Volkswagen Polo Plug-In Hybrid In The Works


We can either continue to deny that Volkswagen is getting serious when it comes to plug ins or we can finally commit ourselves to seeing VW as a plug-in player.

VW Polo

VW Polo

We’re falling on the side of the fence that sees VW coming on board.

Volkswagen’s latest announcement is that a plug-in hybrid version of its hugely popular Polo (not for sale in the US) is in the development stage.

Word of this comes from Ekkehard Pott of Volkswagen’s powertrain development team.

As Pott stated during VW’s official launch of the refreshed Polo, two alt-fuel versions of the Polo are currently being developed: PHEV and natural gas.

Ignoring the natural gas version, here’s what Pott had to say of the PHEV Polo:

“The [PHEV] technology will differ [VW’s TwinDrive PHEV]. We don’t have the same platform, so we have to make vehicle-specific adaptions.”

“One of the advantages would be fuel economy, of course but another one would be comfort. Driving on pure electricity over shorter distances is something that TwinDrive could offer in a very good way.”

“Until now TwinDrive has been shown with petrol technology.  Of course the cost of the technology would be a concern – we have to decide for every project what the most meaningful combination would be.”

Cost is always a concern when it comes to plug ins.  That statement becomes even more true when applied to an economy/budget automobiles like the Polo.

When will we get more details on the PHEV Polo?  According to Potts:

“Things are still under development, but if there proves to be an good outlook for TGI and TwinDrive we will unveil more of the details next year.”

At least this confirms that a plug-in hybrid Polo is under consideration and that development of such a machine is already underway.

Source: Autocar

Categories: Volkswagen


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20 Comments on "Volkswagen Polo Plug-In Hybrid In The Works"

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‘Volkswagen wouldn’t be drawn on details of the system the Polo will adopt, beyond saying that it will be different to that adopted for the Golf. One key reason for this is because the latter vehicle is based on Volkwagen’s modular MQB platform, whereas the current-generation Polo still uses the older PQ25 underpinnings. “The technology will differ,” said Ekkehard Pott of Volkswagen’s powertrain development team. “We don’t have the same platform, so we have to make vehicle-specific adaptions.”’ So what on earth are VW up to? Instead of waiting for the new model cycle to change to the modular platform they are spending big to make the Polo a plug in ASAP. Why? Nissan and Renault is why. In 2009 they said: ‘The Nikkei reports that Nissan Motor Co. has nearly completed development of a lithium-ion battery using a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode (NMC). The new system, which will reportedly offer almost double the capacity of Nissan/AESC’s current manganese spinel cell, is supposedly slated for deployment in electric vehicles in 2015.’ Now Nissan have sent around surveys asking how much extra people would be prepared to pay for a 150 mile range Leaf, with the top… Read more »

VW, save money, time and effort and give us the beautifully designed Polo
Bluemotion with the 1.2liter diesel, that can provide 90+ mpg.

I hope this is not a sin to suggest on my favorite site for all things EV!

A friend of mine has one, and it is a PIA to drive.
The savings against the regular Polo don’t pay for the extra cost either.

Hyundai with their new i10 are building a car which is pretty comparable to drive to a B-segment car like the Polo, but at the price of an A-segment car like the Up.

‘It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out that the are shortly going to release vehicle with much better range’

Funny, because Shelock Holmes just told me ‘seeing is believing’. It isn’t necessarily tech that would get the Nissan extra range. $5,000 leaves plenty of room. As to the natural gas car development, VW simply diluted their whole message with that one.

As PHEVs take off, and the hydrogen emporer keeps getting exposed, “natural gas” will take his role. But there is no credible source of filling station build-out. Fossil won’t do it, until they see themselves replacing watts instead of gasoline. The manufacturers won’t do it, on parts cost. There is no pariah, natural-gas car builder. Environmental groups don’t want incentives to lock in CO2 release, and 100+ million outlets beat the existing network, like the rock beats scissors.

I’m not trying to be the ‘negative blog guy’, just not seeing the group that would ‘get ‘er done’.

You do know that there are around 1,000 natural gas stations in Germany?

How did they get built? Who paid?

I don’t know, and since I don’t read German I am not going to look into the papers to find out.

Germany is in any case not unique in Europe in this respect, which far more NG cars in Italy.

Here in the UK we use LPG as an alternative.

The whole thing of infrastructure for alternative fuels is pretty routine here in Europe, with stations everywhere having diesel as well as petrol as for many years it has been used extensively by private motorists as well as trucks.

That is one of the reasons that commentators banging on about the supposedly insuperable obstacles to building a hydrogen infrastructure are making a big deal out of a relatively simple build.

If you put in a NG or hydrogen pump you don’t need a petrol pump, and those don’t last forever and are ballpark the same cost, certainly now for NG and for hydrogen once some volume is reached.

So the net cost is not excessive, as you have to take out the forgone replacement cost for petrol infrastructure.

The whole thing does not happen overnight, and the net cost over a decade or two is not huge, in either case.

