America is a melting pot, people come to this country from all over the world for kinds of different reasons, and here at LAcarGUY, we are a microcosm of that. We have a great diversity of people that we are proud to call employees here at LAcarGUY.
As part of a new feature we want to highlight some of the great people who work here, and help you, be it as a sales person, a service technician or someone in the back office. The first person we are going to feature is Gorkem Gercek, one of the Product Specialist at Pacific Volkswagen.
Gorkem was born in and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, on the European side. Istanbul is a unique city in a number of different ways, one of them is it is a city that is on two continents, both European continent and the Asian continent separated by the Bosphorus Straights, one of the busies sea lanes in the world.
Gorkem was born into a Volkswagen family, it’s all his family has every owned! So, it should come as no surprise that his first car was a Beetle, and then after that, he owned five Polo’s before coming to America for college in 2007.
When you are born into a Volkswagen family, and are a Volkswagen enthusiast, and you have to write your thesis for your M.B.A., what’s your subject? “How Volkswagen Can Better Cater To The U.S. Market”!
It’s interesting that many of the points in Gorkem’s thesis, more affordable, better distribution, focus on value, are many of the items VW, has move towards in the last few years. While he was at National University here getting his M.B.A. what car did he buy? Why a Volkswagen of course! It’s a 1998 Wolfsburg Edition Jetta, and it’s daily driver still.
We asked Gorkem what makes you stand out at Pacific Volkswagen. He said that everyone comes to him with questions about Volkswagen’s because he knows the products and the brands worldwide. A great example was recently one of his colleagues at Pacific Volkswagen came to him and asked if VW make pickup’s because he saw a a pickup with VW badging over the weekend. Gorkem was able to show him pictures of the Amarok, which is sold in Mexico and throughout Asia.
We asked Gorkem is there was a car in Volkswagen’s world lineup that he’d like to see sold in America that is not, and he said without a doubt it’s the Polo. He feel’s it’s a great car for what young people are asking for. A small, really affordable car ($15,000-$16,000) that also is safe and gets great fuel economy. He points out that the BlueMotion TDI Clean Diesel gets over 70MPG!
We are proud to have Gorkem on our team at Pacific Volkswagen, and if you have any questions about VW’s world wide, he’s your man. The next time you stop in, make sure you say hello.
by Zach McDonald: HybridCars.com
According to a recent report by What Car, Audi has plans to release a small plug-in hybrid boasting fuel efficiency in the neighborhood of 1 liter per 100 km—or roughly 235 mpg. Audi’s head of research and development, Wolfgang Durheimer, told What Car that although the car hasn’t yet been confirmed for production, it’s one of several new plans for high-efficiency vehicles he has been trying to institute since taking over his post in September.
The vehicle would be built around the carmaker’s A1 platform, but would likely be fine-tuned for optimal aerodynamics and outfitted with ultra-lightweight materials. The conceptual and technological underpinnings of the car are based around parent company Volkswagen’s “one-liter” program, which has been experimenting with vehicles capable of hitting the vaunted efficiency mark for more than a decade.
Confirmed for release in Europe for 2014, the Volkswagen XL1 will be the first “one-liter” production vehicle ever sold. A prototype of the two-seat XL1 was photographed testing in March sporting a set of gullwing doors. The car draws its power from a two-cylinder turbo-diesel engine paired with a 27-hp motor attached to a small lithium ion battery pack. The car will be tuned to switch between electric and gas-electric modes depending upon use to ensure maximum efficiency. Audi’s version of the vehicle would likely carry a very similar configuration.
Despite the range of measures geared at optimizing efficiency, Audi’s attempt at a one-liter would remain true to the carmaker’s luxury standards. “I’m not talking about a car with a lot of deficiencies and things lacking, but a car that delivers everything that a car needs to deliver to the customer, in terms of seat space, climate conditions and comfort,” said Durheimer to What Car.
It’s still not known how much the VW XL1 will cost when it hits the market next year, but given the cost of high strength, light-weight materials, it figures to be very expensive for a two-seat car. An Audi version of the vehicle would likely add a significant luxury premium to whatever the XL1 costs. Neither car would be expected to post earth-shattering sales numbers, and at this point it’s a relative long shot that either are headed to the U.S. market.
