Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has revealed a new concept today called the Golf Twin Drive. The Twin Drive is a plug-in electric hybrid that uses a powerful 82-hp electric motor and a 2.0L turbodiesel producing 122 hp. The electric motor is fed energy from a pack of lithium-ion batteries that can sustain the car's mobility for about 50 kilometers or 31 miles, after which the diesel engine will take over propulsion duties. While we do know the Twin Drive also features start-stop technology and regenerative brakes, we're still a bit unclear on how everything works. From the way it's been described in the news and VW's somewhat vague press release that we've translated from German, the gas and electric motors are completely isolated, with one unable to provide the other assistance under heavy loads like in the Prius or a typical parallel hybrid. At the same time, the Twin Drive Golf doesn't sound like a series hybrid in the same vein as the Chevy Volt, as the gas engine (or diesel in this case) is directly connected to the drive wheels. In other words, the engine onboard is not simply a range-extending generator supplying power to recharge the batteries like in the Volt. What the Twin Drive appears to be is a plug-in hybrid with a very robust electric drivetrain that's forced to drag around an internal combustion engine in case it gets too far away from home. Regardless, when we find out exactly how Twin Drive works, we'll let you know.
Volkswagen is developing the Twin Drive system with eight German partners and is planning a trial fleet of 20 Golfs outfitted with the system in 2010. The German government is along for the ride, and for a good bit of green PR, VW promises the the electricity used to charge the fleet of test vehicles will be generated from renewable sources like wind and solar power.