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VW: Biodiesel Yes, Hybrids No. At Least for Now.

23 November 2004

Autowired in the UK reports that Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen, remarked that while Volkswagen will eventually offer hybrids, it won’t be soon.

Speaking to journalists in London, prior to the SMMT Annual Dinner, where he was guest speaker, he said: “We are not interested in making cars which don’t make money.”

Biodiesel, he suggested, is the short-term answer and confirmed that his company was working in this area.

He said that developing the technology for a hybrid poses no problems but suggested that the cost of putting it into a car makes it prohibitive, adding that the European trend is for customers to buy lower-priced cars.

This is a consistent position for VW, even with their ongoing research with hybrids. VW brought a diesel mild hybrid to the Challenge Bibendum in Shanghai this year, for example. (Earlier post.) The company at various times has allowed that a hybrid might be of interest to the US market. (Earlier post.) 

VW is struggling with dropping US sales, a product line that needs to be refreshed, a couple of specific models that flopped and management difficulties. Sounds like it might be time to swing out a bit on the green side. Get aggressive in the US with the biodiesel message, and  roll out some hybrids.    

November 23, 2004 in Biodiesel, Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

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Comments

This is what we should be building right now. In my opinion Ford and GM will go bankrupt before they even begin to catch on.

For about the past year I have offered anyone who would listen the following info: None of the American automobile companies have even responded. I have had some positive response from several educational institutions but - as far as I know - none have done any experimental work to verify my claims.

Here is what I have been proposing:

In one scale or another everyone of these systems have been proven.

Like to produce a vehicle that can burn rubber on takeoff on all four wheels and get 90+ mpg?

What I would like to see the automakers working on would have:

A turbocharged, two cylinder opposed, 2-cycle, air-cooled diesel directly
driving a generator. (It would not be running most of the time.) A 111 volt Lithium-Ion Polymer battery pack. Nothing but wires going from the controller to every wheel, except for the necessary additional friction
brakes (of course). An added advantage of this would be the ability to recharge from the electrical grid while at home, saving even more on fuel.

Each wheel, depending on the feedback to the controller from wheel speed sensors would drive with just the right power depending on the accelerator position. You would get recharging from deceleration just as you do in today's hybrids. You would also use this feedback to stop the wheel from skidding.

Each wheel would have a stationary stator and a series of fixed magnets closely adjacent all around the inside of the wheel. In a sense it would operate each wheel in a very similar fashion that the mag-lev trains use,
except the motion would be circular, of course. Something very different about this type of motor is that the stators are fixed to the axles and the magnets are driven around them. This gives a significant increase in
mechanical advantage. That's like turning an ordinary electric motor inside out.

There would be no need for ordinary electric motor brushes. In fact, many electric motors operating today are brushless.

Such motors already exist in the model airplane field and their efficiently
is amazing - approaching 90%. I've got a couple and doubt that I would ever buy any other type.

It's possible to hang the model on the prop right out in front of you and
accelerate straight up, like a rocket, with this type motor

In the vehicle the motor/generator would not turn on to recharge the
batteries until they needed it. There are already experimental Lithium-Ion
driven cars that can get in excess of 200 miles before they have to be
recharged by plugging them in. You would top off your batteries overnight by plugging them in. Some cutting edge research by Toshiba - employing nano-technology - indicates that recharging can be done so fast that you could top off while eating lunch.

Lithium -Ion battery technology is so new that I doubt that very many
automotive engineers have even heard of them, much less thought to use them in this manner. Their energy density exceeds that of any other form of rechargeable energy storage.

The Lithium Ion battery is the most efficient battery available right now. So is the outer rotor electric motor the most efficient motor.

Build an Automobile right and it will weight less and have simpler, easier to repair/replace modules.

Lets see what we can eliminate while improving performance and efficiency.

Transmission - None

Ignition system - None

Liquid cooling - None

Valves and valve train - None

Use bio-oil/fuels for both fuel and lubrication.

Feel free to pass this along to anyone you know in the Transportation business.

I bought a Honda Civic Hybrid last summer. I enjoy it more than any vehicle I've ever owned. I will Never buy another vehicle that isn't a Hybrid and doesn't get at least 50 mpg.

As far as I can tell, Detroit isn't even thinking the same way I and the vast majority of it's potential customers are.

William Lucas Jones
490 Mauldin Rd.
Sautee, GA 30571-3159

(706) 219-3333

Biodiesel is definitely an underused technology. I think VW should be promoting their TDI automobiles much more. I own a Golf TDI and think it's great! (read my review).

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