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First details: Volkswagen reveals first hybrid SUV

Bright spark: Volkswagen promises 245kW of power in Toureg Hybrid.

German giant unveils plans to mass-market a petrol-electric VW Touareg in 2010

10 Feb 2009

VOLKSWAGEN has released the first, albeit limited, details of the petrol-electric Touareg Hybrid it plans to mass-produce in 2010 – the same year Porsche has promised it will manufacture its Cayenne Hybrid – in an apparent victory to the VW SUV in its bid to beat Audi’s closely-related Q7 to market with hybrid technology.

Setting the stage for a new hybrid SUV market rivalry between similar offerings from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the Touareg V6 TSI Hybrid is billed as the world’s first hybrid SUV to have a 3500kg towing capacity.

It will employ a variation of the petrol-electric drive system that powers both the Cayenne Hybrid wagon and Panamera Hybrid sportscar from Porsche, which now has a controlling interest in the European car giant.

Effectively, the full parallel hybrid drive system combines a supercharged direct-injection petrol V6 with an electric motor under the “V6 TSI” banner to produce a V8-like 245kW of power while returning average fuel consumption of less than 9.0L/100km.

3 center image Although it is dubbed a prototype with “near-production” technology, cut-away engineering images of the Touareg Hybrid suggest it is indeed a fully developed system that is close to being road-ready.

Apart from a mechanically-driven supercharger, which also makes an appearance on the 3.0 TFSI engine that powers Audi’s facelifted A6, another new technology to feature on the Touareg Hybrid is a freshly-developed eight-speed automatic transmission between the blown V6 and 38kW electric motor, resulting in what Volkswagen describes as a state-of-the-art all-wheel drive system.

VW says the combination allows its petrol-electric SUV to retain the conventional petrol model’s 3500kg towing capacity, making it the world’s first hybrid off-roader to do so.

When full power is called for – either when the eight-speed auto kicks down or when “S” mode is selected via the gearshifter – Volkswagen says the V6 TSI and electric motor work in concert to deliver a temporary maximum power output of 275kW and no less than 550Nm of torque.

“However, it should be stated that the system is primarily designed for excellent fuel consumptions and emissions and that the availability of temporary high performance is just a welcome side benefit,” says Volkswagen.

The Touareg Hybrid can be driven in electric mode up to 50km/h, emitting zero emissions.

As the latest technology to appear from Volkswagen under its green banner of Blue¬MotionTechnologies, the Touareg V6 TSI Hybrid is claimed to feature “one of the highest performance parallel hybrid systems in the world”.

Porsche has already revealed the hybrid drive system that will power its redesigned Cayenne SUV from 2010. Indeed, GoAuto travelled to Germany in mid-2007 to sample the 206kW 3.6-litre V6/electric motor combination that will power the next-generation Cayenne Hybrid from 2010.

The prototype Cayenne Hybrid produces a fuel consumption figure of 9.8L/100km – an improvement of 23 per cent over the standard petrol V6 Cayenne’s 12.9L/100km – but Porsche has targeted 8.9L/100km for the production version.

So while it appears the Touareg Hybrid may well outperform the Cayenne Hybrid, the Panamera Hybrid is expected to be more powerful again, possibly via the employment of V8 power.

Official details of Audi’s forthcoming Q7 Hybrid are yet to emerge, but the Volkswagen luxury brand used the 2005 Frankfurt motor show to reveal a 4.2-litre V8 Q7 hybrid concept.

Read more:

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