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Transportation Earth Hardware

VW Set To Release Diesel Hybrid 179

Posted by kdawson
from the zum-zum-sip dept.
SUVs_SUCK writes "It's official — Volkswagen is unveiling a hybrid to challenge the mighty Toyota Prius. And not just any hybrid, but a diesel-electric hybrid it says will deliver 69.9 mpg. Auto Express says the Golf hybrid will be offered for sale in Europe by the end of next year. No word yet on when we might see it in the US."
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VW Set To Release Diesel Hybrid

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  • bollocks (Score:5, Funny)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:16PM (#22600812) Homepage Journal
    • by arivanov (12034)
      It is actually noisier than either the new "TurboDiseasel" Honda FRV or the Accord. It also drives worse; much worse.

      It has the classic VW transmission with a puke index of 90% (where old Citroen is a 100%). VW idea of a "sports transmission" is hysterical. They think that sports mean to stiffen and to lower, but they forget that they also need to dampen it more. So a VW vehicle on a bad road is a total vomit comet. With a sports transmission it simply shakes more violently instead of shaking less after eve
  • Which Gallon? (Score:5, Informative)

    by compwizrd (166184) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:20PM (#22600876) Homepage
    US and Imperial gallons vary significantly, 70mpg in imperial is 58 mpg in US gallons.. still quite good.
    • As soon as Dick Cheney's pacemaker seizes-up!
    • Re:Which Gallon? (Score:5, Informative)

      by iainl (136759) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:37PM (#22601184)
      It's US gallons; UK Channel 4 quote the mileage as 83.1mpg. As I noted elsewhere before I realised the mistake, the best a current Golf offers is 62.8 mpg Imperial, so if this really were an Imperial value it wouldn't gain you much over the current offering.
    • It's actually 83mpg imperial, hence the 70mpg figure in Wired (click on the link in the Wired article to see the UK article with the numbers in imperial).

      83mpg is pretty good for a Golf-sized vehicle, but a carefully driven 2.0 TDI gets almost 70mpg on a trip, when kept within the speed limit ;0)

      • by timeOday (582209)
        "On a trip" is when hybrids gain their least advantage. It's stop-and-go driving where they shine. This is important since most miles driven in the US are now stop and go [consumerreports.org].
    • by Ed Avis (5917)

      My car gets forty rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it!
      --Grampa

      Weirdly, on the Continent they like to measure fuel consumption the other way round, as kilometres per litre. So there is no agreed SI-unit replacement for miles per gallon. Clearly though, mpg is a confusing term and should be avoided; English speakers will wonder whether you meant US or Imperial gallons, and everyone else won't have a clue.
  • ... why shell out the extra cash for a hybrid thingie when I get 45 mpg with my car (VW Touran 2.0 TDI) already ?

    A couple of thousand bucks ($ or Euros) still buys a lot of fuel.

    • I will, and I'm an '05 Golf TDI owner who's enjoying about 43 MPG today. I'm an efficiency geek - always loved that diesels did more with less than gasoline engines. I can't wait to use the same tech in my car that's used in locomotives - that REALLY appeals to the kid in me.
      • by Pope (17780)
        "Less" being relative, since diesel fuel contains more energy per volume than gasoline. Apples and oranges, except this is a car analogy.
        • by Ihlosi (895663)
          "Less" being relative, since diesel fuel contains more energy per volume than gasoline. Apples and oranges, except this is a car analogy. Nope, it's not relative. Higher energy content of diesel fuel aside, they diesel cycle allows for higher efficiency than the otto cycles since it has a higher compression ratio.
  • Why Hybrid? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iainl (136759) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:25PM (#22600934)
    The current 1.9 TDI BlueMotion S does 62.8 mpg anyway, if we're talking Proper Gallons instead of the US ones. Which I'd expect a German company to be doing.

