2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid

Tom Ludwick
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In a press release about Volkswagen's new BlueMotion technologies, the company announced that it would be showing a Touareg V6 TSI Hybrid prototype at the 2009 Geneva motor show. VW will follow up the concept with a production model. When it enters production in 2010, it will be the world's first hybrid SUV to have 3.5 metric ton (about 7,700lbs) towing capacity.

Power for the 'ute will come from a new 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 similar to the one launching in the 2010 Audi S4 and A6. In the Touareg it will make 245 hp. The V-6 will be joined by a 51 hp electric motor located between the eight-speed transmission and the engine. Power to the electric motor will come from a high voltage battery located behind the rear axel.

When the most power is needed, the hybrid features a boost mode that employs both the electric motor and the engine to deliver as much as 550 Nm (406 lb-ft) of torque. On the other hand, for more efficient driving, the electric motor will be capable of propelling the Touareg emission-free at speeds up to 31 mph. The Touareg Hybrid will also utilize regenerative braking and auto start/stop technologies to stay frugal on fuel. VW estimates the hybrid SUV will average about 26 mpg.

The new hybrid powertrain is shared with that of the forthcoming Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, as well as a the Audi Q5 hybrid that is rumored to go on sale in the U.S. in late 2010.

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