Powered by a rather significantly impressive turbodiesel, all signs are good that VW will be producing this plug-in hybrid in the future. At least in Germany any way. But considering how many changes this vehicle has already gone through and the almost daily developments in auto industry technology, it is not too far-fetched to think there may be hope for a North American version at some point.
Motivated by over $23 million from the German government, VW is devoting over $700 million of its own to funds to develop the technologies needed to bring the Twin Drive to market. Since its commitment to the project began, the Twin Drive has evolved from its original conception as a dual-powered vehicle. One that would drive on electricity and once out of juice, switch over to the traditional engine. In that way, it was different and at a disadvantage to either current hybrids or future hybrids that are completely propelled by the batteries and regenerated when needed by the engine. Like other primary electric vehicles the car uses an 82 horsepower electric motor for initial power and is regenerated in part by the car’s 122 horsepower 2 liter turbodiesel motor and brakes. Unlike similar vehicles, the Twin Drive has 3 separate electric motors; one in the front with the diesel and one each at both rear wheels, which according to those that have driven one of the 20 prototypes, helps to evenly balance the moderately heavy Golf. Estimates are that the vehicle should be able to drive a modest 31 miles on the lithium-ion batteries alone in all-electric mode and further extend fuel efficiency by using start-stop technology to shut the diesel engine off when idling in traffic. The diesel will also instantly engage if you press the accelerator aggressively, which should be reassuring to anyone who may be skittish about the prospect of merging into highway traffic.
The upside to this vehicle is according to VW brass, claims that it is capable of almost triple digit overall fuel economy when driven gently. Charging the Twin Drive is done through plug-in points in the front and rear bumpers and takes four-and-a-half hours from a 220V source. Though no definitive date has been set, there are reports that the Twin Drive may take as long as 7 years to finally make it to production.