “A radiator crossbar running into the headlights provides further sporty accents within the context of Volkswagen electric mobility.” Like the e-Golf, the four-door Golf GTE will launch with LED dual headlights as standard. The turn signals, parking light, and smoked numberplate lighting also use LED technology. Side skirts and a roof-edge spoiler provide further parallels with the GTI and GTD. Meanwhile, the aerodynamic 16-inch (standard), 17-inch, and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels were designed especially for the GTE.
Interior. Like the exterior, the sporty interior of the Golf GTE reveals a clear relationship to its other two GT series counterparts. However, just as on the exterior, the interior’s red accents have also turned to blue. Klaus Bischoff says: “Volkswagen’s e-mobility color of blue creates attractive contrasts in the car’s seating, decorative seams, and material design. Moreover, the blue ambience lighting builds a visual bridge to the world of e-mobility.” The light blue decorative seams on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, on the edges of the floormats, on the seats, and on the shifter grip are perfectly matched with the exterior features of the Golf GTE.
Golf GTE-specific instruments and displays
Touchscreen. All Golf cars are equipped with a touchscreen. In the case of the Golf GTE the high-resolution 6.5-inch “Composition Media” radio system is standard. The “Discover Pro” radio-navigation system is available as an option. Both units are equipped with many additional functions on the GTE. These include a “driving range monitor”, an “energy flow display”, “zero emission statistics”, “e-manager”, and—with the optional navigation system—the “360° driving range”. Additionally, all Golf GTE owners can download the “Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote” app to their smartphone free-of-charge and use it to control functions and access information.
Driving range monitor: shows the current electric driving range of the GTE as well as the additional driving range potential from deactivating any auxiliary features that consume electricity.
Energy flow display: shows the power flow when accelerating (blue arrows) and when braking or regenerating (green arrows) as animated graphics.
e-manager: can program up to three departure and charging times; the Golf GTE ensures the set temperature and battery charge status at a defined time. Parallel to this, heating or cooling of the interior can be activated using standard air-conditioning while charging. Air conditioning therefore does not hinder the battery charging process, thereby extending the electric range.
360° range: the current radius in “e-mode” is shown by the 360° range in the local map. The inner area shows the range for an outward and return trip, the outer area the range for a one-way drive. Charging stations can be displayed and incorporated in the route as intermediate stopovers.
Car-Net e-Remote. Using the “Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote” app it is also possible to make several of these settings and requests for information via a smartphone or the Car-Net website. In detail, the app can program the departure time, air conditioning, charging the battery, accessing vehicle data, and the vehicle’s status.
Power meter. The power meter supplements the tachometer on the left-hand side of the instrument cluster; it displays how much system power is currently being used or the intensity of battery regeneration. The speedometer remains on the right-hand side. The color display which is located between the power meter and the speedometer (multifunction display “Plus”) also permanently shows the electrical driving range and the current operating mode.
The German price and final specs have been released which have allowed me to make a guess at estimated pricing in the US. This is just my personal guess but it’s an educated guess. I took the German price of the Audi A3 e-tron, subtracted sales tax (VAT), adjusted for the US market, and ended up at $37,000 after tax credits of about $4,500. The price you pay sales tax on is $42,000 which is close to my original total wild guess of $40,000.
The Golf hybrid uses the same drivetrain and battery as the Audi A3 etron so I have to use the same guess but adjust it downwards to account for a VW brand discount. Adding that to a basic Golf results in about $33-36,000 before tax credits, or roughly $29-31,000 after tax credits.
http://forum.evwaudi.com/threads/audi-a3-e-tron-hybrid-price-in-us-after-federal-income-tax-credits.200/ Here is my longer forum post with how I arrived at the Audi A3 numbers including references. Here’s the Golf estimate in detail: http://forum.evwaudi.com/threads/vw-golf-hybrid-price-in-us-after-federal-income-tax-credits.201/
Today, Tesla is the shining example of an electric car company. Their stock is doing great, they’re funded and managed well, and have a good public image. Anyone who’s interested in cars has heard of the Tesla. Unfortunately, they’re the exception to the rule. Coda and Fisker are among the big car companies that went under recently. Fisker still owes hundreds of millions to its creditors and Codas are still being sold, albeit in liquidation mode. And Mitsubishi motors is trying to carve a niche in this area? (check out the i-Miev) Good luck to them.
