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Volkswagen Plans Leading Role in Hybrid/EV Market

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On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:18AM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Plans Leading Role in Hybrid/EV Market

Look around the U.S. market today, and you won't see a single Volkswagen hybrid or electric vehicle. You'll have to wait until later this year for that, when the 2011 Touareg hybrid becomes available. While Volkswagen AG has battled with Toyota for the title of world's largest car maker in recent months, it has lagged well behind Toyota and other manufacturers in terms of hybrids and electric vehicles. VW plans to remedy that situation with a barrage of hybrid and electric launches over the next three years, hoping to become a leader in the green auto market.

"I am deeply convinced Volkswagen will play a key role in electrifying the automotive world," VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said at a press conference yesterday. He spoke at VW's Electronics Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, CA, where he was for a 2011 Jetta launch event.

Winterkorn plans to back up this broad statement with a steady stream of hybrid and electric car releases. Following the recent debut of the hybrid Touareg, VW will launch a hybrid Jetta in 2012 and a Golf and Passat in 2013. In terms of EVs, Volkswagen will launch an E-Golf and E-Up! in 2013. An electric Jetta is also planned. 

Other brands within Volkswagen AG will also be introducing electrics and hybrids over the coming years, as well, including the Audi e-tron, Audi Q5 Hybrid, Porsche Cayenne Hybrid and, possibly, the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid.

Most of VW's hybrid and electric vehicles powertrains are in the works, but the Touareg provides a peek at what to expect. The Touareg hybrid pulls about 26 mpg out of a powertrain that mates a supercharged 3-liter V6 Audi engine, 34-kW electric motor and 8-speed automatic transmission. Battery power comes from an NiMH pack. That combination puts out a max of 380 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid can deliver up to one mile of all-electric driving at speeds up to 30 mph, and can accelerate to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds. The Touareg will share this hybrid set-up with the 2012 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid.

The E-Up! electric, meanwhile, launched as a concept at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show. In its concept iteration, the E-Up! featured an 18 kWh lithium-ion battery and 60 kW electric motor. It promised a range of 83 miles and charging time of just five hours. Volkswagen was so excited about the concept at the time that it called it the "Beetle of the 21st Century."

The 2011 Touareg hybrid debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show in March and will hit the U.S. market sometime this year. The hybrid Jetta is expected to make it to the United States in 2012, followed by either the E-Golf or E-Up! in 2013.

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