Archive for category VW Touareg hybrid

VW Touareg hybrid dyno chart showing power without boost

Below is a dyno chart showing power of the combustion engine alone and combined power with the hybrid motor on a VW Touareg hybrid.  The Porsche Cayenne hybrid S uses the same drivetrain in a slightly different body (same underlying chassis).

As you can see, power from the 3.0L supercharged engine is quite good.  Where the hybrid motor’s additional power really shines is at the low end.  This is due to the characteristic of a hybrid motor.  They provide maximum torque at 0 rpm which decreases as friction and other limitations rise with rpm.  Horsepower provided by the hybrid motor is more or less constant as rpm increases.

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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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Dreaded replacement battery problem for VW or Audi hybrid cars

One common misconception about hybrid vehicles is that their batteries will have dead cells and degraded battery life, requiring battery replacement after only a few years.  This is false!

What is the expected battery life of your VW hybrid or Audi hybrid?

Ruling out defects or other design issues and based off experiences with the first generation Prius, they should last a “lifetime”.  This is generally acknowledged by car engineers as 10 years or 150,000 miles.  However, there are many first generation Prius, not used for taxi service (which would build up high miles in a short amount of time), which have reached this point and are still running fine on their original batteries.

In addition, the VW Touareg hybrid has a 10 year, 100,000 miles powertrain warranty which includes the hybrid battery.  My guess is that this warranty might extend to other VW-Audi hybrid models.  In my opinion, it’s a good idea to instill confidence in your customers to move them into new technology and the warranty will help.

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How to disconnect the battery pack and high voltage lines on VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne hybrid

In the last 3 sections, , the safety connector at the engine was shown.  This article will show the High Voltage System Maintenance Connector at the battery pack.  Always disconnect this when working on the high voltage electrical system.

You disconnect it by removing the cover flap and then pulling it up in a perpendicular position.

touareg hybrid high voltage line

This is under the orange flap in the picture below.

vw touareg hybrid battery

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How to safely disconnect VW hybrid battery high voltage line

How to remove the high voltage line on the VW Touareg hybrid or Porsche Cayenne hybrid.  May also apply to Audi A6 hybrid, VW Jetta hybrid

In the last article, part 2 of a series: on how to disconnect the battery pack on the VW Touareg hybrid and Porsche Cayenne hybrid, the safety line and how it works was discussed.  This article is the final part on this topic and shows how the mechanical lock on the high voltage line works.

Disclaimer: In addition to the regular disclaimer and Terms of Use Agreement, remember that the electrical system has more than enough juice to cause serious injury or death.  Do not work on the engine, power module, battery pack, or high voltage lines unless you are trained and qualified.  These articles are only to teach you about the systems on your car.  They do not qualify you as an automotive technician trained to work on these cars.

Again, the official literature says that only a trained VW High Voltage technician can remove the maintenance connector.  First, remove the safety connector.   This prevents the high voltage lock from moving.  It also prevents the high voltage system from being supplied with current.  If you read part 1 and 2, you will see how this interrupts the safety line.  The battery management unit then decouples the high voltage battery through the relays.  As long as all systems work as intended, there will be no voltage at the high voltage line and you won’t get shocked when removing the high voltage line.

The safety connector also physically blocks the locking bar from swiveling out of the way.  Then swivel back the locking bar.   The cable can then be removed.  This is shown in the illustration below.

vw hybrid safety line


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How to safely work on the VW Touareg hybrid and disconnect the electrical system part 2

In the last article: the main safety switch was described.

This article will describe how the safety line works to disconnect the electrical system on the VW Touareg hybrid and Porsche Cayenne S hybrid.

Safety line closed:

The VW Touareg hybrid’s high voltage elements are linked by a separate low voltage loop line. Each connection with the safety line is designed to act like a contact breaker point.  When all components are ready to operate, the contact breaker points are closed.  When the safety line sees voltage, current is able to flow because the line is not interrupted. The presence of current indicates that all of the safety line’s components are ready to operate. The function of the safety line is comparable with cold monitoring in the case of bulbs.

Safety line open:

If any point is open the safety line is interrupted.  This could be if any component is not ready to operate or because the safety connector has been removed.  In this case, there will be no current. This indicates that the high voltage system is not ready to operate. The check to determine whether the safety line is closed or interrupted is carried out by the voltage converter. If the control unit determines that the line is interrupted, it actuates the protective relays and interrupts the high voltage battery’s connection to the high voltage system.

Below is an illustration from VW’s literature showing the safety line.

vw touareg hybrid safety line circuit breaker


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How to safely work on the VW Touareg hybrid and disconnect the battery pack

One concern of working on hybrid cars for DIY’ers is how to work around the hybrid electrical system.  It’s not only amps or only volts that is dangerous, it’s enough of the combination of enough either volts or amps that can injure you.  Comparing electricity to water, you can think of amps as the volume of water and volts as the speed that it moves.  You’re not going to get swept away in a river unless there’s enough water and it’s flowing fast enough.

