Volkswagen – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Fri, 26 Aug 2016 20:01:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 VW to Debut 300-Mile EV at Paris Motor Show, Says Report http://www.automobilemag.com/news/vw-debut-300-mile-ev-paris-motor-show/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/vw-debut-300-mile-ev-paris-motor-show/#respond Wed, 17 Aug 2016 21:00:36 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=979094 Volkswagen says electric vehicles will play an important role in its diesel scandal recovery plan, and now the automaker is ready to put that theory to the test. At the Paris auto show next month, Volkswagen will debut an EV prototype with a range of at least 248 miles, reports Electrek. Speaking with German magazine...

The post VW to Debut 300-Mile EV at Paris Motor Show, Says Report appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Volkswagen says electric vehicles will play an important role in its diesel scandal recovery plan, and now the automaker is ready to put that theory to the test. At the Paris auto show next month, Volkswagen will debut an EV prototype with a range of at least 248 miles, reports Electrek.

Speaking with German magazine Wirtschafts Woche, Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess revealed the vehicle is sized similarly to the Golf but has the cargo space of a Passat. The vehicle will achieve a range between 400 and 600 km (248 and 372 miles), he noted.

The range estimate is likely based on the standards of the New European Driving Cycle, which is more generous than the EPA in its ratings. Still, it’s a huge improvement from the range offered by Volkswagen’s current electrified stable. The automaker says its 2017 e-Golf will achieve an NEDC range of up to 186 miles of range by the end of the year. Electrek estimates the EV prototype for Paris will have a range of about 300 miles, which jibes with what we’ve heard about future VW EVs.

While the Paris model is apparently just a prototype, the automaker has confirmed plans for such a vehicle to go into production. According to Diess, the concept will closely resemble the final model, which should come out in 2018 or 2019.

Volkswagen says it will introduce a new MEB platform specifically designed for EVs. Accommodating a flat-floor type battery, the platform should make plenty of space available for electrical storage. Vehicles on this platform should be able to achieve a range of 300 to 500 kilometers (about 190-310 miles), Diess told our affiliates at Motor Trend last year.

The new concept is a step toward achieving Volkswagen’s goal for 2025. By that time, VW wants to have launched more than 30 battery electric cars. VW expects EVs to represent about 25 percent of its total sales volume, accounting for about 2-3 million pure EVs annually. Meanwhile, the automaker is also reportedly cooking up a large battery factory which could resemble Tesla’s Gigafactory.

Pictured is the Volkswagen BUDD-E Concept, which previews the automaker’s MEB platform.

 

The post VW to Debut 300-Mile EV at Paris Motor Show, Says Report appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/vw-debut-300-mile-ev-paris-motor-show/feed/ 0
Watch a Volkswagen Golf Beat an Audi R8 V10 on the Drag Strip http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-volkswagen-golf-cream-audi-r8-v10-drag-strip/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-volkswagen-golf-cream-audi-r8-v10-drag-strip/#respond Tue, 09 Aug 2016 17:40:46 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=976544 It’s rare to see a second-generation Volkswagen Golf beat an Audi R8 V10 Plus in the quarter mile. Apparently, this Golf was having quite a good day, as it also creamed an Audi TT, a Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, a Ford Focus ST, and a Dodge Challenger SRT at the drag strip. Not bad for an...

The post Watch a Volkswagen Golf Beat an Audi R8 V10 on the Drag Strip appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
It’s rare to see a second-generation Volkswagen Golf beat an Audi R8 V10 Plus in the quarter mile. Apparently, this Golf was having quite a good day, as it also creamed an Audi TT, a Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, a Ford Focus ST, and a Dodge Challenger SRT at the drag strip. Not bad for an ’80s-era hatchback.

An original Mark II Golf wasn’t going to cut it for this race. Instead, the Golf receives a turbocharged 2.9-liter VR6 engine tuned to make about 600 hp. It also gets a 4Motion all-wheel drive setup from a later Volkswagen model. That puts it right up there with the current-gen Audi R8 V10 Plus, which in stock form delivers up to 610 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque from a 5.2-liter V-10 engine. The Mercedes ML63 AMG is no slouch either, producing between 518 and 550 hp in its day before it was discontinued. Needless to say, the SUV lagged particularly far behind the Golf, although none of the competitors came close.

The modified hatchback, tuned by Druckwerk and dubbed the “Tobi Golf 2 4Motion GT35,” succeeds in obliterating the competition and doing some pretty impressive burnouts. Watch the video below to see the hatchback take out its competition one rival at a time.

Source: Gumbal via YouTube

The post Watch a Volkswagen Golf Beat an Audi R8 V10 on the Drag Strip appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-volkswagen-golf-cream-audi-r8-v10-drag-strip/feed/ 0 Watch a Volkswagen Golf Cream an Audi R8 V10 on the Drag Strip - Automobile It's rare to see a second-generation Volkswagen Golf beat an Audi R8 V10 Plus in the quarter mile. Apparently, this Golf was having quite a good day, as it also creamed an Audi TT, a Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, a Ford Focus ST, and a Dodge Challenger SRT at the drag strip. Not bad for an '80s-era hatchb volkswagen golf
2015 Volkswagen Golf R vs. 2016 Subaru WRX STI Series.HyperBlue http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-volkswagen-golf-r-2016-subaru-wrx-sti/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-volkswagen-golf-r-2016-subaru-wrx-sti/#respond Fri, 05 Aug 2016 10:00:16 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=966995 The new 2017 Volkswagen Golf R is a hell of a car, and we because of that, we awarded it one of our coveted All Stars spots this year. Its slick AWD system, sticky tires, great suspension, and excellent chassis tuning convinced me to buy one for my personal fleet and had the rest of...