    All the nasty, difficult to dispose of and full of toxic chemical batteries aren't improving that value by a hell of a lot, then.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      That's what I was thinking. We see a lot of push for hybrids, when you could easily get the same fuel mileage out of a car that isn't a hybrid. I remember seeing a VW Beatle deisel with a 3.0 L/100KM sticker on the side (it was a promotional thing) which equates to 78 Miles/Gallon (According to Google). Why bother toting around batteries, and having all the problems with their disposal and maintenance, when you can just go with a pure diesel engine?
      • by jandrese (485)
        Because you could get the same mileage out of a car with a real back seat and enough power to get up to highway speed before you grow old and die?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RingDev (879105)

      All the nasty, difficult to dispose of and full of toxic chemical batteries aren't improving that value by a hell of a lot, then.
      Batteries are difficult to dispose of, but really easy to recycle.

      -Rick
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by peacefinder (469349)
      Why Hybrid? Regenerative braking. Since it's a tad difficult to convert recovered braking energy into diesel fuel, some other energy storage device is needed.
  • US Vaporware (Score:4, Informative)

    by CompMD (522020) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:43PM (#22601258)
    "No word yet on when we might see it in the US."

    We won't. The United States has long hated diesel cars. I can't think of a single domestic automaker that has a diesel car. And the number of imports is *very* limited. When you can find one, you will not receive any discounts, no special offers apply to them, and the dealers will avoid making you a deal on the price. On top of that, it is not always easy to find diesel. In the Chicago area it was a complete pain to find a station that sold diesel for my old Mercedes. I was thankful that there was one near my home, but the next nearest one was four towns away.

    I'd love to see this type of car around here. I get sick and tired of listening to my friends tell me how they are so proud that their new, spartan, unimaginative, boring, uncomfortable Toyotas, Hondas, and Fords get 30mpg on the highway. Although I do love watching them flip out when I show them how my 24 year old, 5000 lb, loaded with bells and whistles, diesel Mercedes sedan gets 38mpg on the highway.

    Sigh. I don't know when we're gonna "get it" over here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chill (34294)
      For the longest time, there were different regulations in different U.S. States in regards to diesel passenger vehicles. For example, they were illegal to sell in Massachusetts. Essentially, Mass and a few other States lowered the sulphur emission standards to impossible levels.

      Then came Federally mandated low-sulphur diesel fuel. This stuff allows good diesel engines, like VW's TDI series, to meet emission standards in all 50 U.S. States. As this low-sulphur diesel works its way into the system, then t
    • I'm not so sure (Score:5, Interesting)

      by name_already_taken (540581) on Friday February 29, 2008 @01:25PM (#22601924)
      The United States has long hated diesel cars.

      I don't think that's entirely true. GM screwed it up for everyone else by their half-assed conversions of gasoline engines to diesel around 1979 - broken crankshafts, cracked cylinder heads, etc. resulted from not adequately reengineering the main components of the Oldsmobile 5.7L V8 and 4.3L V6 (used in front wheel drive A-body cars).

      The Mercedes diesels have always been reliability legends and sold well in the USA through the 1980s. There are still a lot of W123-chassis diesel models running around. VW diesels seem well regarded in the USA too.

      In the US pickup truck marketplace, diesels are seen as ultra-reliable high-torque powerhouses. A full-size pickup with a diesel engine gets significantly better fuel mileage than my gasoline-powered mid-size Dodge Dakota (I have seen mileage as low as 9.9 MPG in city driving in bad winter weather). Problem is, diesels are seen as ultra-reliable high-torque powerhouses and so the diesel pickup engines available are all overbuilt, for the people who apparently tow ocean liners across the country or something. The Cummins 5.9L diesel 6-cylinder engine was a $6000 option by itself, and there is no light-duty diesel engine available for normal people.

      I can't think of a single domestic automaker that has a diesel car.

      Well I guess it depends on what you consider a "car". Chrysler currently sells the Jeep Liberty with a 2.8L diesel engine which according to reviews gives superior performance and much better fuel economy than the 3.7L gasoline engine, and all three of the big three (GM, Chrysler, Ford) sell pickup trucks with diesel engines (although they are huge trucks).

