Friday, July 30, 2010

Volkswagen's Greener Vehicles

Volkswagen is the largest automaker in Europe, and a leader in cleaner diesel technology and fuel-efficient gas engines. Now Volkswagen is putting its automotive genius to work developing hybrid and fully electric cars.

Volkswagen is investing heavily in the US as part of its plan to become the world's biggest carmaker by 2018. New greener vehicles are also part of Volkswagen's global strategy.

Volkswagen is slated to globally launch four electric cars in 2013. The new Up blue-e-motion is a city specialist, the Golf blue-e-motion is an 85 kW car that has a range of 150 kilometers, and the Jetta blue-e-motion. The Lavida blue-e-motion will launch in China.

Volkswagen wants to take electric mobility mainstream so that it can be the market leader by 2018. This is consistent with the German governments initiative to put one million electric vehicles on the roads by 2020. As stated by Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen, governments must ensure that these vehicles are powered by renewable energy.

“Future electric cars give us enormous opportunities for reshaping mobility to be even more sustainable. When it comes to the environment, however, we must ensure that the energy used to operate these electric cars is produced from renewable sources. Since automotive manufacturers do not have any influence on the types of power plants that are built, the federal government must ensure that eco-friendly energy sources are utilised. Only then will we experience a genuine transition to a new era,” Winterkorn said.

Volkswagen is accelerating production of its hybrid models, including the new Touareg Hybrid which is already on the market. A hybrid version of the Jetta debuts in 2012, then in 2013 more new hybrids will be introduced, including the E-Up!, Golf Hybrid and Passat Hybrid. It will begin a trial fleet of all-electric E-Golf cars next year, at present they have a maximum range of 93 miles on a single charge.

Volkswagen will continue its development work on advanced and extremely efficient gas, diesel and natural gas engines, because a wide variety of drive technologies will coexist into the future.

VW's Electronics Research Lab is working on battery technology for electric cars as well as electronic driver assistance systems. Batteries still need to get smaller, lighter and cheaper. In total, Volkswagen spends more than 5 billion euros (£4.25bn) a year on research and development.

"I am deeply convinced Volkswagen will play a key role in electrifying the automotive world," Winterkorn recently told reporters.

Volkswagen will lead European efforts to mass-produce electric cars and although they do not have the hybrid and EV experience of the Japanese, analysts expect the German carmaker will be a serious competitor.

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