The post 2015 Volkswagen Golf R vs. 2016 Subaru WRX STI Series.HyperBlue appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
The new 2017 Volkswagen Golf R is a hell of a car, and we because of that, we awarded it one of our coveted All Stars spots this year. Its slick AWD system, sticky tires, great suspension, and excellent chassis tuning convinced me to buy one for my personal fleet and had the rest of our crew head over heels.

As for the 2016 Subaru WRX STI, I had driven one before and was left unimpressed. It felt too much like a normal passenger car despite the horsepower and giant rear wing. It also didn’t feel as buttoned up as the Golf R or as sorted as previous STIs. However, that feeling didn’t return after a fresh week in the driver’s Recaro.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 01

One for Alpine Highways
The Golf R’s nature is very Teutonic; everything has a reason. Turn the wheel and you’re met with immediate and urgent turn-in response. Shifts from the DCT are blistering, body roll almost undetectable. This car is fixed to the road as if it were set in stone and will have you turning faster and faster laps in a relatively short time.

I’ve spent the last year and a half evaluating my Golf R, putting in plenty of time on local canyon roads. Whenever I get behind the wheel, I feel at one with the car, a feeling helped along by the car’s near perfect seating position and sublime sport steering wheel. Though the numbers tell a different story, the Golf R’s nature makes it feel tighter, faster, and more proficient on the street.

2016 Subaru WRX STI front three quarter 02

And One for the Rally Stage
Whereas the Volkswagen is a digital road-racing attack dog, the Subaru’s character is purely analog. Instead of being bred as a pure tarmac car, Subaru’s STI is rooted in the company’s rally heritage. You accept that it’s not going to behave like the surefooted Golf R, grab the car by the scruff, and chuck it into a corner

Manual shifts are crisp, steering is precise, and the tachometer will run to 7,000 rpm. It’s an unruly car, one that shouldn’t be driven hard by the inexperienced. It is completely opposite of the character of the Golf R, which is exactly what makes it great.

The Subaru’s suspension feels properly old-fashioned. Even on super sticky Dunlop Sport MAXX tires, the STI groans under hard gravitational forces. Don’t be fooled by this apparent complaining, this WRX is still hugely impressive on asphalt, it just begs for a different challenge, one involving less traction.

2016 Subaru WRX STI side profile 1 2016 Subaru WRX STI rear spoiler 1 2016 Subaru WRX STI front three quarter 01 1 2016 Subaru WRX STI rear three quarter 1

Rough Patch
There’s one particular canyon road near my house I don’t normally test on. It leads from the base of a mountain to a peak where a fire rescue unit is stationed. There isn’t much traffic and as such, the roads aren’t as well maintained. Gravel and debris litter the road as the mountain consistently calves off portions of its face. Further aiding in the road’s rally-esque nature, it features cliffs that drop between 2,000 and 5,000 feet. It was the only location that made sense to stretch the Subaru’s legs.

On that pockmarked and pitted mountain road, with sporadic layers of rock, sand and debris, the STI came into its element. The all-wheel drive clawed at the grit-strewn pavement, hunting for grip. The Subaru’s higher ride height made easy work of the road as the suspension loaded up predictably every time. Here, the car’s true character came alive.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R front end 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R front end 01 2015 Volkswagen Golf R front three quarter 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02

Road vs. Rally
Subaru didn’t build a Golf R competitor. Subaru built what it knows how to build: a street-legal rally car. The companies built cars that played to their strengths. Thus, while the two manufacturers built two cars aimed at the same audience that appear similar after a cursory glance, they become unsurprisingly different when you get into the details.

Subaru’s WRX STI is a brilliant and competent car. It’s superbly quick in acceleration, agile when thrown into a corner, but it’s not a road racing competitor to Volkswagen’s Golf R as everyone believes. Whereas the Golf R loves smooth tarmac, the Subaru begs for a looser surface.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R front three quarter

2015 Volkswagen Golf R Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $35,650/$39,910 (base/as-tested)
Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/292 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD hatchback
EPA Mileage: 23/30 mpg (city/highway)
L x W x H: 168.4 x 70.8 x 56.5
Wheelbase: 103.5
Weight: 3305
0-60 MPH: 4.5 sec
Top Speed: 155 mph

2016 Subaru WRX STI Series.HyperBlue

On Sale: Now
Price: $35,195/$39,790 (base/as-tested)
Engine: 2.5L DOHC 16-valve H-4/305 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 290 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan
EPA Mileage: 19/28 mpg (city/highway)
L x W x H: 180.9 x 70.7 x 58.1
Wheelbase: 104.3
Weight: 3,391
0-60 MPH: 4.7 sec
Top Speed: 159 mph

 

The post 2015 Volkswagen Golf R vs. 2016 Subaru WRX STI Series.HyperBlue appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-volkswagen-golf-r-2016-subaru-wrx-sti/feed/ 0 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 01 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2016 Subaru WRX STI front three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf R front three quarter 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2016 Subaru WRX STI front three quarter 01 1
Watch a 2016 Ford Focus RS Race a Volkswagen Golf R on an Airstrip http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-2016-ford-focus-rs-race-volkswagen-golf-r-airstrip/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-2016-ford-focus-rs-race-volkswagen-golf-r-airstrip/#respond Mon, 25 Jul 2016 19:14:57 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=970577 It’s been quite a long time since a new car has drummed up as much hype and reverence as the 2016 Ford Focus RS. The all-wheel-drive hatchback enters a market currently occupied by heavy hitters with their own passionate fan bases, including the Subaru WRX STI and the Volkswagen Golf R. To see how the...

The post Watch a 2016 Ford Focus RS Race a Volkswagen Golf R on an Airstrip appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
It’s been quite a long time since a new car has drummed up as much hype and reverence as the 2016 Ford Focus RS. The all-wheel-drive hatchback enters a market currently occupied by heavy hitters with their own passionate fan bases, including the Subaru WRX STI and the Volkswagen Golf R. To see how the Focus stacks up against the competition, EVO pitted the RS in an airstrip drag against the Golf R.

