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One of the less pie-in-the-sky concepts of this year’s Geneva International Motor Show (although the Rinspeed sQuba car was rather cool) is this VW Golf TDI Hybrid.
This version of the Golf (a model known as the Rabbit over here) uses an electric motor system similar to that of the Toyota Prius but mates that to a clean and frugal 1.2-liter, three-cylinder diesel-powered engine. Bottom line, in a European fuel economy test cycle, the Prius achieves 54 miles per gallon. This VW could get 69, an improvement of about 28%.
It's too bad the cost of diesel around here is $4.00 a gallon, and gas is only $3.16. That about evens things out, you get 28% better mileage and it costs you 26% more to buy the diesel. Maybe the VW will have better performance than the Prius.
It's just my opinion, but I still don't have a good opinion of diesels, past diesels have left a bad taste in my mouth. I admit new ones are much better with the direct injection and cleaner emissions. Unfortunately I've heard the newest diesels are just pumping all that soot that used to go out the exhaust into the engine oil instead. That's better for the environment, but I don't know if it helps your engine. I know one guy who has placed an extra filtration system on his pickup to extend the life of his engine and synthetic oil.
Would be nice to get a hybrid with some of that lovely German design. Wife says she'd replace her Beetle for one of those (as long as the price isn't too steep.) Too bad I don't expect them to release the beast any time in the near future...
Give the owner an option for battery power to handle short runs in EV mode, and it couldn't be better. <GRINS>
Apologies for resurrecting this old thread, but I think you may be in luck here - from the various descriptions I've read about this VW, I think it will be in EV-only mode as long as it is a short trip (under 7 miles), speed is low, battery is fully charged, and engine load is low.
... In this respect, it is very like a Honda hybrid system, but the Golf has an electrically operated clutch between the engine and the motor, which, according to Hofmann, allows the Golf to drive on electric power only.
The electric-motor clutch system works well and unobtrusively, and electric-only cruising is possible up to about 30mph as long as you are light with the accelerator. "It's for electric rolling, not electric driving," says Hofmann, who adds that as long as the driving requirement is less than 30lb ft and the battery is well charged, the system will not start the engine.
I haven't found anything which clearly states if electric-only mode can be used if the engine is cold, but the preceeding quotes seem to at least suggest that it is possible. There is also talk about producing a Polo hybrid as well as the Gold hybrid.
Last edited by MikeMarsUK; 03-22-2008 at 01:17 PM.
Yes its true that the VW Diesel Hybrid will be more fuel efficient than the Prius Hybrid, but keep in mind that the cost of diesel fuel is roughly $.75/gal more than regular unleaded. In simple math, that means the Prius will cost roughly 14.75 cents per mile, while the VW will clock in at 17.25 cents per mile. The Prius is still a proven vehicle with a great track record, and still cheaper to operate.
54 mpg (us gallons) vs. 69 mpg (us gallons) gives 27% more miles per gallon for the VW hybrid ... what is the difference between your petrol prices and diesel prices in percentage terms? Will this discrepancy still exist in the summer when heating-oil isn't being sold?
(I am not familiar with the pricing in the USA. In the UK the difference is currently about 5-6%, $8.08 vs. $8.61 per us gallon. Obviously I'm primarily interested in the running costs in my own area :-) ).
Using the MPG figures from the article, but UK fuel prices:
Prius at 54 us mpg, $ 8.08 / us gallon = 14.9 cents per mile
VW hybrid at 69 us mpg, $ 8.61 / us gallon = 12.5 cents per mile
In the UK I calculate the following fuel costs per mile:
Are fuel prices are currently at $3.23 per gallon for regular unleaded, and $3.99 per gallon for diesel. Diesel prices seem to be always about $.75 more per gallon, due to the large amounts of trucks and farming equipment in our state.
OK, thanks for that, wish our fuel was that cheap :-) !!
In that case, I calculate the following per mile (using mpg figures from the article):
Prius at 54 us mpg, 323 cents per gallon
... hence 323/54 = 5.98 cents per mile
VW hybrid at 69 us mpg, 399 cents per gallon
... hence 399/69 = 5.78 cents per mile
Hence the diesel hybrid is very slightly cheaper per mile than the petrol hybrid under your current fuel costs. But not enough to make a practical difference ($48 / year for a 24k/y mile driver). Of course if the diesel price drops during the summer when heating oil isn't in demand, then it may be more worthwhile.
If we are to assume that the majority of Green-Hybrid viewers are from North America, then they should be wary of European test cycles with diesel. For now, the European diesel emissions standards are relatively lax. In order to sell diesel engines on light duty vehicles in North America, they will have to come with supplementary emission-treatment systems, one of which includes injecting AdBlue to the exhaust. These will inevitably affect the fuel efficiency and increase the running costs (ie. less-periodic AdBlue refills).