Tag: Diesel Hybrid
Subaru is expected to unveil its first production hybrid at the New York International Auto Show later this month—though it’s still unknown what that vehicle will be. In the meantime, the carmaker took the opportunity at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show to display a hybrid that’s at least a few more years away from making it to dealerships.
The Subaru Viziv concept is a crossover with a unique, low-slung silhouette that falls within the Subaru design vision while a the same time looking nothing like anything the carmaker has ever put on the road. But beneath the vehicle’s futuristic styling and car show concept bells and whistles—witness its upward-opening two-door, four-seat setup—lie technologies that Subaru is likely developing for implementation down the road.
The Viziv is powered by a diesel hybrid powertrain, a mix that has yet to make its way to the United States despite loud calls from diesel fans looking to boost their fuel economy to gasoline hybrid levels. In theory, the pairing makes a lot of sense: clean diesel vehicles tend to be more efficient than their gas-powered counterparts, and with the boost in city fuel economy offered by a hybrid regenerative braking system, diesel hybrids would be poised to be among the most efficient vehicles on the road that don’t plug in.
For the Viziv, Subaru is switching out its familiar all-wheel drive system for a “through the road” hybrid configuration that places a 2.0-liter diesel engine under the hood, which is aided by two electric motors hooked up to the rear wheels. When additional performance is needed, both the engine and motors can run in tandem. When it’s not, the motors can supplant the engine for better fuel economy.
Another feature attached to the Viziv at Geneva was Subaru’s new EyeSight system, which places two cameras behind the front windshield to identify other cars in motion around the vehicle and send signals that allow the car to automatically adjust to changing conditions. Cruise control is made easier by the EyeSight system, thanks to the car’s ability to slow down and keep a preset distance from other vehicles. EyeSight debuted as an option in the Legacy and Outback this year, though Subaru is said to be planning a lineup-wide expansion soon.
Zack McDonald from HybridCars.com contacted us and asked if he could be a guest blogger for LAcarGUY, we were happy to oblige!
Remember the Volkswagen L1 that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in 2009? If not, here’s a brief refresher: The carbon-fiber bodied L1 concept was powered by a 0.8-liter two-cylinder diesel engine that cranked out 27 horsepower. That diesel engine was supplemented by a 10-kW electric motor housed inside the L1’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. With a curb weight of only 838 pounds, Volkswagen claimed the L1 would return upwards of 170 miles per gallon.
Then, in January of 2011, Volkswagen unveiled the third generation of its fuel-sipping concept. The third-gen vehicle differed from its predecessor in several ways, but most notable was its addition of a port, which transformed the concept into a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Called the XL1, Volkswagen’s lightweight concept boasted an electric-only range of 21 miles and measured in at 153-inches long, 66-inches wide and only 45-inches high. Weight shot up to 1,753 pounds, but the output from its diesel engine jumped to 48 horsepower and its electric motor cranked out 20 kW. Volkswagen claimed the XL1 concept could zip from zero to 62 miles per hour in 11.9 seconds and top out at 100 mph.
Most importantly, the XL1 retained its streamlined body and its ultra-efficient hybrid powertrain. At the time, Volkswagen announced the XL1 would return a remarkable 261 mpg—a questionable figure since it’s based on Europe’s lenient fuel economy test cycles. Nevertheless, we’d expect the production version to return approximately 150 mpg in “real world” driving, and word is a production version is coming soon.
According to Automotive News Europe, Volkswagen chief executive officer, Martin Winterkorn, officially confirmed the 2013 launch of the two-seat XL1. ANE quoted Winterkorn, “We will start small series production by 2013—in Germany.”
That most likely equates to VW whipping out 100 or so production versions of the XL1 and selling them to the general public over in Germany. So, more of a field trial than a full-scale production vehicle, but hopefully VW brass will decide to eventually give the XL1 plug-in hybrid the mass production green light.