On paper, this is a wash. The Golf R is motivated by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, producing 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Compared to those figures, the Focus RS is a monster, with a 2.3-liter turbo-four shoving out 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. As a result, VW claims the R will scuttle to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds, while Ford claims a very impressive 4.4 second sprint.

When the two cars launch on the strip, it’s much closer than we expected. The Focus RS did take the win, but just 0.2 seconds ahead of the Golf R, with a half-mile time of 21.3 seconds. Toward the end, the Golf R was beginning to make up ground on the Focus, with the Golf R’s 0-130 mph time of 23 seconds, and the RS’ time of 23.6 seconds.

Watch the two uber-hatches face-off on the airstrip below.

The post Watch a 2016 Ford Focus RS Race a Volkswagen Golf R on an Airstrip appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/watch-2016-ford-focus-rs-race-volkswagen-golf-r-airstrip/feed/ 0 Watch a 2016 Ford Focus RS Race a Volkswagen Golf R on an Airstrip - Automobile To see how the 2016 Ford Focus RS stacks up against the competition, EVO pitted the RS in an airstrip drag against the Golf R. 2016 ford focus rs
VW’s $14.7 Billion EPA Settlement: Same As It Ever Was http://www.automobilemag.com/news/vws-14-7-billion-epa-settlement-ever/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/vws-14-7-billion-epa-settlement-ever/#respond Wed, 29 Jun 2016 23:18:25 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=962769 It’s a testament to Volkswagen’s commitment to a market that it continues to misunderstand, the U.S., that it has agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion in a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of California over its clean diesel cheater-software scam. This dwarfs the $2 billion or so in fines and...

The post VW’s $14.7 Billion EPA Settlement: Same As It Ever Was appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
It’s a testament to Volkswagen’s commitment to a market that it continues to misunderstand, the U.S., that it has agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion in a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of California over its clean diesel cheater-software scam. This dwarfs the $2 billion or so in fines and settlements that General Motors has paid out so far for its ignition-switch defect, as well as the $1.2 billion Toyota Motor Company was penalized for the way it handled the dubious unintended-acceleration claims.

Volkswagen Group had to sack several top executives, including chief Martin Winterkorn, following September’s revelations, and investigations of the second-largest automaker in the world’s leadership are ongoing. Such huge U.S. fines would have driven a less tenacious import brand from our shores.

The settlement structure, as laid out by the EPA on Tuesday, mirrors the way in which VW tackled the U.S. market with its model year 2009 and newer “clean diesels.” After the initial market success of its North American- and Chinese-market specific 2012 VW Passat, the company crowed about a diesel take-rate as high as 25 percent in certain months. In an NPR report on Tuesday, a Washington state VW dealer said that as much as 30 percent of sales in his region were diesels before the September 2015 order to stop sales. Certainly, the Golf hatchbacks and Jetta wagons favored by Volkswagen fanboys brought the brand’s diesel share up from the Passat TDI number.

I’ve argued this before: That VW’s high diesel take-rate in the 2009-’15 model years largely reflects sales to its cognoscenti. It hasn’t had Subaru-like success in conquest sales of traditional Honda and Toyota buyers as part of its effort to reach 800,000 U.S. annual sales by 2018. CNBC editor Jeff Nash wrote about how he’s not an enthusiast and ended up with a VW Jetta TDI wagon because he wanted a wagon for his young family. He’ll take the buyout and turn his car in, which will be crushed. He says he won’t buy another VW with the payout.

2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI front end action shot

Here’s how the settlement will work. Up to $10.03 billion of the estimated $14.7 billion settlement with the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will go to owners of about 482,000 VW Golf, Jetta, Beetle/New Beetle, and Passat diesels, and Audi A3 diesels from the 2009-2015 model years.

If the EPA and CARB approve VW’s diesel vehicle-emissions system modification, TDI owners will have the option of keeping their cars and having them modified to comply with the standards. Under this option, the Federal Trade Commission requires that the customers “receive money from Volkswagen to redress the harm caused by VW’s deceptive advertising.”

A 2010 VW Jetta TDI owner who is part of a lawsuit filed against the automaker told The New York Times that he “gets nasty looks from every Prius driver that passes.” He and the Jeff Nashes of the world won’t be interested in keeping their cars and receiving just the FTC “deceptive advertising” kickback.

Owners who’d rather see their VW/Audi TDIs dragged away and crushed will get between $12,500 and $44,000 for them based on pre-September 2015 retail value, including about $5,100 to nearly $10,000 in additional cash. The reimbursement depends on the car’s age, model, mileage, and trim, and on the region of the country where it was purchased, the EPA says.

“In addition, because a straight buyback will not fully compensate consumers who owe more than their car is worth due to rapid depreciation, the FTC order provides these consumers with an option to have their loans forgiven by Volkswagen,” the EPA says. “Consumers who have third-party loans have the option of having Volkswagen pay off those loans, up to 130 percent of the amount a consumer would be entitled to under the buyback.” So, for instance, VW will pay $26,000 off on a loan for a car entitled to a $20,000 buyback.

If you have leased your VW TDI, you may terminate it with no fee or have your car modified to meet the standards when a modification becomes available. In either case, you’re entitled to additional compensation from the automaker.

So now you’re scouring eBay Motors for an unsuspecting owner trying to sell his or her TDI. “Consumers who sold their TDI vehicles after the VW defeat device issue became public may be eligible for partial compensation, which will be split between them and the consumers who purchased the cars from them as set forth in the FTC order.”

EPA and CARB have yet to approve a specific VW technical fix for the errant diesel engines, and the company is not excused from any ongoing civil suits. Plus, former and current VW execs are still subject to potential criminal action, with investigations ongoing in several countries including the U.S. On top of customer compensation, VW must pay another $2.7 billion to fund nitrogen-oxide reduction projects across the U.S. and another $2 billion to improve “infrastructure, access and education to support and advance zero-emission vehicles.” If VW doesn’t achieve an overall recall rate (buybacks and dealer fixes) of 85 percent, or roughly 410,000 cars, it must pay additional compensation into the EPA’s mitigation trust fund.

