Volkswagen to introduce Passat Plug-in hybrid “soon”; Group electrifying more than 40 more models over next few years
In remarks before the opening of the Geneva Motora Show, Volkswagen Group Chairman of the Board of Management Prof. Dr. Winterkorn said that a plug-in hybrid version of the Volkswagen Passat would join the Group’s range of low-CO2 vehicles “soon.”
In his remarks, Winterkorn noted that Group research and development expenditure rose by 15% last year to the record value of €10.2 billion (US $14 billion), with the “lion’s share going to green technologies.” Winterkorn said that the Group was reinforcing its objective to become the world’s leading automaker, also in ecological terms, by 2018.
Customers can currently choose between 54 model variants from Volkswagen Group brands that emit less than 100 grams CO2/km, with 324 model variants below 120 grams.
The range includes “3-liter cars” (i.e., cars with fuel consumption in the range of 3.x liters/100 km) such as the Golf TDI BlueMotion (3.2 l/100 km combine) or the Audi A3 TDI ultra (3.2 l/100 km combined) as well as “3-euro cars” such as the eco up! (2.9 kg CNG/100 km), which can travel 100 kilometers for about three euros (US$4.12).
He said that the plug-in hybrids Golf GTE (1.5 l/100 km) and Audi A3 Sportback e-tron (1.5 l/100 km) were now being added to the range of electric vehicles from the e-up! (11.7 kWh/100 km) to the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid (3.1 l/100km).
Further high-efficiency models such as the Audi A8, A6 and Q7 or the plug-in hybrid version of the Volkswagen Passat are to follow soon. Because this technology has a future.—Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn
The Group’s modular strategy in production—i.e., the use of the modular Baukästen (assembly kits such as the MQB, MLB or MSB, earlier post)—means that it will be possible to electrify more than 40 models over the next few years, Winterkorn said.
Our modular toolkits place us in a position to develop and build our cars faster, more flexibly and more economically than in the past. We can offer even greater variety—as well as producing niche models in a profitable way. Our toolkits also mean that we can offer all our innovations and powertrains in all segments and markets within a very short space of time.—Martin Winterkorn
Winterkorn also announced that Volkswagen would consistently expand its sustainability program, with life cycle assessments to be produced for more vehicles, in line with the life cycle engineering approach.
We are not satisfied with just making eco-friendly cars at eco-friendly plants. We conceive and shape mobility in holistic terms. From power generation, through development, production, sale and operation to the recycling stage. With an environmental strategy that is firmly anchored and measurable with respect to all the brands and regions of the Volkswagen Group.—Martin Winterkorn
The environmental strategy of the Group is being implemented in a binding, measurable way in all relevant business areas along the value stream. The high sustainability requirements of the Group are now also a firm component of contracts with suppliers. Volkswagen is also the first German automaker to have joined the Clean Shipping Network in order to analyze and reduce the environmental impact of marine transport. Another example is energy efficiency advice for all Volkswagen brand dealerships in Germany, with a view to reducing the CO2 emissions of partner companies by 25% by 2020.