Mild hybrids to be introduced in Volkswagen's 2018 Polo; small diesels have been ditched due to tough new CO2 regulations and a decline in demand
8 February 2017

Volkswagen has halted development of a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder originally scheduled for 2018 in the upcoming sixth-generation Polo, in favour of a new petrol-electric mild hybrid driveline.

The new aluminium block high-pressure common rail unit was planned to form part of a new small engine offensive by Volkswagen, in combination with the recently unveiled turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol unit launched in the facelifted seventh-generation Golf.

However, high engineering costs coupled with ever tougher CO2 and NOx emission standards, and waning demand for diesel engines in Europe’s B-segment, in the wake of the dieselgate scandal, has led to Volkswagen abandoning its original small diesel engine strategy and switching its engineering focus to small capacity petrol-electric hybrid drivelines instead, according to the German car maker’s head of research and development, Frank Welsch.

Speaking at the launch of the new Golf in Spain last week, Welsch singled out the high cost of developing an effective after treatment system for a successor to today’s turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel – the EA827, as it is known internally – as a key component in the decision for the switch in driveline strategy.

“The added cost is anything from six to eight hundred Euros in material costs just for the after-treatment system,” he says, adding, “The after-treatment system is as expensive as the engine itself. To add a diesel in the Polo, it is 25 percent of the car itself.”    

Welsch wouldn’t put a definitive timeframe on when Volkswagen would cease to offer a diesel engine in the Polo and its future derivatives, including a new entry-level SUV previewed by the T-Cross Breeze concept, although he indicates the days of the existing turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine are numbered. “Three to four years, maybe five,” said the 52-year-old German when asked how long the EA827 would be available.

Confirming Volkswagen’s plans to provide its line-up with an alternative to a traditional small diesel engine, Volkswagen’s research and development boss said:  “In a time not so far away, people will go for petrol engines in combination with a mild hybrid.”

Welsch, who is overseeing the development of Volkswagen’s next generation of models, is convinced hybrids will offer an economical and viable answer to increasingly tough emission regulations. “A mild hybrid, in the end, is cheaper and has the same CO2 (as a small capacity diesel) with a lot less NOx,” he says.

Plans to fast-track the new petrol-electric mild hybrid driveline will see Volkswagen invest heavily in new electric systems similar to that already confirmed for the new Golf 1.5 TSI EVO Blue Motion. “In most cases, it will be a 48-volt system for recuperation. Our latest system develops four times as much energy in recuperation,” says Welsch.

As a consequence of the change in driveline strategy, Volkswagen has also decided to cease production of its turbocharged 1.4-litre three-cylinder diesel engine, as offered in the existing fifth-generation Polo. However, exact details as to when it will be pulled from the line-up remain unclear.

Despite abandoning plans for the proposed turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, Welsch confirmed Volkswagen is holding firm to its widely used turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel – the EA288 as it is known.

“The 2.0-litre will definitely have a great future,” he says, adding, “In one or one and half years we will have the next-generation.”

Welsch confirms Volkswagen’s new 2.0-litre engine carries the internal codename EA288 EVO, suggesting it is an update of the existing unit used across the Volkswagen line-up, saying: “it will be really great in terms of CO2.”  

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Comments
25

8 February 2017
Hahahahahaha.

8 February 2017
Better late than never.

Toyota has proven that hybrids can support a major brand without diesels. It's a bit ridiculous that so few cars use the technology when it's been on the market for 20 years.

8 February 2017
Along with the statement "Volkswagen abandoning its original small diesel engine strategy " when linked to a previous statement from VW about the next Golf that I commented on that stating there won't be any large Diesel engines either means the future for the diesel is limited, like America and Asia then!
Finally seen the future though a cloud of diesel fumes.

RIP (Rattle In Peace) HaHaHa.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

8 February 2017
Diess of Volkswagen said "We will still offer small capacity diesel engines in the next Golf because they remain important in many markets....."

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

8 February 2017
xxxx wrote:

Diess of Volkswagen said "We will still offer small capacity diesel engines in the next Golf because they remain important in many markets....."

In the article Greg Kable specifically refers to waning demand for diesels in the European B segment, the Golf is the C segment.

8 February 2017
Bob Cholmondeley wrote:
xxxx wrote:

Diess of Volkswagen said "We will still offer small capacity diesel engines in the next Golf because they remain important in many markets....."

In the article Greg Kable specifically refers to waning demand for diesels in the European B segment, the Golf is the C segment.

I took it from a quote hence the "". he specifically said Golf, read it

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

8 February 2017
This seems to get a lot of mention, what voltage do Honda's insight and Toyota hybrids work on as it never seems to get mention with these hybrids, and if different what advantage does it have?

8 February 2017
si73 wrote:

This seems to get a lot of mention, what voltage do Honda's insight and Toyota hybrids work on as it never seems to get mention with these hybrids, and if different what advantage does it have?

more like 200 volt. The lower the voltage the thinner the insulation you need but the thicker the (expensive) conductors you need, including in the motor winding. 48 being a multiple of 12 suggest VW technology is really to put a golf buggy motor on the back of the engine and 3 extra car batteries in the boot then send it round the emissions test, should just make it far enough for a blinding CO2 rating. Cheating on a whole new level! as long as they remember to 'lose' the boot key in case the inspectors go nosing around the back...

8 February 2017
If the after treatment for diesel costs between 600 - 800 euros, how much does a battery pack, charging electronics, heavy duty cabling, extra dash board graphics design and a couple of electric motors cost? This is more about VW's inability to engineer a solution, rather than concern about the added cost of a relatively poultry £500.

8 February 2017
Cobnapint wrote:

rather than concern about the added cost of a relatively poultry £500.

Problem is that is the cost to the manufacturer, not the customer. They don't pass that on as just £500, in order to make a profit that figure is much larger by the time it reaches market and is not viable at this end of the market.


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