Still, Volkswagen and Audi are further demonstrating their commitment to high-efficiency vehicles through a wide range of drivetrain configurations headed to different markets around the world. After establishing a reputation for clean diesel TDI vehicles in the 2000s, both Volkswagen and Audi have lagged somewhat in releasing battery powered hybrids or plug-ins. Now, with multiple plug-in concepts headed to market and in test fleets, it’s beginning to look like the Volkswagen Group’s answer to fuel economy will be “all of the above.”
by Zach McDonald: Hybridcars.com
At the 2012 Paris Motor Show last week, Volkswagen unveiled the seventh generation of its best-selling model, the Golf hatchback. The Golf MkVII is scheduled to hit the market for 2014, offering fuel economy improvements of 18 percent in its basic model and 15 percent in the high-efficiency Golf BlueMotion diesel over its predecessor.
Volkswagen did a total redesign for the generation seven, trimming the car down by about 220 pounds thanks to the light-weighting of numerous components ranging from the seats to the air-conditioner, and increased use of high-strength steel. Fuel economy estimates reflect the European test cycle, but if an 18-percent improvement holds true for the United States edition of the car, the new Golf could manage a combined efficiency of near 40 mpg without the use of hybrid battery system. The MkVII will also grow 2 inches longer and a half-inch wider, while shrinking in height by almost an inch, improving aerodynamics.
The Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion model that debuted at the show this week is the third generation to make its way off of the sketchpad. In 2009, VW unveiled a version of the car built on the MkVI Golf platform that was capable of 62. With the unveiling of the new MkVII platform, the concept was updated to include a variety of efficiency upgrades that will boost overall economy to 73.5 mpg. (Since the BlueMotion is only sold in Europe, both of these numbers are representative of the European test cycle, which is significantly more forgiving than the EPA’s test.)
The BlueMotion combines a clean diesel engine with stop-start and regenerative breaking, and is effectively a diesel hybrid. Diesel hybrids are considered by some to be the most powerful fuel-saving technology outside of plug-in electric vehicles, but have yet to be made available for the American market. Unfortunately for us, Volkswagen said in Paris that it has no plans to bring the latest BlueMotion to the U.S. either.
Motor Trend and EFI West partner to transform the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid to create the world’s fastest production hybrid vehicle. The guys debut the car at the legendary Bonneville Speed Week hoping to set a landspeed record.
Watch as the team takes the car apart to put in place the necessary safety equipment and perform the modifications needed to achieve the speed required.
Just days ago, Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced its 15-stop Think Blue® Tour which will feature an interactive mobile display and activity center that was created to educate the public about ecological sustainability and fuel-efficient technologies. The tour will travel throughout the U.S. from April through to December 2012 at locations that best represent different aspects of the Volkswagen Think Blue philosophy. These include major environmental summits and public policy conferences to cycling competitions and outdoor music festivals.
“This tour is a great way to demonstrate our Think Blue philosophy, which is at the heart of the Volkswagen brand,” said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “We are incredibly excited to offer consumers a unique experience that not only showcases Volkswagen’s fuel-efficient product range and manufacturing, but also engages them in fun games and activities that reinforce individual action and eco-friendly behavior.”
Volkswagen will be practicing what it preaches as the tour will be driven by a high-efficiency cab and 53-foot trailer. At each stop, Volkswagen will display a range of fuel-efficient vehicles, including the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid, E-Golf prototype, and the Passat TDI® Clean Diesel.
Volkswagen product and technology specialists will be on hand at each event to guide visitors through the exhibit and be available to the public to discuss the wide range of current and future fuel-efficient powertrain options, as well as the Think Blue initiatives by Volkswagen and its partners. They will also share information regarding the fuel-efficient processes and technologies at work in Volkswagen’s Platinum LEED® Certified manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Visitors will have the chance to get involved by entering contests and participating in games and other activities that reward sustainable behavior. There will be interactive exhibits that range from a Think Blue info kiosk to a pedal-powered smoothie blender and prizes include take home giveaways.
The current tour schedule spans more than 12 cities in ten states from coast to coast, with additional stops likely to be added in the coming weeks. The first three tour events will take place in the West Coast in April-May, including:
April 19-22, Monterey, CA – Sea Otter Classic Bike Race
April 29, Denver, CO – Cherry Creek Sneak (Running Race)
May 6-9, Los Angeles, CA – Electric Vehicle Symposium
Committed to changing an “environmentally-challenged” industry and protecting future generations, LAcarGUY is active in local environmental programs and initiatives. Just recently, Mike Sullivan’s Volkswagen Santa Monica completed a lighting retrofit in the service bays, parts department and business offices. The job included taking out the CFL’s (compact fluorescent lightbulbs) and replacing them with LED (light emitting diodes bulbs). One of the main advantages of LED lights is the simple fact that they last much longer. The average lifespan of an LED lightbulb is around 11 years. The other main advantage is that they are much more energy efficient.
