The general vision of e-mobility in recent years was followed at the end of 2010 by a new level of objectivity in the discussion on the electrification of the powertrain. Policymakers and the general public are increasingly better informed about the opportunities and challenges presented by e-mobility and are following the strategy communicated by Volkswagen of coexistence between different powertrain concepts: while carbon-neutral mobility is the future, electric drives and conventional combustion engines will continue to exist side by side for several more decades.
This coexistence of powertrain concepts will be accompanied by a steady increase in the share of carbon-neutral fuels, either in the form of power for electric vehicles generated from renewable energy sources or in the form of carbon-neutral biofuels – for example from plant residue or straw (biomass), the latter being used in conventional combustion engines that are progressively becoming more efficient.
The Group’s successful TSI, TFSI and TDI engines, ideally combined with our innovative dual clutch gearboxes (DSG), provide an excellent starting point for the continuing electrification of our vehicle fleet.
In spring 2010, Volkswagen impressed the world with its expertise in this field when it unveiled the Touareg Hybrid, the first fully off-road hybrid SUV worldwide. The combination of a highly efficient 3.0 l V6 TSI engine and an electric engine with an output of 38 kW (52 PS) reduces fuel consumption to just 8.2 l per 100 km with CO2 emissions of only 193 g per km (combined)* – outstanding values for a vehicle in this class. Hybrid versions of the Golf, the new Jetta, the Audi Q5 and the Audi A8 will shortly be launched, and there are other projects in the pipeline.
The road to pure e-mobility, a key component of the Group’s forward-looking fuel and powertrain strategy, is already clearly marked. In June 2010, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand presented the prototype of the Golf blue e-motion – a vehicle run solely on electricity with a range of around 150 km that does not require customers to make any concessions as regards safety, comfort and suitability for everyday use. Beginning with fleet trials starting in 2011, Volkswagen will usher in the age of pure e-mobility in the Group in 2013, taking the electric car out of the niche and bringing it to the mass market. This will kick off with the rollout of the
The strategy for e-mobility at Audi is also clearly defined. Similar to the Golf blue
THE ROAD TO CARBON-NEUTRAL MOBILITY
Efforts to make conventional combustion engines more efficient were also a major focus of engine development activities last year. We believe that in growth markets, e.g. Russia, India and the Far East, combustion engines will continue to provide the basis for responsible use of sustainable, forward-looking mobility in the medium term. So that it can effectively meet the challenges of the future, the Volkswagen Group has started developing a whole new generation of petrol and diesel engines. The refinement of technologies such as variable valve timing, intelligent thermal management, requirements-based control of auxiliary units and minimization of mechanical and energy loss provide the potential to increase the efficiency of both diesel and petrol engines by up to 15% in the coming years. Volkswagen is working very hard on these areas.
Substantial savings can already be made by combining efficient conventional drives and vehicle-related measures such as rolling resistance-optimized tires or aerodynamic measures, as shown by the Group’s efficiency models marketed by the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand under the name BlueMotion, as GreenLine models at Škoda and as ECOMOTIVE models at SEAT. Efficiency technologies are also being used in series production at Audi. The Group’s portfolio currently includes 220 model variants with carbon emissions below 130 g per km, while 20 model variants actually emit less than 100 g of CO2 per km. The Polo BlueMotion* is the most environmentally friendly five-seater in the world with carbon emissions of 87 g per km. The sixth generation Passat BlueMotion, which is powered by a 1.6 l TDI engine, traveled 2,463 km on just one tank of fuel, an achievement that was entered in the Guinness Book of Records.
We made significant advances in the area of gearbox development as well: the seven-gear direct shift gearbox (DSG) introduced in 2010 for the first time in the new Multivan/Transporter is now also being used in the Tiguan and in the Audi TT-RS. Volkswagen’s direct shift gearboxes marry comfort, sportiness and fuel efficiency in a unique way. They are as suitable for four-wheel drives as they are for high engine torques of up to 500 Nm and for sporty vehicle concepts – the latest DSG clearly demonstrates that Volkswagen is the unchallenged leader in the field of gearbox development.