Hybrid technology is alive and well in the halls of German automaker Volkswagen / Audi. Development of the Audi e-tron and Volkswagen BlueMotion has been focusing on increased fuel economy and performance, including development of hybrid and electric vehicles and alternative fuels.
To that end, the new MQB platform, used in both the Audi A3 e-tron and the upcoming Volkswagen Golf MK7, features a modular design which can accept diesel or gasoline engines, electric motors, natural gas tanks or rechargeable battery packs, and even four-wheel-drive components.
The design changes reduce weight and make for a flexible platform for Volkswagen’s next generation of fuel efficient vehicles. The Golf MK7, for example, is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, utilizing a 1.4ℓ turbodiesel engine mated to an electric motor for a combined output of 248hp and 256lb•ft of torque. The EU fuel economy test cycle gives it a rating of 188mpg.
The Golf MK7 has an electric-only range of 31 miles, after which the turbodiesel kicks in to propel the vehicle and maintain battery charge. For those who want more performance, they can choose to drive in boost mode, in which the car acts like a regular hybrid, skipping electric-only operation. Volkswagen has announced that the Golf MK7 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle will go on sale in 2014.