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When developing a hybrid model, automakers have a handful of options. They can try to copy Toyota's tried-and-true formula of focusing on increased efficiency while sacrificing some degree of performance, a path that worked for the Toyota Prius but not so much for the Honda Insight. Option two is to develop a hybrid that uses its gas-electric hardware to outperform its conventional stablemates. Think of the late Honda Accord Hybrid and you'll understand what a performance-oriented gas-electric can offer. Path number three, the one least traveled, marries performance with frugality, a rare combination that only a handful of vehicles like the Infiniti M35h and the upcoming Volkswagen Jetta hybrid aim to offer.

Jetta technical project manager Michael Hinz told Autocar that hybrid systems can be designed to either boost power or to improve efficiency. He added that a turbocharged gas engine is the preferred starting point for a performance hybrid, whereas a diesel-electric system makes for a frugal model.

The Jetta hybrid, already confirmed for Europe in 2012, will pack one of the firm's low-displacement TSI engines, most likely the 1.4-liter inline-four. This engine already puts out some decent numbers – 148 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Combine that with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack and we're looking at the potential for 175 hp and 280 lb-ft. That covers the performance side, but the 1.4-liter TSI engine is an efficient runner on its own and the addition of some hybrid hardware is likely to make it quite the gas miser. Estimates of 45 miles per gallon don't seem far-fetched and if VW can pull it off, then the Jetta hybrid could join the rare breed of gas-electrics that don't sacrifice performance while being fairly frugal.

[Source: Autocar]


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  • 13 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll wait for the diesel electric.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        quote from Mike: - "I thought about waiting for that too.. but in most areas of the country it doesn't make sense: Here in PA -

        Gas / Hybrid - 45mpg estimate. (and faster than a diesel) @ $2.81 per gallon = 6.2cents per mile.

        Diesel / Electric - 53 mpg estimate (and slower) @ $3.31 per gallon = 6.2 cents per mile." -


        It's all dependent on the fuel price though and I'm curious where you got yours and/or why you think that's typical.

        http://www.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/gdu/gasdiesel.asp

        According to the EIA, the current average price for diesel across the US is $3.067/gal. compared to $2.806 for gasoline(Regular unleaded). Prices are from 11-1, should be updating today for 11-8.
        Looking at the breakdowns for region as well, there isn't a single region in the US that shows diesel averaging as high as the $3.31/gal. that you quote.

        So, that means only 1 thing to me, you are paying much higher diesel prices than virtually the rest of the country. So, this might not be a good choice for you, but for countless others, it would still be beneficial. It's basically the exact opposite of your claim really, most parts of the country would benefit. This also doesn't account for the fact that many diesel vehicles achieve 25%+ better mileage than their gasoline counterparts, which is not accounted for in your estimate.
        graphikzking
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        I thought about waiting for that too.. but in most areas of the country it doesn't make sense: Here in PA -

        Gas / Hybrid - 45mpg estimate. (and faster than a diesel) @ $2.81 per gallon = 6.2cents per mile.

        Diesel / Electric - 53 mpg estimate (and slower) @ $3.31 per gallon = 6.2 cents per mile.

        The diesel would have to get AT least 8 more mpg in this scenario to break even.

        I think a gas with DI and the HCCI (Mazda sky engine) will eliminate almost any advantage that diesel has in combustability. Once that occurs you will regularly see mid-size sedans getting 27mpg city and 37hwy.

        This will also allow hybrids to significantly break the 50mpg barrier. Hopefully compact hybrids will be hitting 65mpg and midsize (prius) will be getting 55mpg.

      • 4 Years Ago
      If this is anything like the toureg hybrid it will have lower extra urban mpg than a similar sized diesel engine.
      I wish volkswagen group would just pair the already very fuel efficient 1.6 diesel with the hybrid components but that would make too much sense....
      • 4 Years Ago
      quote from Mike: - "In the US the Jetta Diesel is rated roughly 36mpg combined." -

      You must not have noticed that he said his Jetta is a 2003 model so your comparison to the economy of a 2010 model with a totally different engine(and different generation platform) is incorrect.

      When the Jetta TDI was sold in 2003, it fell under the old EPA guidelines. The Monroney sticker for an '03 Jetta TDI would show the fuel economy as 42/49/45(city/hwy/combined). The '03 used a 90hp 1.9L Turbodiesel engine compared to the 140hp 2.0L version the current cars use.

      In '08 when the EPA changed up their economy ratings, they also went back and updated the old ratings. Under the updated '08 ratings, the 2003 JettaTDI is rated at 35/44/38.

      50mpg for the old 1.9L TDI is pretty easy to achieve actually, but then, 90hp will tend to do that to you.
        • 4 Years Ago
        disregard, reply error.
      • 4 Years Ago
      it's easy to combine performance and efficiency. you obviously start with battery electric drive. then a tiny range extender.
      20km/L(45mpg) is still just a heavy unaerodynamic fossil fuel burner. not green.
      peak oil isn't solved by it, global warming only gets worse by it..

      it should not be that hard to understand, people
      • 4 Years Ago
      45 mpg and 280 lb-ft of torque. What's to understand? When can I buy one?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Meh, my 2003 Jetta TDI already gets 50mpg (4.7 l/100km), just not with that performance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        quote from Mike: - "In the US the Jetta Diesel is rated roughly 36mpg combined." -

        You must not have noticed that he said his Jetta is a 2003 model so your comparison to the economy of a 2010 model with a totally different engine(and different generation platform) is incorrect.

        When the Jetta TDI was sold in 2003, it fell under the old EPA guidelines. The Monroney sticker for an '03 Jetta TDI(5spd) would show the fuel economy as 42/49/45(city/hwy/combined). The '03 used a 90hp 1.9L Turbodiesel engine compared to the 140hp 2.0L version the current cars use.

        In '08 when the EPA changed up their economy ratings, they also went back and updated the old ratings. Under the updated '08 ratings, the 2003 JettaTDI is rated at 35/44/38.

        50mpg for the old 1.9L TDI is pretty easy to achieve actually, but then, 90hp will tend to do that to you.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Mike, I don't know where you have gotten your information.

        Cut and paste from "The most fuel-efficient vehicles for 2003" by the "Office of Energy Efficiency" (Canada):
        1.9 L, 4 cylinder
        5 speed manual
        Fuel Consumption:
        City: 5.6 L/100 km
        (50 mi/gal)
        Hwy: 4.3 L/100 km
        (66 mi/gal)

        Note: those are Imperial Gallons, but the city/hwy L/100km are right in line with my recorded 4.7 L/100km (50 mp(us)g).

        The new hybrid will be more costly and less efficient than some previous normal TDIs.
        graphikzking
        • 4 Years Ago
        Go by the ratings though. Your Jetta isn't rated 50mpg (unless your in Europe).

        In the US the Jetta Diesel is rated roughly 36mpg combined. So if it improves to 45mpg and has better performance.. why not?

        Thats a 25% improvement in fuel economy AND better performance. Also Diesel costs more in most areas of the country.

        If we wanted to go by what people get.. my wife consistently gets 56 mpg in her prius.. and she isn't a slow driver.. I have no idea how she does it because when I drive it I only get like 47-48mph.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I get the same with my 2006 TDI - although i've seen has good as 4.2L/100km.
        I also have almost as much power since I got an ECU flash. 155hp and 260tq
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