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Volkswagen apprentices unveil 48V hybrid Golf GTI, enhanced Golf GTE PHEV at at Wörthersee meeting

At Volkswagen’s Wörthersee meeting this week, 13 apprentices from Volkswagen Wolfsburg and Sitech are presenting the first GTI that also features electric propulsion: the Golf GTI First Decade. A different team of 14 apprentices from Volkswagen Sachsen are also unveiling a Wörthersee show car, the Golf GTE Variant impulsE—a show version of the production plug-in hybrid featuring enhanced all-electric range.

The Golf GTI First Decade combines a 410 PS (300 kW) gasoline engine driving the front wheels with a 48-volt electric motor that drives the rear wheels with a maximum output of 12 kW. The two drive systems can be used separately but also work hand-in-hand when required.


The car can be operated conventionally (front-wheel drive), in purely electric mode (rear-wheel drive) and in combined mode (all-wheel drive. The mild electric propulsion system offers the benefits of zero-emission, silent driving during parking maneuvers and for short distances in residential areas or in stop-and-go traffic (electric mode). Through the recovery of braking energy (regenerative braking), two batteries in the rear of the vehicle are charged.

This energy allows further carbon-neutral driving in electric mode. On more demanding surfaces, the combination of front and rear-wheel drive for starting assistance (electric all-wheel mode) comes into its own. The modes can be selected and controlled from a tablet PC using an app or from the infotainment display via Mirror Link.

During the creation of their dream GTI, our apprentices learn about the complexity and future challenges of automobile production. They gain further experience in the use of digital technologies, the application of system technology and electro-mobility. This is why we choose our strongest talents and offer them the opportunity to learn from experienced instructors and experts from the entire company at an early stage.

—Peter Christ, Head of Automotive Technology Training in Wolfsburg

This year, the departments concerned included Design, Group Research Drive Systems, Technical Development, the pilot hall, the seat center, plastic parts production and the paint shop.

Instead of rear seats and a luggage compartment, the rear of the vehicle accommodates a high-end sound system with 1,690 watts from 11 loudspeakers and a subwoofer as well as a special rear HIFI installation with LED lighting on a carbon-covered base plate. The batteries and control electronics for the electric rear-axle drive system are installed under the base plate.

The Golf GTI First Decade from Wolfsburg. The control electronics and batteries for the electrically powered rear axle are installed under the carbon-covered base plate of the sound system in the boot. Click to enlarge.

The Golf GTE Variant impulsE show car was assembled by 14 apprentices from the Zwickau vehicle plant, the Chemnitz engine plant and the Transparent Factory in Dresden focused on e-mobility together with their mentors. For them, it was important to combine dynamism, sporting character and skilled craftsmanship with hybrid vehicle technology.

The plug-in hybrid show car from Saxony features a 1.4 l TSI gasoline engine with a power output boosted to 125 kW and an electric motor with a rating of 75 kW. The apprentices have fitted a prototype battery with a capacity increased from 8.8 to 16.8 kWh. This doubles the car’s range in electric operation. Click to enlarge.

A highlight of the show car is the prototype battery with a capacity increased from 8.8 to 16.8 kWh. This doubles the car’s range in electric operation.



I'd like to see the 48V system as an option on all petrol and diesel engine variants.
Preferably, it would not be too expensive.


You can rest assured that a 48 V, 500 Wh battery is going to be a lot cheaper than a ~300 V, 1.5 kWh regular hybrid battery.

I'm wondering just how much performance that little motor and battery would provide, though.  Creeping in parking lots and heavy traffic is one thing, but you'd really like to be able to soak up a lot of energy quickly when braking from speed.  12 kW just isn't that much.  Is it going to be worth the electronics required to drive it?

I must admit to being spoiled.  I just braked from 55 MPH down to 15 MPH in about ¼ mile using nothing more than regeneration.  Figuring 1600 kg of vehicle and 22 seconds, that's about 450 kJ in 22 sec or a bit over 20 kW with a peak maybe 2x that.


The news here is the two 48v batteries; at 12 kW, each has a capacity of 125 amps. If adopted, low-cost, high-capacity, 48 volt batteries make electric bicycles, atvs, garden tractors, etc., viable.

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