• Mar 3, 2009
According to VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, we'd better get used to the sound of a rumbling internal combustion engine churning away in our automobiles, ingesting dead dinos as they continue to be the dominate source of power for our automobiles for at least the next 15-20 years. The German automaker has big plans to invest in technologies to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, but most of the efficiency increases will come from refinements made to gasoline and diesel-burning powerplants.

VW is hedging its bets for the future, though, having recently partnered up with Toshiba to develop high-tech electric drive systems for future automobile applications. That's great, but Winterkorn says their adoption is "very far away." In the meantime (and very conveniently), Volkswagen has got some excellent diesel engines in many varying wrappers that it would be happy to sell anyone looking to decrease their daily fuel spending bills.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      To anyone who's chatting up how great electric cars are, think about this:

      Mining

      Toxic Waste dump

      The "vehicle" puts out less emissions, the process to produce the storage of it's energy does not, not does it go away. Battery waste is insanely toxic, you think our soil and water is bad now... bwahahaha, just wait until a few million of the Prius battery packs go to the dump.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Except they won't "go to the dump", they'll being recycled.
        At a far higher profit margin than lead-acid starter batteries which are being profitably recycled today. Anyone throwing them away would literally throw away money. Additionally, it's a crime in pretty much all industrialized countries, where the majority of cars are sold.

        And for the matter of mining... yeah, that's definitely worse than drilling for and processing oil, because that's such a clean process, right? And of course the materials for IC engines appear out of thin air!
        The materials for producing a battery have to be mined once, and are recyclable. A gasoline- or diesel car uses oil constantly, tens of thousands of liters until the end of its life.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ******************************************************************************************
      VW has the technology to manufacture fuel cells cars tomorrow if they really wanted to but they don't want to lose money.
      ******************************************************************************************
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just a heads up, the FCX costs around $1,000,000. If you're implying vw could sell a fuel cell car at $950,000 loss, then yes, you're right, technically they could.

        Here in the real world, though, the technology is simply to expensive. Honda leases a very tiny number of FCX's as a research/publicity exercise simply because they, VW, everyone knows fuel cell technology is no where near as affordible as it needs to be to be placed on dealer lots.

        Electric is the same. Battery capacity is not there, technology is expensive, pure electric vehicles cannot simply replace the vehicles americans currently use and meet their expectations.

        That's reality, that's life as we know it. Sure it's nice to see a few electric minis being leased (and not sold because they're far to expensive) here, or a few FCX's leased (and not sold because they're beyond far to expensive) there, the reality is none of the automakers can meet the average consumer's demands as dictated by even the cheapest of current cars in terms of convenience of refueling and range. Until the average american is willing eschews their F150 and Camry/Civic for something that costs 1-2x as much and has the range of 60-100, we'll be following VW's projections for a while. reality vs fantasy.
        Honestly, I’m not sure how anyone could reasonably refute the assertion that petrol powered cars will be the predominant mode of transit for the next 10-20 years, just look at the rate at which Americans now recycle cars (post bust).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Way to make generalized and ambiguous statements, Martin.

      Your company -like almost all the other German manufacturers- has come hopelessly late to the hybrid and electric party, now all you can do is cry that the music sucks.
      And that's coming from a German.

      Of course the irony here is that he's dismissing the widespread adoption of BEVs in the next 20 years or so, yet his company spent and keeps on spending billions on fuel-cell cars which have no chance at all to become widely used... ever.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My thoughts exactly.
        The electrics are coming, and it's going to come from the Far East.

        People will give it a little more thought when gas goes to $4.00 a gallon again.
      • 5 Years Ago

      The most common mistake people make when weighing the decision whether to pass on to diesel engines is math. Diesel prices are almost constant in US compared to gasoline. Just around october of 2007 (if I remember correctly), diesel stayed on $2.80 for couple of months. In the meantime, gasoline went from $2.50 to $3.50.

      Then came october of 2008 when diesel was still over $4.00 and gas already dipped to less than $3.00.

