VW taking ‘alternative energy’ driving to new levels

  • Turning to coasting, natural gas and battery
  • Electric drive ‘key pillar of new drive strategy’
  • Middle of range is a plug-in hybrid concept
VW 1.0 ENGINE Image: VW Europe
VW 1.0 ENGINE: Image: VW Europe

WOLFSBURG, Germany / VIENNA, Austria – Electric power, natural gas and a new coasting function are being shown by Volkswagen at the 38th Vienna Motor Symposium which opened on April 27 2017.

The automaker is showing its solutions for CO2-neutral sustainable mobility and in the case of electric power this ranges from an “affordable” micro-hybrid to pure battery power.

The coasting function is for internal combustion engines – it stops the engine when it’s not needed – and the company is planning a compact  three-cylinder engine for its Polo range.

COASTING CUTS THE COST

Friedrich Eichler, head of VW powertrain development, said at the event: “Partial and full-electric drive are key pillars of our drive strategy. Our range of technology, especially that for the Golf, now covers all customer preferences.

“Coasting – and engine-off system for  micro-hybrid systems, is a low-cost level of electric 12-volt motoring.”

READ MORE Volkswagen features on Carman’s Corner

VW says a Golf TSI BlueMotion, now close to launch, has a drive that turns a direct-shift gearbox and up to 130km/h offers hybrid-style characteristics: lift off the throttle and the Golf can coast, its engine stopped.

“The system reduces fuel-consumption in practical use by up to 0.4 litres/100km and compared to the current coasting function with the engine running by 0.2/100 km.”

VW ELECTRIC DRIVE: Image: VW Europe
VW ELECTRIC DRIVE: Image: VW Europe

This expected VW systems add a compact lithium-ion battery to the 12-volt vehicle electrics to supply power to circuits which still require it when coasting.

“The engine – a very efficient 1.5 TSI Evo1 – is reactivated at the end of coasting with, depending on driving speed and situation, the starter motor, the  DS gearbox’s clutches or – particularly ingeniously – using starter and clutch.”

In the middle of the electric power range is a plug-in hybrid concept of the Golf GTE and at its top end the 100% battery-powered drive system, is a new e-Golf.

HUGE INCREASE IN ELECTRIC RANGE

“This latest upgrade the new e-Golf’s electric motor,” VW says, “delivers 100kW / 290Nm, 15kW and 20Nm more than before. It can accelerate to 100km/h in 9.6sec and its top speed has risen from 140 to 150km/h.

“The capacity of the lithium-ion battery, through improvements to the chemistry of its cells and their structure, has also been increased from 24.2 to 35.8kWh for a big increase in range – according to the NEDC cycle from 190 to as much as 300km.”

Eichler added: “The all-electric architecture combines local zero-emissions driving with superb long-distance mobility. It is the basis of our latest electric vehicles to be offered, in high volume, globally.”

NATURAL GAS – BEST ALTERNATIVE FUEL?

VW is also planning to use compressed natural gas, as Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner, head of VW’s petrol engine development, outlined: “Its chemical composition reduces CO2 emissions provided it comes from fossil sources.

“However, if produced in a sustainable way from, for instance, bio-methane from agricultural waste, it produces appreciably less CO2.

“We use the term e-gas to describe CNG produced from water and carbon dioxide from renewable power generation’s excess current. E-gas is ideal for making renewable power storable and usable by the transport sector.

“It is, in practical terms, a partner in the switch to renewable energy.”
The new one-litre three-cylinder turbo engine – designed for small cars – makes 66kW and can burn petrol or CNG – the latter working in a particularly low-emissions manner.”

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