Archive for category hybrid or TDI

VW Golf vs. Audi A3 hybrid and TDI sales numbers

I recently went to the VW museum in Wolfsburg where the 25 millionth VW Golf had an ignominious hiding spot behind a curtain in storage. Just last month, VW built the 30 millionth VW Golf and Audi just announced they built the 3 millionth Audi A3. Even though that doesn’t sound like a lot, the Audi A3 has only been around since 1996 and the VW Golf has been around since 1974. Assuming even sales every year (I know that’s not right but I don’t have any other yardstick), that means the A3 sells 176,470/yr and the Golf sells 769,230/yr. That’s a factor of 4.35 per year.

Both the all new Audi A3 and will come in TDI and plugin hybrid form and I wonder which one will be more popular! They’ll share a 1.4L turbo engine and 8.8kWh battery since they’re based off the same platform. Which would you want?

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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!

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Audi boss talks about possible diesel-electric LeMans-inspired supercar

Word has it Audi is hard at work on a new diesel-electric supercar. Auto Express reports Wolfgang Durheimer, head of technical development for the company, is planning a road vehicle that will make the most of the lessons learned from the automaker’s 24 Hours of Le Mans efforts. Durheimer says the supercar will be very different from the current R8 and will offer buyers state-of-the-art technology. Specifically, the as-yet-unnamed model will be able to best the current McLaren P1 around a race track. Details are, of course, scarce, though the company’s recent past could point to what we can expect to see from such a machine.

The Audi R8 TDI LeMans Concept from the 2008 Detroit Auto Show promised the world an R8 with a V12 TDI diesel behind the front seats. With 500 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, the machine would undoubtedly have been a blast to drive, but Audi shuttered any thought of a production model a year later. Odds are a modern interpretation of that machine would feature a smaller displacement diesel engine paired with a hybrid system for additional thrust.

from autoblog

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VW reconfirms Jetta hybrid for 2012, boasts “best-in-class” MPG rating

Reconfirming what we already knew, Volkswagen product strategist Toscan Bennet announced that a hybrid version of the sixth-generation Jetta is definitely on the way and on schedule for a 2012 launch date. Bennet said:

VW as a brand takes the electrification of the automobile very seriously, and we have a longtime strategy for growing that business. The Jetta hybrid is our first entry in that strategy.

During the NYC debut of the new Jetta, Bennet made it clear that the company is shooting for “best-in-class” mileage ratings for the hybrid version of its new sedan. VW doesn’t mean Prius-like numbers here, but beating the Honda Civic Hybrid sounds about right. VW admits that the Prius defines classes and resides alone as the hybrid mileage champ. Rather than aspire to the Prius numbers of 51 miles per gallon city and 48 mpg highway, VW is more conservatively shooting to surpass the marks of 40 mpg city and 45 mpg highway set by the hybrid Civic. Combine the high mileage targets with price cuts found throughout the new Jetta lineup and VW may have a hybrid hit on its hands soon.


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2012 Mercedes E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid diesel review

Leaping Past Others In The Premium Hybrid Chase

It is now clear that gas-electric hybrids, while constantly being refined, are simply never going to gobble up huge slices of any major car market. They are needed, sure, but consumers are already wanting to see what’s next, what’s even more efficient and more technologically advanced. All the new regular hybrids coming out these days don’t really create much excitement since their technology is essentially identical to all of the other parallel hybrids already on sale. So, what is going to keep the hybrid passenger car fires burning brightly and market percentage numbers climbing?

Diesel hybrids. Maybe not in the United States for some length of time, but they are starting to arrive in Europe. PSA Peugeot-Citroën has, at last, started selling Peugeot models with the company’s HYbrid4 diesel hybrid system and I’ve personally enjoyed driving them. Besides the enjoyment factor, the efficiency gains are real.

