• Jun 26, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the VW Twin Drive Golf

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.


[Source: Volkswagen]


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  • 37 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      So.. related to this article.

      The plug-in hybrids a touted to have fantastic mpg because they can work off the charge of their larger batteries much longer before needing gas and then can be charged overnight. So there's a good chance you can commute back and forth to work without consuming gas.

      But, if you are a city dweller and need a car to commute, you won't be able to charge your car, because chances are there's no place to do so, and not to mention higher chances of theft and vandalism. So for city dweller needing cars, there's no advantage in getting a plug-in hybrid, right?

        • 6 Years Ago
        correct - but if you live in a city and you are really worried about the climate or saving money on gas - you have many, many options at your disposal. I cauld not imagine that you would have a long commute OUT of the city - that would be just stupid.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Four door with black rub strips? Usually the four doors have color matched, and the two doors have black.

      Er, I mean, cool concept, love the car, save the earth, vote for Al Gore.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually Keat it sounds like it will not even do that. From the article (to me) I understand it to go 30 miles on electric and then it just becomes a TDI car with start stop.
        • 6 Years Ago
        With the specs they describe this could literally be whiped together by next month. You can buy cars like this on ebay, two electric motors and a big battery hooked to the rear wheels of a FWD car. I hope by 2010 they have upped the battery range and included regenerative charging features.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, I woulda bought one of these, but I couldn't stand the black rub strips.

        sarcasm
      • 6 Years Ago
      Concept now and 20 vehicle test in 2010?!

      Seriously. How is that helping us? By the time they get anything on the sales floor it will be 2012, right? More time for the competition to advance in the mean time.

      A diesel hybrid Golf (and wagon) should have been in the showrooms already!

      Heck we still can't get a Polo BlueMotion ... 60mpg would be such a winner!

      :,-/

      • 6 Years Ago
      "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"

      *******

      Actually it sounds like an EV CAR that's forced to drag around an internal combustion engine in case it gets too far from home.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It does, and it seem this should have been on sale a year ago.
        "TDI Golf with new zero emissions city mode!*"

        *some coal fired emissions may apply in Germany and America.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It sounds like it might be four wheel drive. Have the same internals that are in every golf installed under the hood like they currently are and use some of the trunk space for rear wheel drive electric power. Similar to a through the road hybrid.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Audi duo was a A4 TDI wagon with lead acid batteries. It wasn't a taxi test fleet vehicle, it was something you could order at any german Audi dealer. Very few did, but a few dous are still there and running.
        http://www.hybrid-autos.info/Audi-Duo-1997.html

        Technically it was a production plug-in diesel hybrid from the 1990s.
        • 6 Years Ago
        VWAG had hybrids like that back in 80's. They were big Audi Wagons with an electric motor hooked to the rear diff and a fwd arrangement up front. It was a Taxi test fleet.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Audi duo was a A4 TDI wagon with lead acid batteries. It wasn't a taxi test fleet vehicle, it was something you could order at any german Audi dealer. Very few did, but a few dous are still there and running.
        http://www.hybrid-autos.info/Audi-Duo-1997.html

        Technically it was a production plug-in diesel hybrid from the 1990s.
      • 6 Years Ago
      German electronics...Ugh, the horror!
      • 6 Years Ago
      This car is kind of like the volt.
      check out http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/news/auto_-_produkte/hxcms_article_513463_13987.hbs

      Try to translate the following sentence:
      Der 2,0 Liter große Turbodiesel aus dem aktuellen Motorenprogramm leistet 122 PS und ist in erster Linie als Reichweitenverlängerer vorgesehen: Wenn die Akkus erschöpft sind, schaltet die Elektronik auf Verbrenner-Betrieb um. Um Energie zu sparen, verfügt das Auto zudem über eine Start-Stopp-Automatik, eine Bremsenergie-Rückgewinnung und eine intelligente Antriebssteuerung.

      Reichweitenverlängerer means range extender.
      • 6 Years Ago
      '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.'

      This sentence doesn't make sense. Any hybrid has an ICE in it along with the electrics, including plug-ins.

      Did you mean to say it's an EV that is forced to drag around an ICE?

      This thing sounds odd, in that it appears the ICE cannot recharge the batteries. That would mean after the batteries go flat, it becomes a regular car, but carrying around a lot of batteries to hurt the mpg and performance.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Disregard the regenerative braking comment, I guess I skipped over the part that mentions them.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Seems like a good concept to me. Plus, it's bound to cost less than a full hybrid model would, especially when you compound the diesel engine cost and the cost of a hybrid system.

        The extra weight of the batteries and electric motor is not going to affect economy greatly, at least not any more than any other hybrid which has to carry around the same. Plus, a diesel engine, with greater torque than a similar gas engine, is going to do better to carry the weight anyhow.

        This seems to be a best of both worlds type car for a lot of people. For me, it would fit the bill nicely. My normal commute to work is about 25miles round trip. So, I wouldn't use any gas at all going back and forth to work or for other errands. Then, when I need to travel farther, or go on a long trip, I've got a 50mpg diesel to take me there.

        The one thing I do really think it's missing though is regenerative braking. That would be a great range-extender for the electric motor, especially since the diesel is not used to charge or assist the electric drivetrain.

        One curiosity about it though is the fact that during electric mode, it's RWD. But, then it switches to FWD when the diesel engine kicks in. So, it's never an AWD vehicle, in fact it's both RWD and FWD. That might be a little strange.

        If they could get the cost around $23-24K(not bad with the Jetta TDI at $21,990), I'd be happy to buy one. It would pay for itself very quickly. I'd probably easily double my mileage. I get about 28mpg average right now in my car with about 75% of the driving being my work commute. With a car like this, that would mean that 75% of my driving would use no fuel at all. Plus, when I did need it, I'd have the advantage of a high-mileage diesel engine.

        If a diesel hybrid doesn't make economic sense right now, this is the next best thing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Action speaks louder than words. I'm fed up with the daily gossips about the GM Volt, their shout is the loudest, but their progress is the slowest. Like the fuel cell, they talked about it ten years ago, but yet to make a productio car, while Honda's fuel cell cars are already on sell. That car Cezar Bob Lutz is just a big mouth.
        • 6 Years Ago
        There is no Honda fuel cell car "For sale." If there was where would you fill it up?

        If you want one go lease on in Cali.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Isn't the FCX of Honda for sale in Japan?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is that the USS Voyager in the background?!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Not very exciting so far. Hopefully the news will get better and this will be more Voltish in that the engines are not mutually exclusive.

      That reminds me ... I need to get the vanity plate "VOLTron" so I can sell it to some wiener when the Volt comes out. I figure there will be a few douche bags out there willing to pony up for it. Look at all the dilldos in Prius (no offense to the car) that have stupid vanity plates.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thats a great idea! You could easily make a couple hundred bucks I would guess. I like VOLTage
      • 6 Years Ago
      I would buy one! My 42 mile commute would cut 80% of my gas bill and I am sure there is a better battery that get 40 miles before switching over.

      Jason
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