Monday, November 27, 2017

VW Reveals Mild-Hybrid Golf in Europe

By: Sebastien Bell
Although Volkswagen has admitted that plug-in hybrids aren’t a priority in America, the era of mild-hybridization is upon us–or is at least upon EU–and the company has revealed what that will look like for the Golf.
Powered by a 1.5-liter gas engine, that’s married to an 8kW belt-integrated starter generator—which sounds remarkably like an alternator, but whatever—that funnels electricity to a 48-volt lithium ion battery. Weirdly, this is in addition to the 12V battery that will still run the usual electronics.
So far, that’s nothing especially groundbreaking, but the beefier electrical system does at least allow the Golf to do more. It allows faster start-stops, better energy recovery, and can provide more boost to the engine.
But wait, there’s more! A “mild hybrid plus” version will also incorporate a 35 hp electric motorthat can drive either the front or rear axle. That means that the system can recover energy through regenerative braking, shut down the engine to save fuel, or—more enticingly—funnel extra torque to some of the wheels.
Funneling extra torque is always exciting because it helps performance in all sorts of ways. The extra torque can help acceleration in a straight line, but can also help with cornering (by providing extra power to the outside wheels).
That means that the same system that improves lap times also improves fuel economy by 7 mpg, according to VW.
Along with the electric motor, VW also has a shiny new TSI engine that uses a variable geometry turbo that apparently has the highest compression and best fuel economy in its class. Volkswagen is also developing an even better 1.5-liter engine making an extra 30 hp that can run on either gas or compressed natural gas.
Autocar recently had the chance to drive a prototype MHEV Golf. The publication reports that power delivery is smooth and linear and that it feels pretty much production ready, but that the MHEV Plus—with the 35 hp electric motor—feels a little farther from development because its power comes in and out a little more choppily.
So far the publication has only driven the FWD version but was treated to an AWD demonstration. A FWD Tiguan was driven in deep sand, where it became stuck until the electric motor gave the rear wheels a kick helping the Tiguan out.
Volkswagen anticipates that these systems will be commonplace in a few years because they help efficiency and are cheaper than a plug-in hybrid system—which could even make them appealing here.
That’s no reason to fret, reports Autocar, because the mild hybrid system, that Audi has been working on since the SQ7, eliminates turbo lag and makes the car feel responsive and engaging, causing Autocar to call it a better all-around option than the traditional Golf.

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