      With the current fuel costs, there is definitely a market in the USA for efficient vehicles, but people aren't willing to give up performance (remember the 48HP VW Rabbit diesel? I'd hate to try to merge into expressway traffic in one of those) or move to much smaller vehicles (utility and the perception of safety).

      I think with the modern diesel technology that cuts the noise (although I love the diesel clatter myself) and cleans up the emissions, and fuel economy that rivals or surpasses hybrid gasoline cars (without making the car into an expensive science-fair project on wheels), the time for diesel cars in the USA has arrived.
      • Where I live diesel is currently selling for about 20% more than gasoline. Diesel price has been slowly rising w.r.t. gasoline over the last few decades. There isn't any net savings and it isn't likely to get better.
      • The thing that ticks me off is that in other countries, like europe and argentina, you can buy Dakota's with a small diesel. I've read of guys that get something like 35mpg in their pickups with more power than I have in my 3.9L dakota that gets about 15-18MPG. I would trade in my pickup today for a new model with a small diesel in it. As to the other replier to this comment, do the math. A pickup that gets 35MPG using fuel that costs $4/gal is still much better than a pickup that gets 15MPG that uses
      • Sorry to double reply to you.. but a fun little fact.. go look at the Weight, HP, and torque ratings for a full size diesel truck. Find its HP/ per lbs and Tq/per lbs. Then look at a little VW TDI bug. Its pretty close to the same power/weight ratios... Actually a bit better..
      • The guy down the street has an old Mercedes diesel. He uses electricity (coal power) to keep it warm at night. His parking space is an oil slick. The exhaust is sooty.
      • Re:I'm not so sure (Score:4, Informative)

        by Spoke (6112) on Friday February 29, 2008 @04:36PM (#22604724)
        and cleans up the emissions

        Frankly, that is the #1 reason that diesels aren't selling in the US right now.

        Currently even the cleanest diesel cars due out this year are just barely clean enough to squeak by US emissions standards. Particulate and NOx emissions are insanely high compared to to gas cars.

        Producing a car that gets great mileage (and low CO2 emissions) AND low pollutant emissions as well is not an easy task. The Prius hybrid is still by far the leader in fuel economy AND low emissions.

        By the time this VW diesel hybrid is out, the next generation Prius will be out shortly. Don't forget that the current Prius is already nearly 5 years old - and no-one has anything that really competes in terms of fuel economy, emissions and practicality.
      • Kind of off topic, but the Olds 5.7 diesel makes a great starting point for a gasoline performance engine. They may have been shitty diesels, but the blocks and cranks are much stronger than the Olds 350 gas blocks, accept all the same parts, and take crazy amounts of abuse. They can also be bored out quite a bit compared to the gas blocks, going so large as to take unmodified big block Olds pistons. If someone has a diesel Oldsmobile, their best bet is to convert it back to gas.
    • by rs79 (71822)
      "Although I do love watching them flip out when I show them how my 24 year old, 5000 lb, loaded with bells and whistles, diesel Mercedes sedan gets 38mpg on the highway. "

      38? Which one is that? a 190D? My 300SD gets 33 mpg at best. Booth's US and Euro 190D 2.5's got 45 and 48 mpg respecitvely.
      • by CompMD (522020)
        Its a 300SD but it has a non-stock rear diff. I think it is from a 380SE, but I'm not positive. The former owner did the swap as he was a really intense MB fanatic, even more than me. But I did manage to drive from Chicago almost all the way to Lamoni, IA on half a tank of #2 diesel. I was going about 55mph the whole way though...had to drive slow because I was in a convoy of MUCH older cars. The REALLY old 190Ds pretty much set the pace for the rest of us.
    • The United States has long hated diesel cars. I can't think of a single domestic automaker that has a diesel car.

      Who even cares about the domestic automakers anymore? They make shitty overpriced cars and only make a profit on financing. Volkswagen TDI's are fairly easy to find in this country.

      On top of that, it is not always easy to find diesel. In the Chicago area it was a complete pain to find a station that sold diesel for my old Mercedes. I was thankful that there was one near my home, but the next nearest one was four towns away.

      Interesting. In Washington (the state) it isn't difficult at all to find diesel. Have you tried checking truck stops?

