It does! It doesn’t. It does! It doesn’t... This was the refrain for the past few years among Volkswagen TDI enthusiasts wondering if our car company of choice would be making a hybrid version of its beloved Golf TDI turbodiesel. Well, it looks like at long last they indeed will have something like that. Although it may use that other, less powerful fuel known as “gasoline.”
According to MotorTrend magazine in a September 2008 article, die Jungs aus Wolfsburg have a Golf plug-in hybrid capable of doing 30 miles on battery alone. After reaching 30 mph, the combustion engine kicks in, refueling the battery and powering the car’s motion.
Oh, here’s what they said about why it’s not a Diesel:
“A basic proof-of-concept version using a diesel engine is currently testing, in a 20-car fleet, in Berlin. But at the Golf 6 launch, VW engineers said the production version will be gasoline-powered because emission controls will soon get too expensive for a hybrid.“
But, TDI fanatics may have some hope in this curious “Up! Lite” concept car (what would Pixar Disney say about that name?) that was shown at the LA Auto Show. According to the blokes at The Register, the Up! Lite gets a New European Vehicle Cycle fuel economy rating of 2.44l/100km — “or just shy of 116mpg (UK).” And according to this handy unit conversion web site, using brawny American miles-per-gallon standards, that translates to a very impressive 99mpg.
I’d always said a Diesel hybrid would crush the mileage of any gasoline hybrid, much as my TDI crushes the mileage of most gas cars on the road without the benefit of a battery pack. (Really, just look at the body…) While we don’t have any Diesel hybrids on the road in the U.S. and in mainstream use, this all seems to support my point. Perhaps with the smaller two-stroke engine Volkswagen engineers could find a way to need less of the emissions control features than they do with the beefier four-cylinder engine found in the current Clean Diesel lineup.