      Reasons for buying a diesel are two, and none of these have anything to do with money:

      a) pleasure (which comes as shock at first) to fill at twice the interval you were used to when you were driving comparable vehicle with gas engine - even more if you pass from bigger gas engine to 2.0 liter TDI

      b) after you learned to drive low-end torque (yes, learned), no comparable gas engine will give you that satisfaction in everyday traffic. Even after 2 years and 30,000 miles it takes me a day or two to re-learn to ride that torque properly after I spent week or two in a rental on the road.

      So, long story short, do not judge that diesel during a 30-40 miles test run with a car out of dealership. It will get 5 times better once you learned how to use accelerator and how to shift gears properly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7
        The thing is that these days the diesel engine doesn't make that much noise. I had that problem when I bought my car 5 years ago. I said now way I will buy a diesel to hear a tuck sound every day so I bought a gasoline car. But as I drive mostly in the city I can't stand the crappy fuel economy I get. For example I get in the 10-12 liters/100km. Instead I can drive a diesel and get 6 liters/100km. So now I am seriously thinking to buy a diesel car.
        • 5 Years Ago

        The only car I ever rented (and there far too many more than I would like to remember) that made TDI feel sluggish after the rental was 2008 Cadillac CTS. No GM V6's came even close. On mpg as well.

        You might be right with turbocharged gas engine, but that doesn't address the issue a) I pointed out in original comment. I hugely enjoyed test drive in Golf/Rabbit GTI, but that's different kind of animal.
      • 5 Years Ago
      good that they are hedging their bets. We wont replace dino juice for a while. Pure electric on road trip? not for a while.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The theory that oil comes from dinosaurs and plants millions of years ago is just that; a theory. Scientists have admitted they do not know for sure WHERE oil comes from or HOW it is produced. The most likely explanation is that oil is abiotic. The chemical components involved just don't make sense that oil is dead dinosaurs.

      http://voluntaryxchange.typepad.com/voluntaryxchange/2004/06/where_does_oil_.html

      http://www.enviroliteracy.org/article.php/1130.html
        • 5 Years Ago
        Here's a tip: Stop throwing around links to the scientific method and the definition of theory. If you have a problem with the author of the article take it up with him, not the poster who linked to it.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Read what I wrote, fellow geniuses, it is not MY theory. If I had a theory of how oil was formed, I wouldn't be wasting time at work posting on this blog. The article points to the FACT that scientists are not for certain the origin of oil.

        And, DasBoese, wikipedia can be edited by any moron with a computer, including YOU. You should read the definitions of scientific method, and hypothesis and theory yourself before you act like you know something...
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's refreshing to hear common sense practicality from an automotive mouthpiece in this day of swooning enviro-hype at all cost.

      And no, we're not burning "dead dinos" as oil is not a "fossil" fuel. Oil comes from deep within the earth where there's lots and lots and lots of thermal energy and pressure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Please stop pasting screed.

        You don't do any of us any favors. Just post a link if you have to. We all have internet access.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ok here's one:
        http://freeenergynews.com/Directory/Theory/SustainableOil/

        Supporting Evidence, Briefly
        Oil being discovered at 30,000 feet, far below the 18,000 feet where organic matter is no longer found.
        Wells pumped dry later replenished.
        Volume of oil pumped thus far not accountable from organic material alone according to present models.
        In Situ production of methane under the conditions that exist in the Earth's upper mantle. (PhysicsWeb; Sept. 14, 2004)
        alexacoon
        • 5 Years Ago
        Where are you getting this crap? I've heard it before and i just have to wonder why anyone would promote such nonsense. Face it oil is not a renewable resource unless you consider waiting millions of years for more of it (unlikely considering you would need an amazon style jungle and theres little left of it)
        • 5 Years Ago
        From 321energy.com:

        If hydrocarbons are renewable- then is "Peak Oil" a fraud?
        by Joel Bainerman

        Are hydrocarbons "renewable"- and if so- what does such a conclusion mean for the future of the world's oil and natural gas supplies?

        The question is critical due to the enormous amount of coverage the issue of "Peak Oil" is receiving from the mainstream press. If the supply of hydrocarbons is renewable- then the contrary to the conventional wisdom being touted throughout the mainstream press today- the world is NOT running out of oil.

