With fuel economy reminiscent of the late VW Lupo, the new VW Golf Diesel Hybrid Concept seems to address the growing schism between American and Japanese hybrids and European Diesels.
Green Car Congress recently reported on the unveiling of the car at the Geneva Auto Show. VW couples a new 7-speed DSG transmission with a 1.2-liter, TDI diesel engine and an electric motor capable of operating in all electric mode. The diesel engine puts out a max of 74 hp and 132 kb-ft of torque, and its electric counterpart puts out 20 kW and 103 lb-ft of torque at its peak. This new diesel hybrid sounds like anything but your stereotypical, gutless economy car.
The car features regenerative braking and electric-only operation from a stop until a high enough speed is reached that it requires a switch-over to the diesel engine. From the switch-over the car is powered primarily by the diesel engine unless extra power is required. This combination is what allows the car to achieve its stellar mileage (69 US MPG) in the body of your standard VW Golf.
To compliment the new drivetrain, VW has done several aerodynamic modifications that decrease drag and increase fuel efficiency. Though none are drastic, they include lowering of the vehicle and minimizing the grille opening on the front of the car.
Even though this car is still a concept, we can probably expect to see it released in the near term, on the coattails of the recent Golf BlueMotion.
It's really exciting to see this concept come out of VW. For a long time VW has resisted the hybrid movement in favor of diesel, which results in similarly good mileage but higher emissions levels. With VW now, hopefully, moving into the hybrid business we will perhaps see more models that can be exported to the Japanese and US markets. This is especially meaningful because oftentimes, European cars that boast high efficiency are blocked from the U.S. market over worries that they are too small or unsafe.
This diesel hybrid VW Golf should go over well in any market, as long as it delivers on its promises.
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