Disclaimer: In addition to the regular disclaimer and Terms of Use Agreement, remember that the electrical system has more than enough juice to cause serious injury or death.  Do not work on the engine, power module, battery pack, or high voltage lines unless you are trained and qualified.  These articles are only to teach you about the systems on your car.  They do not qualify you as an automotive technician trained to work on these cars.

The electric safety line in the VW Touareg hybrid and Porsche Cayenne hybrid

The battery pack in these cars is 288 volts and more than enough amps to cause serious injury.  If it has enough energy to move a car it has enough energy to jolt you.  Therefore, take safety precautions when working on them.  There are a few safety measures:

• The electric safety line with safety connector
• The ignition lock
• The battery regulation control unit relay
• The airbag control module
• The maintenance connector

In this first post in a series, let’s look at the safety line and connector.  The safety line guarantees that the entire high voltage system’s voltage is turned off as soon as a high voltage component is disconnected from the system. Together with a locking bar, the safety connector forms a mechanical lock, which prevents the high voltage lines from being disconnected while voltage is present. The safety line is an electrical circuit that is closed by safety connectors. If this circuit is opened by removing the safety connectors, the high voltage system shuts off.

The safety connectors have to be removed before high voltage lines can be disconnected from the high voltage components. This guarantees that the system is not conducting voltage when the lines are disconnected.  It is shown below.

vw touareg hybrid safety line voltage disconnect

See part 2 here:


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Update to official VW Touareg hybrid pricing

Official pricing was released today on the 2011 VW Touareg hybrid.  The pricing was previewed in this post last week and confirmed as correct.

Pricing is officially confirmed as $60,565 plus $850 destination.  To compare, the price of a base-loaded VW Touareg TDI is $48,000-$57,500.  The  hybrid does have almost everything in a highline or loaded TDI except Dynaudio which makes the hybrid premium only about $3000.

As another comparison, a 2011 Porsche Cayenne S hybrid is $67,700.

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2011 VW Touareg hybrid pricing released, not for Canada

Some news regarding 2011 VW Touareg hybrid pricing – it looks like it will be $60,565 in the US, destination fee not included.  This is $3,065 more than the “executive” trim level VW Touareg TDI.

While this isn’t confirmed yet, this makes sense, especially since the Touareg hybrid packs a lot of technology into the car.  I don’t know how much money VW makes on the Touareg but it hasn’t been a good seller of late except for the TDI.  If you look at pricing overseas, the VW Touareg is a $60-100,000 US dollar car! (As priced at volkswagen UK).  Is the hybrid technology worth the extra $3,065?

In other news, it looks like VW Canada will not sell the Touareg hybrid for 2011.  According to, VW Canada Public Relations Manager Thomas Tetzlaff said “We have decided to launch our hybrid solution with the Jetta hybrid in 2012. It represents volumes that we can support properly.”  The majority of Touareg sold in Canada are TDI, why not give the hybrid a chance?  And why would the Touareg hybrid require Jetta hybrid to be sold?  The mechanics would go to separate training – it’s not like they share very many parts.


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VW Touareg hybrid vs. Toyota Highlander hybrid

In an earlier post, I compared the Touareg hybrid to the Lexus RX hybrid.

How does the 2011 VW Touareg stack up to a car which uses similar technology, the Toyota Highlander hybrid?

Not surprisingly, the Toyota Highlander hybrid is very similar to the Lexus.  I’m not sure if they use the same base V6 engine but the Lexus makes a few more horsepower – 295 hp vs. 280 hp.  The Lexus RX 450h hybrid is all new for 2011 so maybe it got the new engine a year earlier than the Highlander.  This is in stark comparison to the VW Touareg hybrid which makes 380hp!

The Toyota highlander also shares the low tow rating – 3500lbs.  The Touareg can tow over 7700lbs!  Part of the reason why is the completely different drivetrain layouts.  The Touareg uses a full time AWD system driven by the engine or hybrid motor.   The Toyota’s front wheels are driven by the hybrid drivetrain.  The rear wheels are driven by electric motors.  The nice advantage of this system is that the regenerative braking is much more effective by being placed right at the wheels instead of having parasitic powertrain losses through the transmission and driveshaft.  This also increases fuel economy which is the whole point of buying a hybrid…I think.

The disadvantage is that it’s weak.  If you ran them much harder they might overheat.  The rear wheels are also not driving the car at all times.  In the Touareg, the rear wheels are constantly powered to around 60 percent.  This can change according to demands.  While this is fine for normal street driving, the Highlander better take the low landers because Toyota’s site specifically says it’s not for off road use.  I guess the real question is: were you ever really planning to take the Touareg off road?

The Touareg is a real off roader with serious SUV credentials but also a real hybrid.  The Highlander is a basically a RWD assist V6 Prius.  The Prius is a pretty good hybrid though…

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