New research guides VW’s plug-in car strategy
8th July 2011. A ‘Fleet study in electric mobility’ is underway in Germany.
The goal of the research is to maximise the use of renewable energy for electrically powered vehicles. For its part, Volkswagen is acquiring valuable knowledge on how cars with plug-in hybrid drives perform under conditions of continuous operation, using twenty of the latest generation Golf Variant twinDRIVE cars as research vehicles.
Their plug-in hybrid drives enable distances of up to 35 miles on pure electric power plus an additional 500 miles using a small internal combustion engine.
Professor Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen AG, said: ‘The twinDRIVE system by Volkswagen could, over the mid-term, develop into the ideal form of mobility for the vast majority of car drivers.’
His view is that ‘Future electric cars offer us tremendous opportunities for reshaping mobility to become even more sustainable. However, we must – on behalf of the environment – ensure that the energy used to operate these electric cars is also generated from renewable resources. Since carmakers do not make decisions on which types of power plants will be built, governments must ensure that environmentally-friendly energy sources are utilised. Only then will we experience a genuine transition to a new era.’
The Volkswagen Group will launch a number of plug-in hybrid cars in the years 2013/2014 as well as pure electric vehicles from 2013. Winterkorn comments: ‘Over the mid-term, the plug-in hybrid offers great potential, because it unites the best of both worlds in one vehicle.’ The plug-in hybrid, according to Winterkorn provides a normal driving range with internal combustion engine mobility and an attractive electric range for everyday driving.
Volkswagen’s views on the future importance of plug-in hybrids are similar to those of Toyota. The Renault-Nissan Alliance, however, is placing greater emphasis on pure electric cars – a single minded strategy which may well prove less popular with the customer in the mid-term.
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