Volkswagen outlines a range of near-term technologies for reducing fuel consumption and emissions; stop-start 2.0, 10-speed DSG
Volkswagen presented its latest technologies for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions—which includes the first 10-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG)—in an Innovation Workshop for the media at the Ehra-Lessien test track facility near Wolfsburg.
Volkswagen AG has set the goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable carmaker by the year 2018. Compared to baseline figures for 2010, the Group wants to reduce energy and water consumption, waste generation and emissions (including CO2 emissions) by 25% in all of its business areas. (I.e., VW’s “Strategy 2018”, earlier post.) To achieve this, the Volkswagen brand—the highest volume brand of the Group—is counting on electric mobility (zero-emission and plug-in hybrid models); on continually more fuel-efficient combustion engines and gearboxes; progressive lightweight design; aerodynamics; and efficiency “in every conceivable area”.
Mild hybrid: stop-start 2.0 and coasting with engine off. The start-stop 2.0 system does not just deactivate the engine when the car is stationary at a red light; it already deactivates the engine at speeds below 7 km/h (4.4 mph). In coasting with engine off (special coasting function), the engine is also shut off at higher speeds as soon as the driver releases the accelerator pedal. This can significantly improve fuel economy when the driver adopts an anticipatory style of driving. In addition, the mild hybrid systems enable energy recovery in braking phases; productive use of this energy results in further fuel economy benefits.
10-speed DSG. Volkswagen launched the first production dual clutch transmission in 2003 as the Volkswagen 6-speed DSG, which was initially used in the Golf R32 and the Audi TT. Volkswagen is now presenting a newly developed 10-speed DSG for engines with up to 550 N·m (406 lb-ft) of torque. The highly efficient layout of its gear steps contributes towards further lowering of CO2 emissions.
(Dr. Heinz Jakob-Neußer, Member of the Board of Management at Volkswagen responsible for the Development Division, referenced the 10-speed DSG at the Vienna Motor Symposium in May 2014. Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, had announced Volkswagen was working on the 10-speed at the same event in 2013. Earlier post.)
High-performance diesel. The new 240-PS bi-turbo diesel (176 kW) in the recently revealed Passat features a power density of 120 PS per liter displacement—the most powerful of any four-cylinder TDI that has ever been put into production. (Earlier post.) Fuel consumption of the sedan, which has a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph), is 5.3 l/100 km (44 mpg US).
Volkswagen suggested that “an intelligent advanced development” of this TDI might take the following form: the power of the two-liter engine could be increased to 200 kW / 272 PS by the use of a variable valve train, further optimized gas exchange cycles and an electric booster. (This would result in power density of 136 PS/liter (134 hp/liter).)
Progressive detailed solutions. In this area, Volkswagen has just adapted a sandwich construction method—two steel cover layers and a middle polymer-thermoplastic layer—from low-volume to high-volume production. The “technology donor” in this case is the street version of the Polo R WRC (in 2014, Volkswagen won the rally world championship for the second consecutive time with the racing version of this car).
New systems such as the extremely thin oxide film that is vapor deposited on the low-E glass sunroof, making it infrared-reflecting, a dashboard that also reflects infrared light (both developments reduce the cooling load of the air conditioner), a range manager for electric vehicles (for optimal use of the energy stored in the battery) and need-based and extremely efficient air conditioning (also for zero-emission models such as the e-up! and e-Golf) are equally important in ensuring that fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are further reduced.
Integration of consumer electronics. In parallel to the theme of sustainability, Volkswagen is also driving the integration of maximum interactivity in all vehicle classes, which achieves a new dimension in comfort and convenience. In the process, the car is becoming increasingly better networked with the communication world of consumer electronics. That is because more apps and online services than ever can now be used via the modular infotainment system (MIB) and Volkswagen Car-Net.
The applications of Volkswagen Car-Net are generating gains in safety, comfort and convenience. As an example, “Security & Service” lets users view vehicle data over the internet. Users might use them to check fuel and washer fluid levels before heading out on a trip.
After the initial use of MirrorLink in the Polo and Passat, Volkswagen continues to further develop the integration of smart phones. Volkswagen is combining interfaces to a wide variety of operating systems of mobile phones, and thus also to the MirrorLink apps, under “App Connect”, because soon it will be possible to link nearly all smart phones to the infotainment system via “Apple CarPlay” and “Android Auto”.
Media Control. The “Media Control” system that was introduced in the new Passat links tablets of all types into the matrix of infotainment systems. Rear passengers, in particular, can conveniently use their tablets to operate all key entertainment functions (radio and media), surf the Internet, view movies or send an address book entry to the infotainment system as a destination for navigation. It is also easy to find addresses by Google search and integrate them into navigation.
Interactive systems. At Ehra-Lessien, Volkswagen is showing, for the first time, a prototype of a predictive, i.e. self-programming, navigation system. It “takes note” of the routes that the driver prefers without having to activate navigation first. Typical routes, such as the commute to work, are then automatically scanned—for traffic problems, for example—without the driver having to start the navigation process.
In addition, the system integrates information about the route most likely to be driven into the operating and charging strategy of a plug-in hybrid drive. Another example of the car that “thinks with the driver” is the “Easy Close” function introduced with the new Passat Estate. Here, the trunk lid closes as soon as the person with the Passat key moves away from it; the car is also automatically locked.
Progress has also been made in the area of personalization. From now on, it will be possible to further customize the personalized settings in a vehicle. These settings will be stored in user accounts for individual drivers. When the car is opened, they are automatically activated individually for the specific driver, and they are clearly displayed. This eliminates the need to repeatedly readjust the seat, mirrors, radio stations and driver assistance systems. Over the long term, it will even be possible to port these settings to another Volkswagen.