Details on the new Volkswagen Twin Drive are still sketchy at best, but here's what we know so far: The Golf chassis definitely has two powerplants like any other hybrid, one internal combustion engine along with an electric motor. From what we can tell, the car is likely to use lithium ion batteries stored in the cargo hatch and likely supplied by Sanyo. We don't think that the powerplants are connected in any way, so there would be no charging of the batteries by the engine, but we're waiting for more clarification on the matter. If regenerative braking were employed, this could be the first production through-the-ground hybrid. VeeDub is claiming an electric-only range of about 50 kilometers, or 31 miles if you live here in the U.S. If there is indeed no way to recharge the batteries without plugging in, the 122 horsepower 2.0L turbodiesel engine would completely take over, leaving the 82 hp electric motor along for the ride. There are two separate fuel gauges in the cockpit, one for liquid fuel and the other for battery charge.
Perhaps keeping the two powerplants separate allows for the creation of the hybrid without the licensing of any previously existing technology. Twenty of these Twin Drive Golf's will be tested until 2012 and will be charged using only renewable electricity. That last point is important, considering that much of Germany's power comes from less-than-clean coal. We'll let you know of any additional production plans as soon as we're aware of any.