      • by CompMD (522020)
        Check the import numbers for TDIs and gassers. There is a huge bias towards gassers being imported. Also, if you check the classified ads, you'll notice that there are not nearly as many TDIs for sale as gassers.

        I don't live in Chicago any more, I live in rural Kansas. Plenty of diesel out here. Yes, truck stops are great places to get good diesel. Only problem is there aren't really any truck stops in Chicago. :)
    • I know all about the Mercedes Diesels from back then. They are reliable for sure but they are slow. Especially when combined with 4 speed transmissions with not enough low gearing. They accelerate like a tourtise. A lighter car with the same engine probably fairs well like the normal VW TDI models of this day in age.
      • > I know all about the Mercedes Diesels from back then. They are reliable for sure but they are slow. > Especially when combined with 4 speed transmissions with not enough low gearing. They accelerate
        like a tourtise.

        Must depend on the version. I had a '79 300SD with a turbo diesel that was fine. The only time it seemed slow was when climbing mountain passes in colorado. Other than that it was better than your average car. Not *fast* - but certainly more than anyone needs.

        And I've driven VW turbo d
    • The United States has long hated diesel cars.

      Not really, they used to be reasonably, though not outstandingly, popular. That stopped not because US consumers stopped liking "diesel cars", per se, but because the US has been slow to mandate low-sulfur diesel fuels, and many states' emission standards for passenger cars made it illegal to sell diesel cars because of the sulfur emissions that were a consequence of the fuel used. So, most automakers (US and import) don't sell diesel cars anywhere in the US, bec

    • Um, Jeep has a few models that they sell with diesel engines. Its not just large cars. My friend has a VW Golf TDI he bought 3 years ago, in PDX. Jeep made a liberty for a few years that had a diesel, but because of the switch to the ULSD, they pulled that option. (the new cherokee's have a different diesel engine.) Dodge has announced a diesel for its 1500 series pickups (not just the heavy duty ones). The biggest thing going for diesels is that most of the new engines are finally "California legal"
  • Great news! (Score:5, Funny)

    by spywhere (824072) on Friday February 29, 2008 @12:44PM (#22601284)
    I've thought about buying a Prius, but they lack the massive quality problems and terrible fit & finish that come standard with every Volkswagen model.
    Now I can save the planet even more: on the days it's in the shop for warranty repairs, it will consume no fuel!
    • From what I understand, the diesel VWs are built in Europe, which leads to considerably fewer problems than the ones built in Mexico or China.
      • by bhtooefr (649901)
        The diesel engines are built in Poland, IIRC.

        As for the cars (for US-spec diesels only...)

        1996, 2004-2005 Passat: Emden, Germany
        1997 Passat: Brussels, Belgium
        1997-2006 Jetta: Puebla, Mexico
        1998-2006 New Beetle: Puebla, Mexico
        2002-2006 Jetta Wagon: Wolfsburg, Germany
        1999-2006 Golf: Wolfsburg, Germany, or Curitiba, Brazil
        2004, 2006-2008 Touareg: Bratislava, Slovakia
    • European VWs are different. In over 60000 miles mine stopped once: when the battery gave out and failed to start it, and an hour later it was off again with a new battery. It did throw a fault: the oil pressure warning light came on in error. But, as someone experienced in Diesels, I just had to listen to the engine to know it was the light and not the engine.

      The Prius is made uneconomically by Totota to buy market mindset, hence the build quality etc., and for that reason you might want one (it's a bargain

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ink (4325) *
      :-) Soooo true. My '03 Golf TDI has saved a LOT of fuel by saying the night at the dealer for its infamous electrical "issues". I still love it though.
      • by timeOday (582209)
        On my '98 Jetta GLX (made proudly in Mexico), virtually all the electronics have failed, repeatedly. Now I've almost given up and get by with 1 remaining power window, no power locks, no CD changer. And I just had to replace the ignition switch. And I can't say I love mine so much any more.
    • It's a love/hate relationship. They do build 'em to last exactly *one* warranty cycle, don't they...