So what does Volkswagen get for its $14.7 billion? It gets to remain a struggling minor player in the U.S. industry, where sales, I predict, will remain about half of its original 2018 goal for at least the rest of the decade. That money could have been used to bring a long-awaited midsize SUV to market more quickly, though of course, it would have come with a diesel option offering unbelievable performance and fuel efficiency—perhaps as high as 40 mpg highway—for about $4,000 over base price. We’ll all be better off with a plug-in hybrid option instead.

The post VW’s $14.7 Billion EPA Settlement: Same As It Ever Was appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/vws-14-7-billion-epa-settlement-ever/feed/ 0 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI front end action shot 2015 Volkswagen Golf R rear three quarter 02 2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI front three quarter2
Zelectrified: Meet the All Electric 1964 Volkswagen Microbus http://www.automobilemag.com/news/zelectrified-meet-the-all-electric-1964-volkswagen-microbus/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/zelectrified-meet-the-all-electric-1964-volkswagen-microbus/#respond Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:30:20 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=949608 OCEANSIDE, California — The workshop is small and in a complex of identical buildings, many of which house other small businesses. Across the alley, a mechanic wrenches on a pretty serious-looking off-road buggy; a few doors down, another shop houses several interesting cars, including a classic Ferrari undergoing restoration. But here, something different happens. You...

The post Zelectrified: Meet the All Electric 1964 Volkswagen Microbus appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
OCEANSIDE, California — The workshop is small and in a complex of identical buildings, many of which house other small businesses. Across the alley, a mechanic wrenches on a pretty serious-looking off-road buggy; a few doors down, another shop houses several interesting cars, including a classic Ferrari undergoing restoration. But here, something different happens. You can tell by the charge cord plugged into a 1964 Volkswagen Type 2 (more commonly known as the Microbus), and a ’60 VW Beetle Convertible is driving into a parking space without its signature flat-four rasping away.

Out of the Beetle climbs a grinning David Benardo, Zelectric’s founder and CEO. Benardo was an air-cooled Volkswagen guy before he was an electric car guy; his childhood neighbor transformed VW Beetles into Meyers Manx-style dune buggies. Benardo, too, went through a succession of old VWs while working as creative director for various ad agencies and tech companies. A decade ago he heard about EV conversions for old Porsches and VWs and became interested in converting his Microbus, which led him to several companies offering EV conversion kits. None satisfied him.

1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 13

“The components that we’re using here have had enough time to evolve into things that are dependable,” Benardo says. “Back then, it was all-new technology, and it didn’t have a track record. I didn’t want to be a guinea pig.”

Years later, Benardo and his wife moved to California from the East Coast and bought a black ’66 Beetle. Again, an EV conversion was on his mind, and conversations with Matt Hauber, co-founder of electric-vehicle supplies business EV West, convinced him the technology was finally available to do a proper electric conversion. Benardo’s relationship with Hauber led to a partnership of sorts, and the latter sold his half of EV West to form Stealth EV. The majority of his current business is supplying and installing electric powertrains for Zelectric.

“You can leave the exterior lights on for weeks before the battery goes dead.”

Zelectric specializes in selling ready-to-drive EVs, no assembly required. The process typically starts with Benardo hunting down the latest conversion subject. Right now there are several future VW EVs lurking in different locations. Two are in Benardo’s home garage, and a 21-window Microbus is stashed at a local air-cooled VW specialist. A VW Thing destined to receive a 180-hp electric motor is sitting in Hauber’s shop, along with a Porsche 914 (one of Stealth EV’s side projects). A search is underway for a larger building to call headquarters.

1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 08

Once a usable subject is found, the powertrain is pulled and the engineless car gets a new transmission, disc brakes, a rebuilt and modified suspension, and a full cosmetic refurbishment, courtesy of local specialist shops. Battery boxes are built to fit several locations, typically under the rear seat, in the front trunk, or both. When the car is ready for its new electric heart, Hauber goes to work installing the motor and lithium-ion phosphate batteries, then wires up the complete system, including transducers in the brake circuit to activate regenerative braking. Range is said to be 70 to 80 miles for most vehicles, and the recharge time on 220-volt power is about eight hours. Although the electric motor is a couple hundred pounds lighter than the stock engine, the batteries weigh about 500 pounds, raising the vehicle’s weight slightly.

1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 50 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 10 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 30 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 15

Other considerations are given to the conversion from liquid fuel to electric power: A dash gauge shows the battery-charge percentage, and all vehicle lighting, inside and out, is via efficient LEDs. “You can leave the exterior lights on for weeks before the battery goes dead,” says Benardo. The charge port resides behind what was previously the fuel filler door, and the batteries for the Microbus I’m about to drive are built into the base of a custom second-row bench seat. Importantly, Benardo knows that even though millions of classic VWs were built, the company is not making more of them. To that end, all of Zelectric’s modifications are completely reversible, save for a couple small holes in the rear floorpan that allow cables to pass between batteries and motor.

1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 02
Those three orange wires coming off the motor are larger than they need to be, Benardo admits, but they sure look cool.

It’s finally time to hit the road in the green and white first-generation Microbus glimmering behind the shop. After hoisting myself up into the driver’s seat, it’s quickly apparent that in the event of a frontal collision, I am the crumple zone. Only a steering column and the thin sheetmetal that is the Bus’ front end separates me from whatever it might collide with. Meanwhile, the front windows are about 8 inches too short to see much of what’s above and ahead—like traffic signals—but they do swing open to give some airflow through the cabin on a warm day in Southern California.

1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 14
Like a golf cart, a simple turnswitch selects the drive mode in the Microbus. Batteries are housed in the custom seat base.

