Volkswagen Group will finally enter the volume hybrid market in 2013, chairman Martin Winterkorn has announced.
There will be a “range of important models with plug-in hybrid technology starting in 2013/14”, Winterkorn told the International Vienna Motor Symposium.
The new cars are expected to be the Mk7 Golf and the third-generation Audi A3 which are both based on VW’s new corporate front-drive MQB platform.
“Over the mid-term, the plug-in hybrid offers great potential, because it combines the best of two worlds in one vehicle,” Winterkorn said.
“The plug-in hybrid offers precisely what many customers expect: unlimited internal combustion engine performance combined with attractive electric mobility ranges in everyday driving.”
The news suggests that VW will not build a purely battery-powered version of the Golf to rival the Nissan Leaf. A ‘plug-in’ hybrid uses a larger than normal battery pack, which should enable the car to travel up to 20 miles on zero-emission battery power, enough for most urban daily commuting run and shopping trips.
The advantage of the plug-in format is that the car can also use its conventional engine for longer journeys and can be conventionally re-fuelled in minutes, a major advantage over pure battery-powered cars.
A plug-in hybrid transmission is also likely to be cheaper to build than a pure EV car with a large battery pack.
It’s also possible that the Mk7 hybrid Golf will have an official EU combined fuel economy of over 100mpg because the power delivered by the battery pack does not contribute to car’s official Co2 emissions.