Now I’ve have a chance to drive this new Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, and my excitement is palpable because a big mainstream statement like this from a normally conservative Mercedes-Benz is something this movement has needed. Besides the smart thinking behind committing to this effort in general, Mercedes is launching its very cleanly engineered Modular Hybrid System that can now be plunked into nearly any of its models, much like Toyota-Lexus has been doing for years with its Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

A chief challenge to creating a viable parallel diesel hybrid system has been overcoming the sheer costs to the buyer. The adage goes: “expensive diesel + expensive hybrid = expensive diesel hybrid.” This may be true on some levels, but we seem to have arrived at a point where the costs of scale are finally helping now that more and more joint ventures contribute to lower pricing.

The other issue has been refinement. Between the potentially rougher on-off nature of the high-compression diesel in a parallel hybrid luxury car alongside the desired start-stop function to help save even more fuel, refining drivetrain feel was simply a qualitative challenge. But from what I can tell based on my long drive of a pre-production E300 BlueTEC Hybrid on both the European flatlands and over several mountainous passes, Mercedes seems to have the situation mostly licked.

As all manufacturers are realizing, they cannot just leave their stock V6 or V8 in the engine bay of their bigger cars, slap on a parallel hybrid system, charge a mess of money for it and call it good. When car buyers go hybrid, they are volunteering to change their performance expectations of their daily driver, and therefore must be more than willing to change their driving style to get the most out of the shift.

Accordingly, carmakers are currently looking through their vast array of sophisticated four-cylinders to help dramatically bring down the counterproductive weight of a big hybrid car or SUV. In the case of the well-executed E300 BlueTEC Hybrid, Mercedes turns to its 201-horsepower 2.2-liter CDI, known internally as OM651, a powerplant currently seen in many European 220/230/250 CDI models. Versus the E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY T-Modell (i.e. station wagon) in Europe at 4,070 pounds, the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid T-Modell adds just over 200 lbs. With that weight you get the lithium-ion battery pack, electronic management system and a compact electric motor capable of 25 hp/184 pound-feet of torque integrated with the 7G-tronic transmission.

You also get a potential range from the 15.6-gallon fuel tank of 870 miles. Over my 120-mile drive, I managed to hit 44.4 miles per U.S. gallon and was impressed that the fuel needle barely moved. One tester in our group managed 54.7 mpg but also admitted to “attracting the ire of many motorists” who were stuck following him. You know the frustrating style of driving I’m talking about. So, no, never in your wildest dreams could you hit 870 miles on a tank, but you could hit over 700 miles while driving fairly normally and pollute impressively little in the process. Not bad something as large and lux as an E-Class wagon.

Regarding E-Class wagons in general, for me, they are nigh unto paradise – even just so far as their relative sexiness and remarkable packaging are concerned. The cargo area is the epitome of easy flexibility with a completely flat floor and no intrusion into the space that might give away that this is any sort of hybrid with a lithium ion battery pack to accommodate. Space back there goes from 24.5 all the way to 68.9 cubic feet.

The 12-volt car battery has been moved to the rear of the car while the compact 55-pound lithium ion pack is placed to the right in the engine bay up against the bulkhead, thus putting all the “business” end of this deal up front. Using the equally compact 2.2-liter inline four-cylinder engine has certainly helped make this simplicity possible.

Thanks to the use of the 7G-Tronic Plus transmission, this little four gets some legs to cruise on, fifth gear being the 1:1 and sixth and seventh gears stretching out long. Our revs while cruising fast on no-limit sections of the Autobahn never exceeded 4,000 rpm. The tires are standard Continental ContiSportContact 5 – 245/45 R17 99Y – and they are not so hard that the typical Euro road sound shoots through the chassis to the base of one’s neck. Acceleration to 62 mph for our chosen E300 BlueTEC Hybrid T-Modell is estimated at 7.8 seconds and at 7.5 seconds for the sedan.

