VW Unveils "TwinDrive" Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Warren Buffet’s recent investment in BYD has conferred a new legitimacy on a dual parallel-serial hybrid drivetrain, which combines features from both systems. And now VW has revealed its own PHEV third way called “TwinDrive.” Ohne transmission, VW’s concept car uses a small electric engine– powered by a 350 lbs. Sanyo lithium-Ion battery pack under the trunk floor– to launch its Golf testbed to 30 mph. (At which point the gasoline engine kicks in.) Electric acceleration helps overcome the limitations of a single high gear; reverse is electric-only. And drivers can engage an EV-only mode. Motor Trend reports that VeeDub’s testing the TwinDrive system with diesel engines, but gas-powered TD’s are destined for production. Production ICE is said to be a 100hp turbocharged 1.05-liter turbocharged triple. A smart navigation-based system will calculate energy use priorities, saving battery capacity if urban driving appears ahead on the planned driving route, thus ensuring battery depletion at the destination and keeping the TwinDrive away from gas pumps unless absolutely necessary). The basic components of plug-in hybrid systems seem to have become fairly standardized. But concepts like the TwinDrive show that there are more development options than simply parallel or serial configurations.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Rev0lver Rev0lver on Oct 01, 2008

    Well I guess I'm wrong, they must be breaking sales records left and right, anyone have the sales numbers?

  • T2 T2 on Oct 01, 2008

    TwinDrive looks like another wannabee has been trying his hand at powertrain design. What it shows is a poor understanding of the qualities of the electric motor and internal combustion engines. Let's look at how the masters at Toyota do it. They understand that the ICE is a constant torque prime mover which must be allowed to spin at maximum rpm in order to develop maximum power. In the Prius it can do that continuously from 51mph to 100mph if need be. Meanwhile over at VW, they have victimised their powertrain by foisting a fixed gear ratio on the engine. This means that whatever Top Speed marketing decides the vehicle should have, that will be when maximum power is developed. A legally unusable 120mph will doom this engine to just half its max power at 60mph. How dumb is that ? T2

  • Campisi Campisi on Oct 01, 2008
    It’s definitely a huge jump in efficiency in absolute terms over the existing SUV platform, but it’s still a poor use of resources, as it encourages excess. "Encouraging excess" is very much a supply-side view of the automotive marketplace, no? The Two-Mode SUVs are for people that want/need a body-on-frame large SUV, but also want considerably better mileage than other large SUVs. Just like the truck/SUV market in total, a plummet in sales does not mean that the market itself will disappear. GM knows that they are very good at trucks and SUVs, so they want to solidify their dominance of the market. The system has a hefty premium now, but the theory is that economies of scale will eventually bring the price down. The Two-Mode system is slowly being phased in to other varieties of vehicles anyway, so the Tahoe Hybrid isn't really a display of any major shortcoming in the system as much as their choice of debut vehicle for the system.
  • Charly Charly on Oct 01, 2008

    This smells like made for diesel. Prius has the problem that it works best with a gas engine which isn't financial wise in cheap diesel Europe.