Archive for February, 2013

VW Golf Hybrid rated at 188 mpg? A closer look at the fuel economy rating.

The VW Golf hybrid was just confirmed for model year 2014 and is rated at 188 mpg!  However, before you say this number can’t be real, it probably is and you probably won’t get that mpg except in optimum conditions.  I predict the fuel economy rating of the VW Golf hybrid will be in the 90 mpg-e (e for equivalent) range.  Maybe up to 100 mpg-e or high 80s, somewhere in that neighborhood.  How did I arrive at this number?

First, the 188 mpg rating is a projected number for the European driving cycle which favors city driving and benefits from things like engine start-stop features.  The US driving cycle does not gain anything from engine start-stop even though it will increase real world fuel economy.  So if your driving habits are mostly city where hybrids shine and less highway, expect a higher mpg-e and real world mpg.

Most of this is because the VW Golf hybrid will be a Chevy Volt style hybrid instead of a VW Jetta style hybrid or Prius hybrid.  The Golf has a 31 mile electric only range vs. the Volt’s 35 miles electric only range and 94 mpg-e rating.  The Jetta hybrid and Prius hybrid have an insignificant or limited electric only range.  Even the Prius plug-in hybrid with lithium ion batteries has only an 11 mile electric only range and is rated at 95 mpg-e.

So even though the plug-in Prius has a very short electric only range, it still gets a high mpg-e rating in the 90s.  So I’m calling the VW Golf hybrid mpg-e rating in the 90 mpg-e range, or as the Chevy Volt calls it, 200 mpg!

No Comments

Mitsubishi and their hybrid struggle

Does anyone remember Mitsubishi cars?  They had a heyday in the 90s, buoyed by the Eclipse sports coupe and the Montero SUV.  They had the right models at the right time to take advantage of a strong US economy.  Unfortunately, corporate problems and 0% financing hurt the brand in the early 2000s.  Poor diligence by their credit department and cheap cash resulted in selling cars to people who couldn’t afford them and then defaulted.  Sound familiar?  But in this case, they didn’t have a massive government lobby to bail them out and they had to suffer the consequences of their poor decisions.  Sales dropped hard in the mid 2000s from serious losses to their credit department and today Mitsubishi is trying to become relevant again.

One of their recent halo cars, the current Mitsubishi Evolution is evolving…from it’s traditional spirit, a 2.0 turbo AWD monster.  Instead, it’s supposed to be hybrid electric gas performance car.  Details are still uncertain but the idea is to occupy a niche – the performance hybrid.  Mitsubishi’s current hybrid, the mini i-MeEV is a niche of niche cars, those interested in a slow, limited range, very small car.  The Outlander hybrid should have some more appeal but I still have no idea why anyone buys a hybrid SUV.  It’s like buying a tofuburger when trying to diet.

I could see some success for Mitsubishi and wish them the best but Audi dropped plans for their R8 based e-tron supercar and BMW is also slowing development of their electric and hybrid programs.  On the other hand, you can’t be a main player by occupying a niche.  The question is is their timing right again?

No Comments