Volkswagen launched its best-looking car ever, the CC, and we took it for a drive to check out the tech. This sedan has a seductively curved roofline and a beautiful two-tone interior, with a new suite of cabin tech that looks really good on paper. Hard-drive-based navigation with traffic, onboard music storage, iPod and USB drive integration, and a Dynaudio sound system are all cutting-edge features, but will they hold up on the road? We also put the car's sport aspirations to the test, seeing how it handles around the corners.
Automakers in Europe plan new business models for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids before 2011.
The business models will eliminate the need for gasoline stations. Energy will be supplied by utility companies. The automakers also will need to take into account the life span of batteries, which will depreciate and wear out quicker than the cars themselves.
Toyota Motor Corp., Daimler, Renault-Nissan, Volvo, and General Motors are among the carmakers that plan to bring plug-in hybrids and full-electric cars to market in 2011.
When that happens, carmakers, utility companies, and battery suppliers will need to be ready to take over the role of energy suppliers from oil companies. This will require a restructuring of energy supply arrangements and infrastructure.
But the industry also needs to examine such areas as calculations of operating costs, vehicle depreciation and billing systems.
"We have to prepare for a new era in our industry like never before," Thomas Weber, Daimler board member for R&D, told Automotive News Europe. "Managing financial conditions is crucial for a successful electrification of cars."
Volkswagen got a lot of mileage out of its 3-liter turbocharged V-6 diesel engine at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. It appeared in the Touareg TDI and the Audi Q5 TDI, signaling Volkswagen's launch of diesel SUVs in the U.S. This engine uses a complex emissions system that lets Volkswagen and Audi sell the vehicles in all 50 states. A particulate filter gets rid of the bigger stuff, while a solution called AdBlue breaks down nitrogen oxide emissions. Also on hand was the much more powerful TDI-powered Volkswagen Baja 1000 competitor.
LOS ANGELES--The Green Car Journal gave its 2009 Green Car of the Year award to the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. This year's list of nominees included the BMW 335d, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid, and Smart ForTwo. The Jetta TDI uses a 2-liter, turbocharged, diesel, four-cylinder engine to achieve an EPA-rated 41mpg highway fuel economy and 30mpg city. Volkswagen's new clean diesel technology makes the car legal in all 50 states, meeting California's stringent Air Resources Board requirements, under which is qualifies as a SULEV, or Super … Read more
Volkswagen rolled out some new high performance concepts with an eco twist at the 2008 SEMA Show. Among the models displayed were a hot-rod version of the Tiguan crossover SUV, the CC Gold Coast Edition, and the Jetta TDI Cup (the race-ready version of VW's clean diesel Jetta).
The main event was the unveiling of the CC Eco Performance Concept, a version of the CC that not only bests the stock model in raw power, but also in fuel economy.
Forecasters see 2010 as the big year for Europe's manufacturers of stop-start systems, which turn the engine off when a vehicle stops and restarts it when the driver's foot leaves the brake.
An estimated 2.8 million vehicles with stop-start will be made globally that year. About 2.5 million of those vehicles will be made in Europe and the rest in Asia, according to consultancy IHS Global Insight. That's up dramatically from last year, when about 54,000 stop-stop-equipped vehicles were made, an estimated 53,350 in Europe.
Stop-start maker Valeo SA is looking forward to the surge because it does not make a profit on the system at current volumes. "Today we manufacture 1,000 a month, so it doesn't make sense. But we knew that," Valeo CEO Thierry Morin told Automotive News Europe earlier this year. "It will be a profitable business by 2011, when we have the volumes, in particular from PSA."
The French supplier has a contract with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen to equip more than 1 million vehicles with a stop-start system by 2011. Valeo says the contract is worth 700 million euros, or $897.4 million at current exchange rates. Valeo now supplies stop-start for Citroen, Mercedes, and Smart vehicles.… Read more
What will race cars look like in 2025? The Los Angeles Auto Show, in its fifth annual Design Challenge, posed this question to automakers' design studios. Entrants from Audi, BMW, GM, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagen show off differing takes of what will be required for future racetracks.
Everyone who saw VW's Microbus concept vehicle and immediately wanted one, raise your hand.
Lots of hands.
Now, everyone who would pay $40,000 or $50,000 or more for one, raise your hands.
Not too many hands out there...
Volkswagen was one of the first automakers to bring a concept vehicle to production virtually unchanged with the New Beetle a decade ago, but not all concept vehicles are destined for production. Europe was not interested in the Microbus, and a unique platform and high-cost assembly plant, plus limited sales potential meant that it stayed a concept. And although … Read more
Volkswagen unveiled the next generation GTI, which we'll see next year, at the 2008 Paris auto show.
Twenty days, 48 states, and 9,419 miles after leaving Bluefield, Va., John and Helen Taylor arrived in West Virginia as Guinness World Record holders for fuel economy around the country. The Volkswagen- and Shell Oil-sponsored trip was completed in a showroom stock 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI and 11.04 tanks of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel. The hypermiling couple finished with an official 58.82 U.S. mpg, which averages out to 6.9 cents per mile.
The Taylors credit smooth driving and proper vehicle maintenance, amongst other techniques, for their record-setting fuel economy.
Edited: Thanks to our astute readers … Read more