But Tesla is not like any other car company. They only sell one model, don’t have independent dealerships, and actually make some money selling CARB credits to other companies….$40 million worth! Because they earn more credits than they could ever use (because they don’t sell gas cars), they sell them to other car manufacturers who bank them to avoid paying a penalty in the future. While the other car manufactures don’t currently need them now, they’re banking them now, especially since they could resell them other. It’s not like Porsche which at one point, was more of a finance company which happened to sell cars, but it helps their bottom line, about 10% of revenue. Tesla does currently make a profit.
Tesla also partnered with Toyota and Mercedes for battery and drivetrain development. The relevance of partnership is more crucial than ever because of economies of scale, costs to develop new platforms, and the fact that so much more technology is going into each model. Independent manufacturers like BMW and Mazda may be squeezed out as the world shrinks, forcing them to partner to survive.
On a side note, Tesla operates different, not just because they were founded like a tech company instead of an old school manufacturer. I was reading a Tesla forum and the service department actually reads and monitors the forum. Some owners complained online about a braking issue and when they went to the dealership, they were advised they had logged an issue which would be checked, despite never having made a complaint. This isn’t possible when you have millions of sales vs. a few ten thousand vehicles but it shows they care and are carefully monitoring social networking for online feedback.
What does this all mean for VW Auto Group (VAG) since this is a VW-Audi-Porsche hybrid forum and blog? Although VW has smaller sales in the US, they have very large brand awareness since VAG owns Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, and Bugatti. In other countries they also own Seat, Skoda, and are partners with VW China. China requires foreign car manufactures to partner with a local company. Even if VAG loses money on each car, the credits could make it worth it, ignoring the research and manufacturing lessons learned. VW Touareg/Porsche Cayenne hybrid sales have been few and their first mass market car, the VW Jetta hybrid hasn’t found sales success. Do I think they care? Not a bit- prepare for the Golf hybrid/A3 E-tron and a lot more EV and hybrid models from VAG.
To understand the current climate for hybrid and electric cars, you have to look at the background story. This is part 2 of “why all electric and hybrid cars now”. See part 1 here
Electric cars were actually more popular than gas cars at the beginning of the 1900s. The infrastructure for electricity was in place and gasoline stations were not available everywhere. Roads and highways were in very poor condition and the rough conditions meant crossing the country by car was an adventure that you probably wouldn’t finish vs. today where it’s easier to fly. Check out Horatio’s Drive, the story of the first cross country drive in 1903. Most drivers used cars locally which meant the limited range of electric cars wasn’t such an issue.
Electric cars were also much easier to use. You unplugged the car, turned on the juice and went. No smoke to stink up your clothes and leave you covered in soot, no noise to startle horses, and no gear changes. This was before electric starters so gas cars required you to fill them up with gasoline (the vapors are highly flammable in open air), hand crank the engine, then adjust the engine running once it started. Hand cranking is difficult and dangerous because if the engine kicks back, the manual crank at the front of the car can violently jerk back and break your hand. This was also before synchronized manual transmissions so shifting required double clutching and matching engine rpm.
By the 1920s, cheaper gas, better roads, and the model T all helped bring about the decline of electric cars. By the mid 1930s, electric cars had effectively disappeared. Fuel economy was not a concern because gas was cheap and the economy healthy. The 70s gas crisis, economic decline during the 70s, and the rise of imports changed the car landscape and attitude towards fuel economy.
In 1990, the US passed the clean air act and California mandated a move towards some sales of zero emissions cars by major car manufacturers. While there were a few random cars made, the GM EV1 was the most visible one and became the poster child for the 90s EV. You could only lease them starting in 1996 but GM discontinued the program and repossessed, then destroyed the cars. Check out the movie “Who killed the electric car” for some additional reading. While there were reasons to believe GM self-sabotaged the car, a company is in business to stay in business and no definitive proof was ever found. The movie took it one step further and suggested that the oil industry helped kill the car. California’s zero emission mandate was killed in court by the major automakers and that was apparently the end of that.
Enter the Prius. Toyota laid out plans in 1992 and started work in early 1994 to create a hybrid. The concept car that would later become the Prius was presented at the 1995 Tokyo auto show. In 1997, the first generation Prius went on sale at a loss in Japan only. The revision of the first generation car went on sale in the US in 2001, also expected to sell at a loss. Then something happened – people actually bought the car in large numbers. Today, the Prius is the only major sales success for any hybrid. While there have been minor success and you could define success as making inroads into a market occupied by your competitor, the Prius is the standard by which other hybrids are measured.
What does this mean for pure electric vehicles? Stay tuned for part 3.