If Nissan has a 150 mile car in the market for 2015, priced at $35,000 or even $40,000, Tesla stock would be cut in half! (or worse, I imagine)

Top of the range Leaf is from $27,340 including the tax break, less in some states including places like California where the sales are largest and they have additional state subsidies. So that puts the car at $32,340 if Nissan upped the price for the extra range by the most they suggested. Perhaps it is reasonable to suggest that folk who are not eligible for the tax break might go for the base model, so that would come to $28,800 plus the $5k, or $33,800, still comfortably less than $35k. Due to the increased range each time the battery cycles you go further, so that you would have done something like 140k before the battery got down to 80%, or 120 miles of range. The battery should last for the effective lifetime of the car, maybe with some module replacement, with range still in excess of the range of a brand new Leaf now, around 84 miles. That is ignoring the fact that NMC chemistry is somewhat more robust than the present LMO, and so likely to actually do more cycles. Arizonans and other people in really brutal climates will probably not do so well, but assuming that Nissan executes… Read more »

I’m not worried about the exact price of the car. I was just assuming that car X (LEAF in some version) costs $30,000 and has a range of 75 or whatever miles. If you can double the range from 75 miles to 150 miles for $5,000, that would be huge. Sounds very difficult, though. You would at least have to double the size of the battery (from 24 kWh to 48 kWh) to also compensate for the additional weight. 24 kWh is only $5,000? I thought it would be more, something closer to $10,000.

The increase is not quite a doubling, but from around 84miles of range to 150 miles, or perhaps 1.8 times.

The weight of the battery pack does not go up, as the whole point if you read the links I have supplied is that the energy density of the battery is increased.

That means that the new pack will fit in to the existing space for the battery without it being modified or the weight increased.

I’d put the new pack at around 44kwh.

The controller and so on for the battery is not changed, so the marginal cost of the increase is held down, as that adds considerably to the cost.

So the additional 20kwh or so would cost $250kwh, which is ambitious but do-able.

If they fit the new battery chemistry to the lower range Leaf they should benefit from a small performance increase, as the pack will be smaller and lighter than at present.

To your point, depth of discharge could be allowed to go deeper, as depending upon 150 miles of range often would not be expected. Tesla already does this, for instance, where the Volt leaves an extra ~20% of battery capacity untapped, at all times. To simplify, a 10kwh battery may be set to deliver 65% of its capacity, while a 100kwh battery may be set to occasionally tap 90% of its capacity, without the ~dozen or so, yearly times it is done having a big impact on cycle life.

Technically, it also stands to reason why there is a discussion of “1.8X” energy density improvement. Unless the auto industry is on a separate tangent from global battery tech, “Mah” battery capacity increases tend not to be more than about 1.1X over time.

The answer to that can be found in the links I have already provided.

This is NOT new technology or chemistry, but existing chemistry made suitable for cars.

The remarkable thing is that Tesla has had an approximate two times energy advantage for so long, not that others are finally catching up.

Moving on and up from the Panasonic densities is another thing entirely, and very difficult as I have indicated.

That is what GM was trying with the Envia technology, and they have come unstuck.

Nissan/Renault in contrast have had versions of their NMC technology for years, but have had to work hard to perfect it and the production technology to get it into cars.

Oh, one thing: Whatever statement was made in 2009, that’s an eternity ago now. There have been numerous course-corrections. Remember how GM had found a cheap 200 mile battery just a year ago, and 6 months into the project… not so much… and 6 months after that, the (outgoing) CEO still kept talking about that project as if it was happening just around the corner. Nissan may have some huge breakthrough just around the corner, but I wouldn’t base it off 2009-anything.

Here and elsewhere I have given the rationale for thinking that not only Nissan/Renault but also VW with some time lag pretty well have the batteries ready to equal those of the Tesla S.
Remember that that is exactly what I am talking about, equalling the present energy density of the Panasonic’s in the Tesla S, not some huge breakthrough as you say.
NMC batteries are shown in all the reference works as having similar energy density to the NCA used in the Panasonics, but readying them for mass production for cars has proven tricky.

Clearly this is what the whole industry is trying to achieve: At least catch up with Tesla in terms of price per kWh. As you might imagine, all auto makers have been researching and crunching these numbers to death for years now, especially the last 18 months. Do I understand you correctly to say that you think that in the next 1-2 years tops, Nissan, VW and potentially the other car companies will be caught up with Tesla? Because if that’s true, the scarcity premium in Tesla’s stock will likely deflate.

I would believe that in 1-2 years, Nissan/VW/etc could catch up to where Tesla is TODAY, but Tesla isn’t standing still.

In the words of the great Schwarzenegger, when taunting his adversary (Pumping Iron): “It would take you another month to get as big as me. But in another month, I’ll be bigger too! So what’s the point?”

Musk tells us in the meeting in Amsterdam that he does not see any increase in energy density for the next 4-5 years, so there is nothing on the horizon.

He sees cost decreases, around 30% and is hoping for 40%, but no energy density increases.

Catching up with Tesla can be done using existing chemistry.

Going beyond is tough, and will involve something like sulphur, silicon or solid state.

All non-trivial, and do not expect anything before 2020, and likely quite a bit longer to actually get into production.

“I already call my motha, tell her I won”. Classic line.