I HAD to pinch myself to check I was not dreaming when I sat behind the wheel of this week’s drive, ... [more]
Friday, 23 July 2021
A BRAVE new motoring world beckons: Volkswagen recently presented what it described as “solutions for the CO2-neutral, sustainable mobility of the future” at the 38th Vienna Motor Symposium.
Electric power, natural gas propulsion and a new coasting function for internal combustion engines were part of the German carmaker’s presentation.
For the first time at Vienna, Volkswagen described a “coasting — engine off” function that shuts off the engine completely.
The company is upping its game on the natural gas front as well — with a new, compact three-cylinder engine for the Polo.
Friedrich Eichler, head of Volkswagen powertrain development, said: “Our range of technology, especially that available for the Golf, now covers all customer preferences. The new coasting — engine off micro hybrid system represents a low-cost level of electric-powered motoring on a 12-volt basis.”
In the new Golf TSI BlueMotion, which launches this summer, the system works in tandem with a direct-shift (DSG) gearbox.
It offers the driver hybrid-style characteristics: lift off the throttle and the Golf can coast with the engine completely deactivated. The system reduces fuel consumption.
This new Volkswagen system adds a compact lithium-ion battery to the 12-volt vehicle electrics, with the battery supplying power when coasting.
At the end of the coasting phase, the Golf TSI BlueMotion’s engine can be started in different ways, depending on driving speed and situation — using the starter, using the clutches of the DSG gearbox, or in combined fashion using starter and clutch.
In the middle of the electric power range is the plug-in hybrid concept of the Golf GTE4 and at its top end the 100 per cent battery-powered drive system, such as Volkswagen is offering in the new e-Golf. This results in a big increase in range — from 190 km previously to up to 300 km.
Volkswagen is taking on the next big step in the switch to electric power by using “all-electric architecture” — the first model using this completely new drive system will be launched in 2020.
“The all-electric architecture combines local zero-emission driving with superb long-distance mobility,” said Mr Eichler.
“It forms the basis for our new generation of electric vehicles that we will be offering globally in high volume.
“Its drive system and the system’s intelligent management provide for great efficiency and simultaneously convey to the passengers a new, highly comfortable driving experience, including with regard to automated driving.”
A second technology with which Volkswagen is shaping the transition to the sustainable mobility of the future is propulsion using compressed natural gas (CNG).
Dr Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner, head of Volkswagen petrol engine development, said: “Due to its chemical composition, natural gas as a fuel already reduces CO2 emissions if it comes from fossil sources.
“If, however, it is produced in a sustainable way, for instance as biomethane from agricultural waste, then looked at from well-to-wheel it facilitates a form of mobility that produces appreciably less CO2.
“We use the term ‘e-gas’ to describe synthetically produced CNG that is made out of water and CO2 from renewable power generation’s excess current. E-gas is ideal for making renewable power usable for the transport sector and for storing it. It is in practical terms a partner in the switch to renewable forms of energy.”
Volkswagen has been represented in the marketplace with CNG engines since 2002. A special feature of the new three-cylinder turbocharged engine with a cubic capacity of 1.0 litre and high torque (pulling power) shown at the Vienna symposium was its bivalent concept — it can be run on petrol or CNG.
In gas-powered mode it works in a low-emission manner — and that applies both to CO2 and NOx particulate emissions. The compact 1.0 TGI is a new engine specification for the small car class in the Volkswagen group.
Volkswagen says it is “pursuing every path leading to CO2-neutral mobility”.
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