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VW Tests Hybrid vs Diesel; Defers Hybrid

The German auto magazine Auto Bild reports (German) on Volkswagen’s testing of a prototype hybrid Touran (a compact van, or MPV).

VW built a test hybrid [gasoline-electric; thanks Jamais!] Touran and compared it to the same model with a production diesel powerplant. The results: the diesel delivered better fuel economy: 5.0 liters of fuel/100km to the hybrid’s 6.1 liters/100km. The verdict: VW will not yet put hybrids into quantity production—not until they can improve the fuel economy and the cost. When VW hybrids do show up, they will probably do so first in the US.

“[Hybrids are] an interesting niche. No more, no less,” says Volkswagen developer Ekkehard Pott, who sees the future for hybrids “rather in the USA.”


Jamais Cascio

Was the hybrid a gasoline-electric hybrid or a diesel-electric hybrid?


It was a gasoline-electric hybrid.

Jamais Cascio

The question, then, is what sort of results they would have gotten from a diesel-electric hybrid. I wonder if they considered it.


The tests appear to focus only on fuel economy -- how do the two compare in terms of emissions?


I don’t think they focused on emissions...just initially on fuel economy in this test.


I think a siesel hybrid would be hard to design because diesel motors take a while to worm up. All that starting and stoping of the motor would cause a loss of fuel economy. My friend has a 96 jetta TDI and I have a 04 prius. The prius is the performance and effiency winner but not by much and the price drifrence is stagering
Jetta - $6500 CND used
Prius - $34000 CND new


A hybrid system works by taking energy from braking, store it as electricity, and use it for acceleration and low speeds. So, in any case, it improves the efficiency of the engine. I can't see why it wouldn't be suitable for diesel engines. As a matter of fact, hybrid-diesel engines are being developed.

Eric H

A diesel hybrid would be hard to design because diesels take a while to warm up? Nonsense, mine warms up just fine. Now add an electric motor. Oops - what about the battery performance in cold weather?

The starting and stopping of the engine would result in an average temperature below the steady-state running temp, but above ambient, and therefore should not be a problem.


I am searching a van or minivan with hybrid and gasoline for
butane use LPG...
but the German Car factories are sleeping..
Diesel is cheaper than gasoline, so they hope to sell more Diesel cars. But they dont look into the future... how fool !

mike hood

It would be easy for the electric motor/battery pack to signal the diesel engine warm up (lets say 3 seconds) prior to diesel start up. Of course this would put more strain on the batteries over extended start ups and shut offs, but there are ways around that also

Paul ji

A few things to note.
If memory serves it was one Mr. Diesel, a German who invented the "diesel" engine so a fondness for diesels might be expexted from Germans.

A certain German,Mr. Wankel invented the Rotary engine, undoubtedly the most ENERGY EFFECIENT Internal combustion engine yet developed. How this type of engine is not THE standard, particularly in "small" cars is subject to every conspiriacy theory you ever read, and a complete mystery.

The use of brakes to generate electricity couppled with a Rotary Diesel or natural gas powered "hybrid" would wipe out our "energy" problems.

VW is an automobile manufacturer so they are controlled by the same forces that prevent other manufacturers from building fuel effecient transportation.

All petroleum powered vehicles have to be considered not "green." We need to keep oil for all the other things we use it for.

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