Fri 19 Apr 2013
The CrossBlue concept from Volkswagen gets up to 34 mpg on its gas engine and combined with the 2 electric motors can reach a combined fuel consumption of 79 mpg with up to 21 mile achievable as a zero emission EV. If produced the car could b fitted with a 4 or 6 cylinder engine running on gas, diesel or CNG. Switching from the gas engine to the electric motors is as easy as pushing a button allowing for a quick change between modes as driving conditions change.
Left in Eco-mode the car will automatically adjust between electric (EV), hybrid and Gasoline engine mode. Another interesting feature is its “Off-Road” mode which switches the vehicle into a 4 wheel drive mode. This is an interesting switch, while in 4 wheel drive mode the gasoline engine supplies power to the front wheels, which in turn provides the power for the rear motor via electrical power produced by the front motor (which is used as a generator). This allows the vehicle to be driven even when the batteries are low.
One point I found interesting in the design of the electric connections is that there are two connections. One is for charging the batteries and the other is for allowing access to the batteries power, allowing the batteries to be use in emergency situations providing up to 16 amps of 230 volt power. For safety reasons the fuel intake is located on the right side of the vehicle and the battery connection on the Left side with matching covers. This prevents accidental explosions due to sparks.
To save power the CrossBlue uses LED technology for its lights. As part of the energy saving part of the engineering, when the vehicle is coasting (the accelerator pedal is released), both the engine and electric motors are disconnected from the drive train and the engine is turned off. If the batteries need charging then the motors remain coupled to be used as generators to charge the battery system.
Additional power is provided to the drive train during “boosting”. In this mode both the electric and gasoline engine is used to provide power to all 4 wheels boosting the HP up to the maximum stated 415hp with a torque of 516 lb-ft, which is pretty impressive for a “Eco-Vehicle”.As the vehicle switches from ECO to Sport mode the dashboard lighting switches from orange to red to help keep the driver informed of the power mode. The instruments on the instrument panel also change to provide the information needed for the given mode.
So, will the Volkswagen CrossBlue be the hybrid car of the future? While that remains to be seen, it does give an excellent glimpse of the advances in EV and Hybrid technology in a sporty, comfortable vehicle.