        Unbeknownst to Westerners, there have actually been for quite some time now two competing theories concerning the origins of petroleum. One theory claims that oil is an organic 'fossil fuel' deposited in finite quantities near the planet's surface. The other theory claims that oil is continuously generated by natural processes in the Earth's magma.

        One of the world's leading advocates for the theory that hydrocarbons are renewable is Dr. Thomas Gold who contends that oil is not a limited resource, and that oil, natural gas and coal, are not so-called “fossil fuels.”

        In his book, The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels, he explains that dinosaurs and plants and the fossils from those living beings are not the origin of oil and natural gas, but rather generated from a chemical substance in the crust of the Earth.

        Dr. Gold: "Astronomers have been able to find that hydrocarbons, as oil, gas and coal are called, occur on many other planetary bodies. They are a common substance in the universe. You find it in the kind of gas clouds that made systems like our solar system. You find large quantities of hydrocarbons in them. Is it reasonable to think that our little Earth, one of the planets, contains oil and gas for reasons that are all its own and that these other bodies have it because it was built into them when they were born? That question makes a lot of sense. After all, they didn’t have dinosaurs and ferns on Jupiter to produce oil and gas?"

        He continues: "Human skull fossils have been found in anthracite coal in Pennsylvania. The official theory of the development of coal will not accept that reality, since human beings were not around when anthracite coal was formed. Coal was formed millions of years ago. However, you cannot mistake the fact that these are human fossils."

        "The coal we dig is hard, brittle stuff. It was once a liquid, because we find embedded in the middle of a six-foot seam of coal such things as a delicate wing of some animal or a leaf of a plant. They are undestroyed, absolutely preserved; with every cell in that fossil filled with exactly the same coal as all the coal on the outside. A hard, brittle coal is not going to get into each cell of a delicate leaf without destroying it. So obviously that stuff was a thin liquid at one time which gradually hardened."

        Gold claims that the only thing we find now on the Earth that would do that is petroleum, which gradually becomes stiffer and harder. That is the only logical explanation for the origin of coal. So the fact that coal contains fossils does not prove that it is a fossil fuel; it proves exactly the opposite. Those fossils found in coal prove that coal is not made from those fossils. Where then does the carbon base come from that produces all of this?

        Says Dr. Gold: "Petroleum and coal were made from materials in which heavy hydrocarbons were common components. We know that because the meteorites are the sort of debris left over from the formations of the planets and those contain carbon in unoxidized form as hydrocarbons as oil and coal-like particles. We find that in one large class of meteorites and we find that equally on many of the other planetary bodies in the solar system. So it’s pretty clear that when the Earth formed it contained a lot of carbon material built into it."

        Dr. Gold's ideas would lead us to believe that there is so much natural gas in the earth that it is causing earthquakes in trying to escape from the Earth. If you’ll drill deep enough anywhere, you will find natural gas. It may not be in commercial quantities every time, but more than likely it will be.

        Is the oil and gas industry reconsidering things in light of his work?

        Absolutely not.

        "In many other countries they are listening to me: in Russia on a very large scale, and in China also. It is just Western Europe and the United States that are so stuck in the mud that they can’t look at anything else."

      • 5 Years Ago
      VW/Audi has great diesel engines (although BMW's are even better...). Anyone here is recommended to take a quick and short trip to germany, rent a new A4 3.0 diesel quattro station wagen and make a trip from munich to cologne where many autobahn parts are unrestricted :-)

      Enjoy munich, then one of the fastest trips of your life, finally enjoy cologne. You won't regret it :)

      Back to topic: the new Polo Bluemotion promises 71 milles/gallon. That'll be 50-60 in real life. Much simpler and proven technology, a lot cheaper than a volt.

      Winterkorn is right. Get a diesel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's a shame the United States government has such an issue with diesels, maybe it's lobbying from the Detroit 3 that keep them out...or lobbying from the oil companies...it's time the American car companies start building world cars including diesels.
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