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Geneva show: Volkswagen electrifies

Current thinking: VW's E-Up! concept is set to go mainstream as Volkswagen turns up the voltage on electric car plans.

EV or hybrid Golf, Jetta, Passat and Up! promised in VW E-mobility roadmap

Volkswagen logo2 Mar 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

VOLKSWAGEN has confirmed it will produce a suite of hybrid and electric models based on the Up! micro, Golf hatch, Jetta sedan and mid-size Passat by 2013 in its drive to become the market leader in ‘E-mobility’ vehicles.

The ambitious new all-electric and petrol-electric model rollout was announced by Volkswagen AG chairman, professor Martin Winterkorn, on the eve of this week’s Geneva motor show, where the German auto giant staged the global reveal of its new Touareg luxury SUV.

The second-generation Touareg will be available in some markets as a hybrid but, as we’ve reported, unlike Porsche’s closely related Cayenne S Hybrid (due here mid-year), it won’t be sold in Australia due to a lack of expected demand at the price it would need to be sold.

Volkswagen has now confirmed a host of hybrid and electric models will join the fuel-sipping Touareg, at least in Europe, starting with its volume-selling Golf next year, when a test fleet of 500 all-electric Golfs will become available out of Germany.

The second ground-breaking new ‘green’ vehicle to emerge from Europe’s biggest car-maker, which has outlined the launch schedule of its E model strategy for the first time, will be a Jetta Hybrid for the North American market, to debut in August 2012.

Volkswagen’s Passat Hybrid will appear a year later in August 2013, with the Golf Hybrid now due to debut globally in October 2013.

3 center imageLeft: Volkswagen Touraeg Hybrid. Below: Golf TDI Hybrid.

The same year will see Volkswagen’s first mass-production electric vehicle, the E-Up! city-car, enter production, followed soon after by the similarly powered E-Golf and, in late 2013, the E-Jetta, with other EV models to follow.

Volkswagen says it will become the global leader in CO2-neutral mobility, with mass-production Golf and Jetta hybrid models expected to dominate the petrol-electric vehicle market from 2013, and its all-electric vehicles forecast to dominate the global EV market by 2018.

Dr Winterkorn said Volkswagen plans to strategically bundle its competence in electric traction, before extending it step-by-step.

“Volkswagen will be taking E-mobility to mass production,” he said on March 1.

“In 2011, we are expanding our test fleet by adding 500 Golfs with electric drive.

“A hybrid version of the Jetta for the US market follows in 2012.

“Starting in 2013, the E-Up goes into production.

“The goal is to become the market leader in E-mobility by the year 2018. We want to attain an electric vehicle market share of three per cent within our entire range of products.

“We will take the hybrid out of its niche status with our high-volume models. In the future, the heart of the brand will also beat with electricity.” Volkswagen said its vehicle brands would undertake field studies in Europe, China and the US in coming months to determine the local applicability of EV technology, which is currently capable of travelling short distances of up to about 150km.

In the meantime, the Volkswagen Group’s chief officer for electric traction, Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann, said hybrids would play an important intermediate step in VW’s path to a full line of EVs.

“This technological competence will be advanced in Volkswagen’s modular strategy of flexibly integrating hybrid and E-drives over a wide variety of vehicle platforms in all of the Group brands,” he said.

“We will continue to systematically exploit the potential of internal combustion engines with the goal of significantly reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

“So over the mid-term, vehicles with electric drives and those with internal combustion engines will co-exist.” Volkswagen’s ambitious new EV sales expectations follow the reveal of the E-Up! electric concept at the Frankfurt motor show last September, when Dr Winterkorn forecast it would be at least 2020 before EVs like the E-Up! plug-in would be as popular as volume-selling current models such as the Polo.

Fitted with a lithium-ion battery pack that gives it a claimed driving range of 130km, the “niche” E-Up! is the fourth Up! model derivative to be revealed over the past two years from VW’s next-generation ‘New Small Family’, which hits European showrooms from next year.

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