Friday, September 30, 2016

Volkswagen I.D. Concept Promises up to 370 Miles of All-Electric Range

By: Stephen Elmer


Volkswagen has set a goal of selling 25 million electric cars by 2025 and the new I.D. Concept is the very first signpost revealing what the brand’s new range of EVs will be like. 
The I.D. is wearing an entirely new design DNA which VW will use with its electric cars to set them apart moving forward. Powering the concept is an electric motor with 167 horsepower which will be capable of travelling between 248 miles (400 kilometers) to 372 miles (600 kms).
On the inside, the concept has a new “spatial experience” that Volkswagen calls Open Space. No photos of the interior have been revealed but the name does seem self explanatory.
VW expects to sell a production version of the I.D. by 2020, while a fully autonomous drive mode is said to be available by 2025. When the I.D. is driving itself, its steering wheel will be able to tuck back into the dashboard.
Finally, Volkswagen says that the I.D. will be able to receive parcels using a delivery service if the owner of the car isn’t at home.
This will be Volkswagen’s first car based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform, which will spawn a lineup of EVs in the future.



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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Future Tech: Trained Parking


By: Sebastien Bell



VWVortex is currently in Germany with Volkswagen to talk about future technology. The trip will culminate later this week in the launch of VW’s first MEB concept that’s headed for production, but as a teaser to that, they’ve been showing a cadre of journalists new technology that you may soon see on your car.
The first of these technologies is Trained Parking and though it was premiered at CES in 2015 Volkswagen says it’s nearly ready to go. The technology is like an autonomous valet: you teach your car a short route—say, from the door of your office building to your parking spot—and it can repeat that route without you.
160926_SL__MG_4609
The system works by using the forward and backwards facing cameras that many new Volkswagens come with anyway (for park assist, more on that in a later article) to create a 3D map of a short route. The car can then go from any place on the map to either end of the route you programed.
So, in the case of our test, it ran from one parking spot to another spot across a rather large parking lot and back. In the above example, it could go from your parking spot to your office door and then come back to pick you up after work. Not only that, but it could go to either point from any location on the course you showed it.
That’s because the system doesn’t just repeat your inputs—that would require you to start from the exact same location every time. Instead, it drives autonomously and slowly, using the camera mentioned above and the parking sensors to navigating using landmarks and avoiding obstacles all on its own.
160926_SL__MG_4626
Ideally, Park Training would probably be operated by an app, but commanding it from your key is being discussed, and on the e-Golf that I climbed into, the system could be initiated by tapping on the roof.
The technology is still in pre-development, but the engineer I spoke to, Dr Torsten Buschenfeld was confident that it would be headed to development shortly.
That’s because the system works. For short little drives, it will find its destination easily. The development stage, will more likely be about fine tuning and sorting out the legality of a car that can drive itself without anyone in it.
160926_SL__MG_4707
If all goes well, though, Buschenfeld predicts that the technology could be on the road in fewer than five years. Along with that, Volkswagen now says that it wants its innovation to be meaningful, meaning that at least 20% drivers have to pick it up, so if Trained Parking comes to market, it’s likely to come without much of a premium since it doesn’t really use new hardware, just software.
Although the technology is undoubtedly neat, and the idea of the car parking itself is appealing, it sounds a little like a solution to a problem that most people don’t really have. That said, Buschenfeld suggests that Park Training could be useful for electric cars if plans for an induction charging pad come to fruition. So, just like a Roomba, your car could find it’s way back to its charging spot.




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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Highly Interested in US Market: Report



By: Sebastien Bell

The Amarok may some day come to our shores if recent comments from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ CEO are anything to go off. According to a recent report from Reuters, CEO Eckhard Scholz told reporters last week that the US is “still a highly interesting market.”
VW’s commercial brand has been selling cars at a searing pace as of late, improving by nearly ten percent this year, as compared to 2015.
“Orders are at a level that some would wish for,” Reuters reports Scholz saying at a truck show in Hanover. “We are probably the brand with the best sales and order figures.”
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles may therefore be looking to continue their sales pace.
That said, when asked about whether the brand would consider selling cars in America, Scholz answered “”A lot of things come to mind but at the moment I have nothing concrete to say.”



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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Passat Alltrack is the Caravan Club’s Towcar of the Year 2017





The Volkswagen Passat Estate (read wagon) Alltrack and the Golf Estate Alltrack each took class awards in this year’s Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2017 awards. The Passat, though, wasn’t satisfied with just one award, and went on to win the “Under 1,800 kg” prize for four-wheel-drive tow cars and then the overall Towcar of the Year 2017 award.
The UK’s Caravan Club considered more than 47 cars in the competition, awarding prizes by price class. Among the winners were a Peugeot, a Citroen, a Mercedes, and also the Skoda Superb SE L Executive.
Volkswagen Golf Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI 4MOTION 150 PS

Winners were chosen over the course of four days of rigorous testing at the top secret Millbrook Proving Grounds, just outside Bedford, off the M1.
Seven judges evaluated each car for its dynamic abilities, ergonomic qualities, hill starts, and high speed stability. “Rigorous reversing examinations” were also conducted to determine the best of the best.
And after all of that, it was the Passat Estate Alltrack that won it all. The Caravan Club went so far as to call it “one of the classiest mid-range cars by a mile.”




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Monday, September 26, 2016

Report: Volkswagen to Start Electric Push with Three RWD Compacts



By: Sebastien Bell


Update: Autocar reports that Volkswagen released design sketches of the concept that will be shown at the Paris Motor Show, they can be seen below.
The Volkswagen Group is looking to have six all-electric vehicles on the road by 2025, starting with three modestly priced compact cars, reports Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. But a little line near the bottom is what caught my eye, because it says that the first electric vehicles will be rear-wheel-drive.
Volkswagen’s first concept car to sit on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB platform), the Budd-e, was four-wheel-drive and the e-Golf sends power to the front wheels, but Auto Motor und Sport is reporting that the first three compacts will all share the same drive unit, which they say powers the rear wheels.
vw-ev2

The first of the three cars will be Golf-sized and we’re expecting to see a concept of it in Paris next week. It will be followed by a Jetta-style sedan and a Tiguan- or Tiguan-XL-sized SUV.
The latter, reports Auto Motor und Sport, could seat up to seven people thanks to the MEB platform. Electric cars have no big engine taking up passenger space, so VW can squeeze more interior room out of a smaller car. That means that the Golf-sized car will also have more interior space than a Golf.
These three value options will hopefully create an economy of scale that will make batteryproduction cheaper, but to keep initial prices down buyers will be able to pick how manybatteries they’d like.
vw-ev4
The cell packs, Frank Welsch, head of development at VW, told Auto Motor und Sport, can fit together like Lego giving drivers between 250 to 375 miles of range.
The compact models are to be followed by more premium options, like a big SUV, a coupe-sedan, and a transporter, but that won’t much resemble the Budd-e.
So far, the working title for the first car is NUVe (New Utility Vehicle electric). Maybe not the most romantic name, but it’ll slot right into VW’s “Think New,” motto like a battery pack: “Think NUV




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