The Low Down On Green Living
July 3rd, 2008
By Andrew Williams, courtesty of Gas2.org
Hot on the heels of the announcement that Mercedes will produce electric cars, comes the news that fellow German manufacturer Volkswagen plans to produce a test fleet of plug-in hybrid electric cars by 2010.
A few months ago, to much excitement from the automotive press, the company unveiled a diesel-electric Golf but, according to VW chief Martin Winterkorn, “the future belongs to electric cars.” To help in mapping out the road to this electric future, the company have unveiled a plug-in hybrid powertrain, called the Twin-Drive, which will make its first appearance in a Golf kitted out with a 122-horsepower diesel engine, twinned with an 82-horsepower electric motor.
A key difference between the VW approach and typical hybrids is that instead of the battery providing supplemental power to the combustion engine, the Twin-Drive will work the other way around. According to Winterkorn, “here the diesel or gasoline engine supplements the e-motor.”
The car will use lithium-ion batteries and have a range of 31 miles on purely electric power. Over the last few months, Volkswagen has invested heavily in li-ion battery technology. In addition to teaming up with Sanyo in a $769 million dollar development project, the company has also formed the Lithium-Ion Battery 2015 Alliance (LIB2015) with Bosch, BASF, Evonik and others, backed up by a €60 million investment from the German government.
Volkwagen says it will have a test-fleet of twenty Twin-Drive Golf’s on the road in 2010, but there is still no news on plans to ramp-up commercial production. Given the level of investment being ploughed into the technology, I have a hunch that such an announcement won’t be too long in coming.
Posts Related to Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles:
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- Google to Spend $10 Million on Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Project
Image credits - Volkswagen
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