Turning the key and being met with silence instead of that classic VW sound is odd, but the low growl from the stock reduction gearing is something of a substitute. The overall noise level is still nowhere near as loud as a combustion-engined Microbus. With some 80 horsepower and 120 lb-ft of torque, the Bus moves cleanly away from a stop in third gear. Add people, stuff, and hills into the mix and you might want to start in first, but because first is such a low gear it is almost never needed in normal driving. In fact, around town the need to shift at all is pretty rare (third will take you from 0 to roughly 80 mph), but you can shift exactly as you would in a conventional Bus, with long, vague throws from the spindly lever. The clutch is a stock VW unit, and the transmission mates right up to the flywheel on the electric motor. In reality, the transmission just acts as a torque selector: Calm getaways are easy in third, and long burnouts seem entirely possible in first.

1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 06

There are virtually no rattles or squeaks while on the move, and the Microbus actually rides pretty comfortably thanks in part to its refreshed suspension. Steering can be a bit heavy at low speeds—Benardo is investigating electric power-steering systems—and the brakes require a bit more distance to stop than does a modern car, despite the upgrade to four-wheel discs. Make no mistake, the Zelectric conversion doesn’t remove the Bus’ classic charm. In fact, you could argue that it’s more engaging considering the increase in power over the stock 51-hp engine.

We’re headed to the beach because our photographer insists this is where you shoot a classic VW Bus—with a surfboard stashed inside. He’s not wrong, and the Bus gets plenty of attention as we cruise down Oceanside’s coastal streets. Whether many folks know about the electric conversion, despite the doorless engine compartment, is anybody’s guess, but most of the waving and traffic-light conversation simply revolves around the Bus itself. “What year is it?” “It’s just like the one my buddy had in high school.” And so on.

1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 09

As time marches forward, questions about the future of the classic car hobby become not just more varied, but also more urgent. Will we live to see a day that gasoline-powered cars are banned from our roads? What happens when all the mechanics who grew up tuning carburetors retire or die? The latter is already happening, which you already know if you own a car built prior to the 1980s.

Electric conversions won’t be for purists, and they do remove much of the sounds and smells that endear many to classic Volkswagen—and other brand—ownership, but they do solve many problems for a niche group of enthusiasts. “The charm of that sputtering, rackety engine has been fun for the last several decades,” Benardo admits, “but we think not having to run around with bailing wire and duct tape is a big improvement.” Electric powertrains also don’t mind sitting inactive as much as gasoline engines do, making them ideal for those with less time to drive their classic car or who leave them parked at vacation homes.

1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 11

Indeed, it seems entirely plausible that Zelectric should branch out into other marques, but Benardo says Volkswagens are the focus for now. The reason is simple. “Everything is available,” Benardo reminds me. “Turn signal lenses, chrome trim, pretty much everything you see outside of the car, you can get.” Porsche 356 Speedster replicas and other air-cooled, VW-based cars provide alternatives if standard Volkswagens aren’t your thing.

Today the lead time for your very own Zelectric vehicle is around four months, and conversions start at roughly $58,000 plus the cost of the vehicle. That’s not cheap, but for a forward-thinking classic car enthusiast, it may be worth every penny.

1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 01 1

1964 Volkswagen Microbus w/ Zelectric conversion Specifications

On Sale: Now
Price: $58,000 (as tested) (plus cost of donor vehicle)
Engine: 80 hp/120 lb-ft electric motor
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Layout:  3-door, 8-passenger, rear-engine, RWD van
Range: 70-80 miles (est)
L x W x H: 168.5 x 68.9 x 75.8 in
Wheelbase: 94.5 in
Weight: 2,700 lb (est)
0-60 MPH: 8.0 sec (est)
Top Speed: 100 mph (est)
1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 26 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 16 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 25 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 28 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 29 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 17 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 21 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 27 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 20 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 54 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 31 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 23 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 35 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 36 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 55 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 34 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 40 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 58 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 39 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 41 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 24 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 47 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 56 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 48 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 42 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 38 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 57 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 37 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 18 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 19 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 22 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 32 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 33 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 43 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 44 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 45 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 46 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 49 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 51 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 52 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 53 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 59 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 60 David Benardo 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 05 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 04 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 03 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07

Yes So Fast

Automotive enthusiasts might not automatically celebrate EVs, which still carry a stigma in the eyes of some. However, the technology can help satiate our need for speed as much as it addresses fuel-consumption concerns, and some manufacturers already produce, and others plan to produce, EVs capable of thrilling drivers:

Rimac Automobili Concept One

Rimac Automobili Concept_One
The Croatian-built car features four electric motors that develop LaFerrari-fighting 1,088 hp and 1,180 lb-ft of torque. It needs just 2.6 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph, with a theoretical
top speed of 221 mph.

NanoFlowcell Quant FE

NanoFlowcell Quant FE
NanoFlowcell’s entry delivers Lamborghini-like stunning looks. Its energy-generation system uses two ionic fluids stored in 66-gallon tanks that transmit power through a generator into a 70-kWh battery to produce more than 1,075 hp. The Quant FE will hit 62 mph in 2.8 seconds.

morgan ev3 13

Morgan EV3
This three-wheeler is recognizable instantly, but gone is the gasoline-powered, 116-hp S&S V-twin in favor of a 46-kW electric drivetrain.

Porsche Mission E Concept front three quarter

Porsche Mission E
Porsche is investing more than a billion euros to bring this one to reality. The fully electric sport sedan will feature all-wheel drive and develop 600 hp from dual electric motors. It should hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and be able to travel 310 miles per charge.