  • My questions... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scubamage (727538) on Friday February 29, 2008 @01:18PM (#22601832)
    A) Can I use biodiesel?
    B) Can I install a propane injection system like a normal diesel? That could put milage well over 100mpg if you could.
    • by Temkin (112574)

      A) Can I use biodiesel?

      I've come to the conclusion that bio-D is going to have a "green feel good tax" stuck on it for another decade. The people producing it refuse to even try and be price competitive with PD. They refer to it as a "premium alternative". So we're stuck making it ourselves, which isn't that hard really. But the quality varies with the feedstock, and nobody is going to honor a warranty...

      B) Can I install a propane injection system like a normal diesel? That could put milage well over 100mpg if you could.

      Propane fumigation does wonders for HP output. It's not injected, just introduced to the intake air. You could even plum

      • by adpowers (153922)

        I've come to the conclusion that bio-D is going to have a "green feel good tax" stuck on it for another decade. The people producing it refuse to even try and be price competitive with PD.
        What market are you in? In Seattle, last I checked, Biodiesel is $3.05 and petrodiesel is $3.89. This is a big switch from a few years ago (pre-tax breaks) where BD was about $4.00 and PD was about $2.50.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by scubamage (727538)
        No propane is not free, however if you treat it as a fuel additive and include it in the price, for the increase in miles/gal its still pretty amazing. I'm more concerned with whether adding a fumigator/injector is going to be possible with the hybrid model :) Something about getting a hundred miles per gallon or more just sounds so attractive... my friend's Jetta tdi used to get about 84 miles per gallon with the propane system... throw in the use of electricity and I think you'd be able to get some really
  • In previous /. discussions of hybrid cars, I've seen claims that diesel hybrids were unlikely since the hybrid system wouldn't bring much of an advantage to a diesel car, because diesels scale their fuel consumption at low engine output (partial or no load) better than petrol cars. All you'd need would be a start/stop system. I'm looking forward to a proper test of this car against its rivals (including e.g. a BMW diesel with their 'efficient dynamics' package).
  • Diesel-electric locomotives have been used by railroads since the 1920s, and have proven to be extremely practical devices by using the diesel engine to drive alternator, which in turn provides power to traction motors on the wheels. Although this configuration appears quite a bit more complex on the surface, it completely eliminates the need for a mechanical transmission, and offers greatly improved reliability and efficiency. Virtually every diesel locomotive today operates in this fashion.

    Although the
  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday February 29, 2008 @03:28PM (#22603674) Homepage Journal
    The VW diesels already get better freeway mileage than anything else for sale in the US - Japanese hybrids included. But yet diesels don't sell in anything other than trucks at any appreciable rate in the US.

    And if you are asking why, you just need to look back to the 1970's - when the US big three so royally screwed up the application of diesel engines for sedans that many American buyers would never consider them again. Those were cars that got poor mileage, belched out soot that nearly forced you to repaint your house, and had horrendous reliability to boot. And don't forget about the noise, either.

    Unfortunately, it appears that the same anti-diesel people from the 70's have risen to be the CEOs at the big three in the current decade. We know that all three are making diesel sedans - and selling them well overseas. The ford focus and dodge caliber are just two examples of small vehicles made by US auto makers that are available as diesels in other markets.

    So really, whats the point of making a diesel-electric hybrid? Are there that many people outside of this country that think its a great idea to lug around a trunk full of batteries?

    I know I am not alone in saying I'd be happy to buy a diesel sedan from the big three if they would wake up and sell one here.
    • by bhtooefr (649901)

      So really, whats the point of making a diesel-electric hybrid?
      Stop-and-go.

      Hybrids don't help highway mileage at all - they only help city mileage.
    • by waferhead (557795)
      "But yet diesels don't sell in anything other than trucks at any appreciable rate in the US."

      I think it's more due to the $6-$10K rip off, err... premium charge for the diesel that has virtually zero chance of payback, ever, for 99% of buyers.
  • One thing often forgot about diesels is how long the engines last. I'm talking 80,000 miles to break them in.

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