Given that the lithium ion pack is small and good for just 0.8 kWh of energy, the pure EV part of the equation is held to around 1,000 yards max and the integrated eDrive motor is good by itself up to 22 mph. Meanwhile, the eDrive cuts out totally at any speed beyond 100 mph. The 35-cell battery pack is constantly recharging due to engine deceleration and brake energy recuperation, but all of these actions are barely felt thanks to the added NVH work done to separate passengers from the under-hood goings-on. The software research done to smooth out the frequent off-and-back-on moments of the little four-cylinder has reached its apex in the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid, so much so that it wasn’t even a point of conversation all day.

This is a big success for diesel hybrids, and the entire system has an even larger future in store. With any luck (in a sense), things will get so bad with the cost of fuels that more people in the United States will be clamoring for hybrid diesels and stop whining so much about paying a premium for a luxurious and clean Mercedes that runs predominantly via a petite four-cylinder.

With well-designed diesel hybrid systems like this one from Mercedes, the hybrid market share might not level off quite so soon.

2012 Mercedes E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 30 Jul 2012

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VW Touareg hybrid vs. VW Touareg TDI review

The first real world back to back review of the hybrid vs. TDI has been released in the May 2011 Car and Driver.  Personally, I was surprised by the results.

2012 VW Touareg hybrid vs. VW Touareg TDI review

I don’t own either one of these vehicles but I have driven the Touareg TDI.  Long story short, Car and Driver said that the hybrid is the better choice.  My opinion is that if you’re going to buy a fuel efficient car whose only difference is the engine, get the one that has the most fuel economy.  That’s kind of the whole point.  Above around 30-35 mph, the TDI will have greater fuel efficiency.  Below that, the hybrid will have greater fuel efficiency.  Since most cars are driven mostly at higher speeds except in the city, most people will get greater fuel economy with the TDI engine.  Therefore, my opinion is to choose that engine.

Yes this is a hybrid website but the facts are the facts.  So why did Car and Driver choose the hybrid over the TDI?  The facts are the facts.  The hybrid has better performance with similar fuel economy.  Horsepower is a lot more and torque is as great as the TDI with only a small loss of fuel effiency.  The engines will feel different because the TDI makes its power down low whereas the hybrid’s difference in greater horsepower isn’t felt until medium revs.  If you can live with better fuel economy and much better fuel economy vs. the regular gas engine choices, the hybrid is a good choice.   It does cost a few thousand dollars more than the TDI in similar trim levels but these are $55,000 range cars and a few thousand that that price level is minor.


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Why there won’t be a VW TDI hybrid soon

Someone on another site asked the question

Why didn’t VW make the Touareg hybrid available with the TDI engine?

Long story short, the TDI engine and emissions system adds a price premium to the car and some weight.  The hybrid system also adds a price premium to the car and some weight.  Add them together and you’ve got a very heavy and very expensive car.  The other side is the technical challenges.  The TDI engine uses Adblue fluid to meet emissions standards.  The fluid tank is under the spare tire.  The hybrid battery pack is under the trunk floor.  Where would you fit both of them?  Adding both would eat into trunk space.

The other engineering challenge is that the catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters, and NOx catalysts in the diesel emissions system require heat to work.  A TDI engine takes longer to heat up due to less waste heat than a gasoline engine, the cast iron turbo soaks up heat energy, and therefore, the on-off engine cycles of a hybrid would cause it to heat up even slower, releasing more emissions.  The 3.0L supercharged engine has catalytic converters close to the engine and no cast iron turbo in the exhaust stream to soak up heat so it can heat cycle much faster, in addition to the gasoline engine releasing more energy as waste heat.

For this reason, the upcoming 2012 VW Jetta will probably also not have a TDI hybrid engine option.


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Audi was first to have plug in hybrid

There is plenty of attention on the Chevy volt plug in hybrid and future Prius which will have plug in capability.

However, it was actually Audi which had the first plug in hybrid, the Audi duo.