—Jonathon Klein

The post Zelectrified: Meet the All Electric 1964 Volkswagen Microbus appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/zelectrified-meet-the-all-electric-1964-volkswagen-microbus/feed/ 0 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 13 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 08 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 02 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 14 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 06 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 09 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 11 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 01 1 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 Rimac Automobili Concept One 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 NanoFlowcell Quant FE 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 morgan ev3 13 1964 Volkswagen Microbus with Zelectric conversion 07 Porsche Mission E Concept front three quarter
Volkswagen Discontinues Jetta Hybrid as Brand Lineup Gets Leaner http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-discontinues-jetta-hybrid-simplifies-lineup-2017/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-discontinues-jetta-hybrid-simplifies-lineup-2017/#respond Thu, 23 Jun 2016 23:00:41 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=960001 Volkswagen has announced mostly minor changes to its lineup for the 2017 model year. One of the biggest changes we haven’t already reported is that the Jetta Hybrid says goodbye. Originally brought out for the 2013 model year, the Jetta Hybrid had a short life. The most recent 2016 model topped out at 42/48 mpg city/highway....

The post Volkswagen Discontinues Jetta Hybrid as Brand Lineup Gets Leaner appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Volkswagen has announced mostly minor changes to its lineup for the 2017 model year. One of the biggest changes we haven’t already reported is that the Jetta Hybrid says goodbye.

Originally brought out for the 2013 model year, the Jetta Hybrid had a short life. The most recent 2016 model topped out at 42/48 mpg city/highway.

VW is making other small but meaningful changes to the Jetta range for 2017. Rearview camera is finally standard on the base model, as are LED daytime running lights and two-tone cloth seats. There are now just four available trims, including the S, SE, SEL and SEL Premium. The model also adds new driver assistance features to lower trims.

For 2017, VW is consolidating its semi-premium CC sedan lineup, nixing the Trend, R-Line 2.0T, and V6 Executive trim levels.

As we knew, the Golf family adds the Alltrack model, a rugged-looking, outdoorsy version of the standard SportWagen. The GTI adds a Sport trim that includes the Performance Package as standard. Two-door models will only be available in the S trim. Another VW hatch, the Beetle, gains several new special-edition models for the new model year, including the #PinkBeetle, Dune, and Classic model.

The Tiguan ditches the R-Line and SE trims for 2017, although it adds Wolfsburg and Sport models. New standard features include an infotainment system with 6.3 touchscreen and USB, Bluetooth, and VW Car-Net.

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune front three quarter in motion 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack profile Volkswagen Golf Alltrack front three quarters in motion1 Volkswagen Golf GTI MKVII euro market volkswagen tiguan r line front three quarters in motion 02 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan R Line front passengers side

The post Volkswagen Discontinues Jetta Hybrid as Brand Lineup Gets Leaner appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-discontinues-jetta-hybrid-simplifies-lineup-2017/feed/ 0 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan R Line front passengers side 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan R Line front passengers side 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan R Line front passengers side 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan R Line front passengers side 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan R Line front passengers side 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan R Line front passengers side
VW Outlines Plans for Green Engines, Autonomous Cars http://www.automobilemag.com/news/vw-outlines-plans-green-engines-autonomous-cars/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/vw-outlines-plans-green-engines-autonomous-cars/#respond Wed, 22 Jun 2016 17:39:12 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=958797 After dieselgate broke, Volkswagen said that electric vehicles would help it weather the scandal. Now the automaker has outlined a multi-billion dollar plan of action called “Strategy 2025,” which calls for cleaner gas engines, third-party emissions tests, and an “electrification initiative second to none in the industry.” VW will equip new TSI and TFSI engines...

The post VW Outlines Plans for Green Engines, Autonomous Cars appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
After dieselgate broke, Volkswagen said that electric vehicles would help it weather the scandal. Now the automaker has outlined a multi-billion dollar plan of action called “Strategy 2025,” which calls for cleaner gas engines, third-party emissions tests, and an “electrification initiative second to none in the industry.”

VW will equip new TSI and TFSI engines with gasoline particulate filters starting in June 2017. The initiative goes into effect on the new VW Tiguan and Audi A5 and will reduce particulate emissions by up to 90 percent. By 2022, up to 7 million VW vehicles could have the technology.

Another big part of VW’s greener future is electrification. The automaker confirmed it will launch more than 30 battery electric cars by 2025. By then, VW should sell about 2 to 3 million pure EVs annually, representing about 25 percent of the company’s total sales volume. When announcing “Strategy 2025” in Hanover, Germany, VW CEO Matthias Müller said the company’s EV plan is a “multi-billion euro investment program” and will accompany the automaker’s work on fuel cells.

Volkswagen BUDD e concept side profile1 Volkswagen BUDD e concept steering wheel1 Volkswagen BUDD e concept rear three quarters 021 Volkswagen BUDD e concept chassis1

VW has already started its work on electrification. The next e-Golf should see a 30-percent range bump here, while the Budd-E concept shown earlier this year demonstrates technology VW is committed to bringing to future production cars. Müller says by 2030, electrically powered cars will account for a third of new vehicle market volume.

Meanwhile, VW wants to merge EV technology with autonomous private and freight vehicles. “Fully autonomous vehicles with a self-driving system developed in-house will enter the market by the beginning of the next decade. Cumulative investment in new autonomous mobility solutions will amount to several billion euros,” Müller noted.

The automaker also recently announced its partnership with ridesharing company Gett as part of its strategy that will involve autonomous cars for hire. “In the years ahead, we will group other services such as robotaxis, car sharing or on-demand transport in quick succession around this core [ride sharing] service,” Müller said. Its aim is to achieve sales revenue in the multi-billion euro range from this strategy.

Müller continues to emphasize 2016 is a year of transformation for the company. To help prevent another diesel scandal, independent third parties will conduct VW’s emissions tests. Real-world testing will also be a key part of the plan.

Although VW hasn’t addressed the issue, we’ve heard the automaker will kill off more than 40 cars in its efforts to focus on EVs, autonomous cars, and ride sharing. Rumors have also swirled that the automaker is thinking of selling off some of its side businesses to save cash.

