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Volkswagen to offer 48V mild hybrid version of eighth-generation Golf in 2019

Volkswagen will launch a 48V mild hybrid version of its globally best-selling Volkswagen Golf, offering a sustainable, efficient and powerful alternative. The introduction of new hybrid systems in the eighth generation of Golf vehicles will mark a new era for the brand with regard to drive technology.


The Volkswagen brand’s 48V mild hybrid system.

Volkswagen Group sibling Audi has been gradually introducing 48V mild hybrid systems as standard into its line-up since last year. (Earlier post.)

In the future, Volkswagen will gradually electrify almost every vehicle in its range of models. The company is offering a first look at the future of electrified drive systems as part of the 39th International Vienna Motor Symposium.

Electrifying conventional drives will enable us to further reduce consumption and emissions while also increasing dynamics and convenience. We are starting this extensive electrification campaign with Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle to date—the Golf. Our newly developed, cost-effective 48-V mild hybrid will pave the way for introducing this type of technology to the mainstream.

—Dr. Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Volkswagen Passenger Cars with responsibility for Technical Development

Volkswagen will combine the combustion engine with a 48-V belt-integrated starter generator and a 48-V battery. This combination represents the gateway to the future of Volkswagen hybrid models. The 48-V mild hybrid makes it possible to coast with the combustion engine completely switched off, thereby saving up to 0.3 liters of fuel over 100 kilometers. This mild-hybrid solution also offers much improved dynamics and convenience as a result of providing an electric boost upon start-up.

The 48-V system will be used in vehicles in addition to the well-known 12-V system. In the case of very small wire cross-sections and a lightweight wiring harness, the 48-V system enables a considerably higher amount of energy to be saved than the 12-V system, e.g. via recuperation when the vehicle brakes. This high level of voltage enables a number of operations, including the actuation of the 48-V belt-integrated starter generator.

The starter-generator performs multiple functions—the generator performs the role of alternator and starter, and also functions as a small, lightweight electric motor that immediately increases drive torque upon start-up by means of an electric boost. The power of the generator is transferred via a belt.

The generator starts the combustion engine—which is switched off as much as possible while the vehicle is moving—in a barely perceptible way. The 48V Li-ion battery is supplied with energy during a number of operations, including recuperation—i.e. when the vehicle slows down. The starter generator receives the necessary voltage via the battery and the 12-V power supply receives the required voltage via the DC/DC converter.

The basic interaction of different energy sources—electricity, petrol, diesel and natural gas—represents a paradigm shift at Volkswagen. For the first time, the company will simultaneously offer product lines such as the Golf with conventional, electrically assisted drives as well as product lines such as the I.D. with purely electrical drives in the future.

—Dr. Welsch

This will result in the product lines diverging into two equal branches. This new product strategy will come into play for the first time from 2019 onwards with the launch of the next generation of the Golf and the first I.D.—two compact Volkswagen vehicles with completely separate technical concepts as well as clearly different design make-ups.



Saving 0.3L/100Km is not much and probably not enough to significantly reduce emissions to compensate for the normal increase in the number of vehicles on the roads and Kms driven..


Harvey, why do you want to dismiss a significant improvement like this one in such a tendentious way? You could also make the opposite argument. This concept will increase vehicle cost and thus, indirectly reduce the number of vehicles on the roads and kms driven.

Note that the general trend is a reduction of FC of the engine (not whole vehicle) by 0,5% per year. If the base level is 6 l/100 km, -0.3 l/100 km would equal -5%. So, in essence, this is as much as 10 years of engine development. Then you realize the value of the improvement. Improving electric motor efficiency by 5% is not possible since doing so would break a couple of natural laws (efficiency cannot be higher than 100%).


Peter XX:
The mild hybrid allows carmakers like VW to claim emissions improvements and mileage improvements with so called start/stop technology. Looks fine on paper; but, I question if the increase is worth the jump to the expense of a high voltage battery. and all that entails. Seems to me much of this innovation is misplaced as we enter the last hurrah for ICEs.

I also wonder if this isn't the foot in the door for 48 volt batteries and accessories, some in the car industry have been trying to sell.


Peter_XX:  Harvey was never all that insightful, and he appears to be of an age where senility often sets in.  I have adjusted my expectations accordingly.

The mild hybrid allows carmakers like VW to claim emissions improvements and mileage improvements with so called start/stop technology. Looks fine on paper

You're forgetting all the things that come along with it.  You don't JUST get the start/stop (which is a pure fuel savings regardless); you also get massive electric power boosts you can use for electric power steering and electric A/C, which slashes parasitic drag on the engine.  Electric supercharging to downsize the engine gives you even more potential for improved fuel economy.  The effects cascade through the system.

I question if the increase is worth the jump to the expense of a high voltage battery. and all that entails. Seems to me much of this innovation is misplaced as we enter the last hurrah for ICEs.

They have to build something in the mean time.  Mild hybrids with launch assist improve fuel economy AND performance while taking advantage of the supply chain of electrified accessories built for HEVs, PEVs and BEVs.  Once everything is 48V stop/start or better, you can get rid of the engine-driven accessories and their production plants.  That's a big expense gone, because those plants are probably old and labor-intensive.  Again, this cascades through the system.

After 10 years, 50% is stop/start, 20% is hybrid, 20% is PHEV and 10% is BEV.

After 20 years, 25% is stop/start, 30% is hybrid, 30% is PHEV and 15% is BEV.

After 30 years, 15%/30%/30%/25%.


For once, I could not agree more with you.

Gradual improvement and a stepwise introduction of hybrid technology in large-scale production, starting with mild hybrids. Evolution rather than revolution.


Toyota mastered HEVs 20+ years ago together with over 6,000,000 high quality long lasting HEVs on the roads.

Of course HEVs masters will and/or have already progressed to PHEVs, BEVs and FCEVs.

ICEVs together with light and regular HEVs will be progressively replaced with PHEVs, BEVs and FCEVs.

Stop-Start and electric accessories are mature technologies and can/should be incorporated on all new vehicles to increase efficiency and reduce pollution and GHGs.

Ford just announced that it will go the other way, stop producing-selling small efficient cars in North America and concentrate on larger-heavier SUVs and Pick-Ups with a better ($$$) bottom line.

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