German carmaker Volkswagen has been making green car headlines in recent weeks after revealing plans for a self-imposed 95g/km CO2 fleet target in Europe by 2020 (see article) and a fuel cell car programme (see article): and now it is in the spotlight again.
This time the company has announced that it will launch at least six new plug-in hybrid models starting as early as next year as part of its e-mobility programme.
The announcement was made by Oliver Schmidt, the general manager of engineering and the environmental office for Volkswagen Group of America, as part of the 2013 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium.
Schmidt was keen to highlight that the word “launch” did not refer to a plug-in hybrid car being released in a certain market: and instead refers to a global launch date.
Indeed Volkswagen already has five hybrid cars in production across its various brands: the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, the Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid, the Audi Q5, the Porsche Panamera S and the Porsche Cayenne S. It will also introduce hybrid versions of both the Audi A8 and the Audi A6.
According to Schmidt, Volkswagen will first introduce two battery electric cars: the Volkswagen Golf Electric and the Volkswagen Up! Then from 2014 it will focus on plug-in hybrid car versions of its larger Audi models with a plug-in hybrid version of the Volkswagen Passat. This will be followed by a plug-in hybrid Volkswagen Golf and further models.
The roll-out of plug-in hybrids has been assisted by the introduction of Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix which standardises many engine vehicle component parameters across its brands and vehicle classes.
For example, the Volkswagen CrossBlue SUV plug-in hybrid concept (pictured), which was introduced at the North American International Auto Show this year, uses a next generation DQ400e dual-clutch transmission that will be the group’s main near-term gearbox for all its plug-in hybrid and hybrid applications that are transverse.
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