Gm’s EV1 was a plug in electric vehicle but not a hybrid.  The Prius was a hybrid but no production car has yet had plug in capability.  Audi debuted the 1989 concept car, the Audi duo, to demonstrate hybrid technology.  It was based off an Audi 100 had a 5 cylinder gas engine with a small electric motor driving the rear wheels.  In 1997, Audi started selling the Audi A4 based production Audi duo featuring a 1.9L TDI engine with a water cooled 29 hp electric motor, both driving the front wheels.  The battery was a lead gelatin battery and the plug in hybrid featured brake regeneration.  Unfortunately, the very high price and heavy weight meant lower fuel economy compared to a TDI minus the hybrid system, and only about 60 were built.  Not much is known about it but it probably worked very similar to today’s hybrids.  Below is a picture of the duo.

audi duo plug in hybrid


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Could the 2011 VW Jetta hybrid be a TDI diesel?

Long story short, no way.  Here are the reasons why:

A diesel engine weighs more than a similar gasoline engine because they are built more heavy duty.  The hybrid components would also add weight to the front of the car, exactly where you don’t want more weight.  The battery could be placed in the rear under the trunk but a diesel hybrid would add more weight than just a diesel or just a hybrid.

A TDI engine adds cost to the car.  The option used to be under $1000 which made it a no-brainer cost-wise.  Now the option is a few thousand dollars more.  The car comes with more trim that also adds value but once you strip the options away it now costs well over $1000 to add the TDI engine.  Europeans are used to spending big bucks on their cars but Americans (and probably Canadians) don’t buy expensive smaller cars unless they are somehow very different like the Mini.

The nail in the coffin is emissions.  A diesel engine is a great choice for highway trips because the engine is run constantly which keeps the emissions filters hot.  If the TDI were used in a hybrid system, not only would it be slightly harder on the battery due to the high compression but cooling down would let the emissions filters cool down.  The TDI uses particulate filters in addition to catalytic converters and if they don’t stay hot they can’t work.  They would still have ways to meet emissions but the development work and any additional systems adds expense to the car.   It makes more sense to start with a gas engine and have room to move within emissions standards than using a TDI engine that would have to chase future emissions standards.

While Peugoet makes a diesel hybrid,  their system adds the hybrid drivetrain to the rear wheels instead of VW’s hybrid system of putting an electric motor between the engine and transmission and it works differently.

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Why buy the Touareg hybrid when the TDI is also available?

Someone asked on a forum, why buy the 2011 Touareg TDI when the Touareg hybrid is also available?

I too was skeptical when VW announced that they were going to put a hybrid drivetrain in the VW Touraeg.  The V6 TDI engine is particularly suited to SUV because it gives plenty of low end power, isn’t too heavy, and SUV are intended as work/commuting cars.  But that’s where I’m wrong and why there’s a market for the hybrid.

The Touareg hybrid is better than the TDI for those who don’t want an SUV but do.

What do I mean?  My family used to have an SUV which was used often for carrying heavy loads in the back related to work, towing cars, a boat, or even the log splitter.  It was just a mid sized SUV but it was used as SUV are best used.  This is not how most people use their SUV.  For example, why did the 2011 VW Touareg lose the standard 4xmotion in North America?  Because the standard 4motion is good enough and saves weight vs. the heavy duty 4xmotion.  How often are you going up a 32 degree incline and cursing the fact that you can’t get home because you don’t have the 45 degrees of climbing ability that comes with 4xmotion?  If you’ve ever been on a 45 degree incline it feels as if you are going straight up because all you can see is sky.

The Touareg hybrid is good for those people who might consider the BMW X5 – they want a fast SUV that is used as an on-road car and for everyday driving, the kind of driving that people do everyday, except for those who use SUV as working vehicles.  The fuel economy is about the same as the TDI even though it’s a heavier car (which also is good for towing), and it has the same tow rating as the Touareg TDI.

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