The post VW Outlines Plans for Green Engines, Autonomous Cars appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/vw-outlines-plans-green-engines-autonomous-cars/feed/ 0 Volkswagen BUDD e concept chassis1 Volkswagen BUDD e concept chassis1 Volkswagen BUDD e concept chassis1 Volkswagen BUDD e concept chassis1
Long-Wheelbase Volkswagen Tiguan for U.S. Previewed by Body-in-White http://www.automobilemag.com/news/long-wheelbase-volkswagen-tiguan-u-s-previewed-body-white/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/long-wheelbase-volkswagen-tiguan-u-s-previewed-body-white/#respond Thu, 16 Jun 2016 18:00:21 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=955677 The first pre-production body-in-white for the upcoming Volkswagen Tiguan long-wheelbase model has rolled off the assembly line at the automaker’s production plant in Puebla, Mexico. Although official production of the Tiguan LWB model isn’t slated until the first quarter of 2017, the early body-in-white allows the automaker “to check the calibration of body shop equipment...

The post Long-Wheelbase Volkswagen Tiguan for U.S. Previewed by Body-in-White appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
The first pre-production body-in-white for the upcoming Volkswagen Tiguan long-wheelbase model has rolled off the assembly line at the automaker’s production plant in Puebla, Mexico.

Although official production of the Tiguan LWB model isn’t slated until the first quarter of 2017, the early body-in-white allows the automaker “to check the calibration of body shop equipment and processes.”

While Volkswagen says the new body-in-white is a significant milestone for the new Tiguan LWB, the new body shop at the plant is still being fit with new equipment and machinery. The extension for the body shop adds about 762,085 sq,-ft. to the plant. More than 50,000 tons worth of equipment is waiting to be installed. Some of that equipment includes 800 Fanuc welding robots.

While it’s unconventional to show a pre-production body-in-white ahead of a vehicle’s official reveal, this isn’t an unprecedented move by the automaker. Last month, the automaker showed the body-in-white for the upcoming midsize three-row crossover inspired by the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept. Not only has Volkswagen yet to show the production version of that model, the automaker hasn’t even revealed its name.

Volkswagen de Mexico will build the new Tiguan LWB at the plant in Puebla for all global markets besides China. As we’ve previously reported, the long-wheelbase Tiguan will be the crossover the U.S. gets, offered with an optional third row.

The post Long-Wheelbase Volkswagen Tiguan for U.S. Previewed by Body-in-White appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/long-wheelbase-volkswagen-tiguan-u-s-previewed-body-white/feed/ 0
Volkswagen Has 7 EVs Up Its Sleeve http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-7-evs-sleeve/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-7-evs-sleeve/#respond Tue, 14 Jun 2016 17:53:27 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=954785 Volkswagen Group’s mother brand began losing luster, character, and desirability long before its diesel disaster. Dictatorial cutline fetishists led to anonymous designs, Wolfsburg decision-makers overlooked the digital mindset supported elsewhere in the industry, and VW’s cold and technocratic brand image, cultivated by nuts-and-bolts leadership, flopped in the marketplace. Emotion took a back seat, and innovation...

The post Volkswagen Has 7 EVs Up Its Sleeve appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Volkswagen Group’s mother brand began losing luster, character, and desirability long before its diesel disaster. Dictatorial cutline fetishists led to anonymous designs, Wolfsburg decision-makers overlooked the digital mindset supported elsewhere in the industry, and VW’s cold and technocratic brand image, cultivated by nuts-and-bolts leadership, flopped in the marketplace. Emotion took a back seat, and innovation remained a purely engineering-driven thing. As electromobility becomes more accepted and unexceptional, though, the groggy giant has gotten an unexpected opportunity to reinvent itself.

“One of our key strategic goals is to develop a fully digital and autonomous [battery electric vehicle] portfolio,” says sales and marketing chief Jürgen Stackmann. “VW will continue to offer the very best of German engineering, but we are also going to put a much greater emphasis on sustainability, new mobility solutions, intuitive ergonomics, and the opportunities of connectivity.” One of the key tools VW executives will use to refloat the big old steamer is the new modular electric components set codenamed MEB. This fully flexible architecture will underpin vehicles targeting millennials (age 17-38) and Generation Z (17 and younger), as well as the more affluent Generation X (age 39-50) and the even more prosperous former baby boomers (age 51-69). Stackmann says, “Irrespective of age and gender, MEB addresses a clientele which embraces new visions implemented with the help of truly relevant technologies.”

2015 Volkswagen E Golf rear three quarter

According to the preliminary timetable, VW will present no fewer than seven MEB-based concept cars between October 2016 and October 2018:

  • NUVe debuts at this year’s Paris auto show in late September. The “New Urban Vehicle” is a fully connected, zero-emission city car. At least half a size bigger than the BMW i3, this specifically urban interpretation of MEB will be made almost entirely of steel, not carbon fiber or aluminum. After all, the new brand-shaper must be priced in close vicinity to a four-door Golf TDI 4Motion with a DSG transmission when it goes on sale in 2020 or 2021.

 

  • The e-Golf will be offered alongside the NUVe, and the two will share a footprint but little else. The e-Golf will be the smallest MEB derivative but should be almost as roomy as a Passat.

 

  • An electric CUV, A+, should bow at the Detroit auto show in January 2017. Like NUVe, the battery-powered SUV will be fully prepared for cordless charging. The A+ will have a relatively long wheelbase, three rows of seats, and enough space for seven. Those who have seen early proposals describe it as a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) with a coupe roofline and strong SUV overtones—a real crossover, by the sound of it. Low-mounted battery trays will be positioned between the axles, ahead of the e-motor propelling the rear wheels. Although all-wheel drive is a possibility, the second motor would add weight and require additional energy cells, so Audi and e-Quattro will likely pave this way for VW. Expect automated parking, autonomous driving at speeds up to 80 mph, and a more advanced interaction with other road users.

