Volkswagen: Hybrids are bridging strategy

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Volkswagen’s current range of hybrid vehicles are a ‘bridging strategy’, says the company. Speaking at the July launch in Amsterdam of the German car maker’s latest hybrid, the Passat GTE, Michael Brückner, part of the development team for the new car, said the plan had been formed during the early stages of the company’s modular platform system.

“Early in the development of MQB we gave some thought to our overall strategy that we were going to pursue, and this hybrid system is a bridging strategy moving toward pure electric driving,” he said. “In our opinion, this combination of electric traction and conventional traction offers the ability to charge by means of a socket, and that’s the right way to go to get towards that electric driving goal.”

“With the Golf MQB we had the opportunity to take a white sheet of paper and develop a brand new car,” Brückner added. “Everything that was state-of-the-art we’ve been able to put into these cars and that’s why they’re so good, because the base car is so good, and the same applies to the hybrids on this platform.”

Volkswagen cites independent forecasts of a worldwide electrified car market of two-three million units by 2025 as the reason for pursuing the technology, while downplaying its significance in the current range. “Our customers want a Volkswagen, and they want electric traction. We offer the Passat with 10 different powertrains, so there’s something for everyone,” Brückner continues.

“We’re not just building the cars for Germany or England, they’re truly global. In Holland and Scandinavia we’re already having success with this type of model, but in the rest of the world we’ll have to wait and see.”

The Passat GTE is powered by a 1.4-liter four-cylinder IC engine matched up with an 85kW three-phase permanent magnet synchronous motor. Maximum system output is 218ps and 400Nm, and NEDC consumption is 1.6l/100km, which equates to 37g/km CO?. The lithium-ion batteries have an 8.7kWh capacity that gives a 50km range in EV mode and take around four hours to charge on a 2.3kW AC supply. It goes on sale in European markets in the final quarter of 2015 and Volkswagen is currently assessing whether to release it in China and the USA.

Look out for all the details in the next issue of Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

August 5, 2015

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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