Fuel and powertrain strategy

The main focus of Volkswagen Group’s fuel and powertrain strategy is on achieving sustainable mobility for the society. The enduring goal of our development work is to become less dependent on fossil fuels and reduce the pollutants that vehicles emit.

We assume that vehicles with combustion engines – diesel or petrol – will continue to dominate our roads in the next 20 years, especially in emerging markets such as the Far East, India and Latin America. We therefore believe it is imperative to make these engines increasingly efficient, though also compatible for use with the more carbon-neutral fuels of the future. The TSI and TDI engines that have been marketed successfully in combination with our innovative dual clutch gearboxes therefore remain key cornerstones of our powertrain strategy.

in grams per kilometer
CO2-emissions of the Volkswagen Group's european (EU 27) new vehicle fleet (bar chart)

When we launched the new Polo in early 2009, we expanded our range of smaller engines with direct petrol injection and a charger, thus implementing the Group’s highly successful downsizing strategy in a new segment of the automobile market. This strategy, which is based on our efficient TSI engines, applies to virtually all capacity classes and Group brands.

Introducing clean diesel technology and the 1.6 l TDI common rail engine in the market enabled us to reach significant milestones for diesel engines in 2009, which will ensure that we will remain the innovation leader in the field of diesel engine development. The clean diesel TDI common rail engines already comply with the Euro 6 emission standard due to come into effect in 2014. These engines have enjoyed considerable success in the North American market in particular, which tends to have a low take-up of diesel. Excellent fuel economy coupled with outstanding driving characteristics and low emissions led to the Jetta TDI clean diesel winning the 2009 Green Car of the Year award at the LA Auto Show. However, we again demonstrated the exceptional characteristics of state-of-the-art diesel engines in the European market as well by building the common rail engine into our Polo, Golf and Multivan/Transporter models, and the three-cylinder TDI engine into the new Polo BlueMotion*.

We also successfully continued our development activities in the area of alternative fuels. By introducing the new TSI EcoFuel engine in the Passat and Touran models, Volkswagen is attracting an increasingly broad range of buyers who prefer alternative fuels for both ecological and economic reasons. The combination of the TSI twin charger and natural gas (CNG) was rewarded with five stars in the ADAC’s Eco Test for the Passat EcoFuel. Until then, no other vehicle had achieved the highest score. The Group’s engine range was also expanded to include a bi-fuel engine for the Golf that can be run on attractively priced liquid petroleum gas, as well as an Audi flexible fuel engine for the Audi A4.

In the past fiscal year, we drove forward the electrification of the drives in our vehicles. By rolling out the Golf and Tiguan as well as the Audi A3, A4 and A5, the Volkswagen Group launched models with a large market volume that come with both start-stop technology and energy recovery functions. Braking energy recovery technology, which increases engine efficiency, has thus been integrated into Volkswagen’s product portfolio. We supplemented these hybrid concepts by developing the Touareg Hybrid, scheduled for launch in 2010. The combination of a TSI engine and a 38 kW electric motor promises fuel consumption of 8.1 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of 193 g/km – top figures in the sport utility vehicle segment. By adding the Touareg Hybrid to our engine range, we are moving closer to a time when the entire drivetrain will be electric.

Volkswagen showed what full electrification of the drivetrain will look like when it unveiled the E-UP! at the IAA in Frankfurt. Its 60 kW electric motor and lithium ion battery pack give the E-UP! a range of up to 140 km and maximum speeds of 135 km/h, figures that impressed regular and industry visitors alike. Nevertheless, battery technology still faces huge challenges that will make it difficult to develop electric cars for mass production. We will meet these challenges in cooperation with our development partners. We believe that, in the coming years, vehicles with a pure electric drive will remain a niche for the time being and first have to prove themselves in urban use.

*Consumption and emission data can be found here.

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