 

  • The regular “A” electric CUV will be one of the highlights of the September 2017 Frankfurt show. About a foot shorter than its A+ sibling, the smaller planet-saver is a much sportier vehicle boasting all-wheel drive, a 300-hp power pack, and performance batteries. This sexy five-seater will be shaped along the lines of an all-new model that Range Rover will soon use to plug the gap between the Evoque and Range Rover Sport. Subtitled “Cross Emotion Concept,” the Tiguan-size coupe utility vehicle will fuse elegance and functionality, use adaptive aerodynamics in combination with ride-height adjustment, and boast signature LED headlights and OLED taillights.

Volkswagen TPrime Concept GTE 8

  • X-BEV is earmarked for the April 2017 Shanghai show. This high-end Volkswagen effectively replaces the discontinued Phaeton that once was the darling of the Chinese upper class. X denotes the car’s crossover ambitions, but this is actually more like the comfort-oriented luxury version of the new Audi Q e-tron. In contrast to its more compact siblings, the X-BEV due in 2019 fuses space-efficient MEB genes with the DNA of the more generous MLB architecture. Perhaps the most intriguing trait is the lounge concept chosen for the vast interior, offering free seating in just about any conceivable configuration.
2014 Volkswagen XL1 front right view 2014 Volkswagen XL1 rear view 2014 Volkswagen XL1 right side view 21 Volkswagen XL1 front three quarter 2 2014 Volkswagen XL1 underbelly view Volkswagen XL1 interior 2014 Volkswagen XL1 interior view 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel
  • The Aero due in January 2018 combines a small frontal area and a very low drag coefficient for industry-leading aerodynamics. Think of it as a full-length, four-door, five-passenger XL1, and you’re almost there. But unlike the uncomfortably tight XL1, the Aero is reportedly as roomy inside as the current Jetta. The Aero’s center of gravity sits exceptionally close to the ground, the rear wheelhouses carry partial fairings, and the drag-cutting aids on the nose and tail work in tandem. According to sources in Wolfsburg, the luxurious long-distance GT will be positioned as a more efficient Tesla Model S rival with three available power packs and a maximum driving range of up to 375 miles.

 

  • The e-roadster is planned for debut at the March 2018 Geneva show. Like the Aero, the surprisingly small two-seater must do exceptionally well in the drag sweepstakes. Means to this end include a low-flying tapered nose, small cooling apertures for the batteries and the rear-mounted motor, a flush underside, fixed upper and lower rear air dams, large-diameter wheels shod with relatively narrow tires, and a steeply raked windscreen to which one can attach a simple canvas top. The e-roadster is reminiscent of the stillborn VW Mimo project that management shot down in 2009. This could be the world’s first truly CO2-neutral sports car.

 

  • The e-Bulli microbus should show up at the September/October 2018 Paris show. This will be VW’s fourth attempt to reinvent the iconic microbus that has yet to strike a credible compromise between retro and contemporary. Derived from the very same MEB matrix as the rest of the range, the scalable high-roof BEV could cover the full spectrum from noiseless city van to a high-end private coach for four. Fresh touches to the Bulli theme include a walk-through cabin, portal-type side-hinged doors, fully flexible seating, and advanced voice control. If the e-Bulli is well enough received by main markets, it might be the starting point for a lineup of new-school, old-style, clean-air models like an e-Beetle.

2011 Volkswagen Bulli concept front three quarter

Although all MEB-based VWs have been shaped by Klaus Bischoff and his team—a consistent design theme includes a contrasting roof, C-pillars split at the base, and a double-kink lower window line—rumor has it that Jozef Kabaň is moving from Skoda to northern Germany to become the marque’s new creative director.

Since MEB is flexible in length, wheelbase, width, and depth, there is no need for a bespoke high-floor CUV/SUV application. Standardized items include axles, drive units, and the human-machine interface platform. VW is preparing its MEB architecture for 100-, 200-, and 400-volt docking stations. In terms of battery technology, e-motors, modular electronics, and transmission technology, VW is seeking affordable, large-scale solutions and plans to produce almost all drivetrain elements in-house. This may not be the most economical approach, seeing how VW expects to build 1 million BEVs per year by 2025, but it should keep the unions happy and sure helps VW catch up with the rest of the world in terms of know-how and component integration.

All power and torque figures are tentative, seeing how the first MEB-based production model is still about four years away, but the BEV powertrain portfolio stretches from a single 60kW unit to two 85kW motors paired with one 60kW element for a maximum grand total of 230kW (308 hp). The strongest transmission can handle up to 270Nm (200 lb-ft of torque). Segmentation will not only be by power and torque, but also by driving range. Here, the three relevant (and highly price-sensitive) thresholds are 200, 300, and 400 miles on a single charge.

2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI front badge

With MEB and the BEVs built on it, VW hopes to address future customer requirements, the needs of mobility providers such as Uber and Lyft, and bespoke mobility solutions and transportation services supported by its new partner Gett. “I am confident that our take on electromobility is going to increase the public awareness of things done right,” Stackmann says. “With MEB, VW is in a strong position to defend the middle ground one level below premium. Make no mistake: We still treasure the values of the traditional world like driving pleasure, but at the same time we embrace the qualities of the postmodern world like urban mobility and digitalization.”

This brave new electric world could bolster VW’s tarnished brand image, helping the automaker become friendlier, purer, and more modern, but the products and the infrastructure required for them are still in their infancy. While VW Group boss Matthias Müller’s predecessors did not handle the combustion principle of Rudolf Diesel as well as they should have, Thomas Edison’s findings may well give Volkswagen a second chance.

The post Volkswagen Has 7 EVs Up Its Sleeve appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/volkswagen-7-evs-sleeve/feed/ 0 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2015 Volkswagen E Golf rear three quarter 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel Volkswagen TPrime Concept GTE 8 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2011 Volkswagen Bulli concept front three quarter 2014 Volkswagen XL1 steering wheel 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI front badge