The retrofit reduced the energy usage from 245,875 annual kWh to 82,781 annual kWh. The annual energy cost was reduced from $36k to $12k. A total savings of 67%!
In addition to our energy savings, we reduced our carbon footprint even further by using E-Cycle Environmental to recycle 80 lbs of wood, 656 lbs cardboard and over 500 fluorescent tubes and lighting fixtures. Our landfill diversion was 100%.
Mike Sullivan’s Volkswagen Santa Monica opened in 1964 and continues today one of the nations leading VW dealerships.
By Laurent J. Masson
To some onlookers, the Volkswagen E-Bugster concept unveiled at the North American International Auto Show was a disappointment. As we say in French, this E-Bugster is déjà vu. We’ve seen it before. Really. Seven years ago, exactly at the same place, Volkswagen unveiled the Ragster concept, which looked pretty much the same. After so much time, you might assume this E-Bugster is a production model, but it isn’t. It’s another concept.
So how is the E-Bugster any different from the dozens of other never-to-be-made concepts you see at motor shows? First of all, it is a functioning automobile. In addition, it has something you don’t find in one-off prototypes—use of a standardized drivetrain, which actually pretty big deal.
Sharing Is Caring
The Volkswagen group sold a record 8.16 million vehicles to its customers in 2011. Record profits are on the way, thanks in no small part to the use of shared platforms and engines. It’s less common in America, but in Europe, the Skoda and Seat brands sell cars with a Czech or a Spanish flavor (respectively), that are 100 percent Volkswagen cars underneath.
How does this relate to EVs? Barely two months ago, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Audi unveiled an electric A3 e-tron concept. It had the same motor found in this E-Bugster—which is also the one we saw the year before, when Volkswagen introduced an electric Golf called Blue-e-Motion. Eighty of them are currently undergoing a test in Berlin, and preliminary results have reportedly been very positive.
Without much fanfare, Volkswagen has been hard at work on electric mobility, making it better in every aspect, and they’re already getting results. Power from the motor is 85 kW (115 hp), the same as it was the Golf Blue-e-Motion, but the motor has been made lighter. Its weight is down to 80 kg (176 lbs).
The battery pack has more capacity. It was 26.5 kWh in the Golf, and now that’s up to 28.3 kWh. Volkswagen says that it enables a range of at least 110 miles. It’s unknown what cells Volkswagen is using—it tested cells from numerous manufacturers—but it’s unlikely that they will be small cells like Tesla uses.
The E-Bugster also shows a huge improvement on the charging side. Thanks to a new Combined Charging Systems (CCS), which was developed in cooperation with all the other German carmakers, as well as Ford and GM, the car can be charged via a unique interface, with different currents.
The E-Bugster uses the same plug connector to charge from a standard American 110-Volt wall outlet, and up to an ultra-fast 50 kW DC current at electric charge stations. That’s way beyond the simple standardization of the plug connector. Volkswagen’s plan is to outdo the other car manufacturers that have designed their cars with several charging systems. The idea here is to have one smart charge controller, and a versatile unique electrical architecture to make the most of the current available, wherever the driver plugs in.
At best, the 28.3 kWh battery in this E-Bugster can be charged in 35 minutes. Volkswagen will invest what it takes to make this impressive feat a reality in all of its electric vehicles. Electric cars using the Blue-e-Motion electric powertrain will go into production in cars like the Golf as soon as next year, with others likely to follow.
Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant has been awarded platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification program. This makes VW the first automaker to reach the notoriously difficult, highest level of LEED certification.
To earn LEED certification, the project must satisfy all prerequisites and qualify for a minimum number of points to attain the established ratings. Once the basic prerequisites of the program are satisfied, applicant projects are then rated according to their degree of compliance within the rating system. The Green Building Council rates structures based on their environmental impact and other criteria such as energy and water consumption, use of raw materials, and recycling rates. Certifications are awarded according to the following scale:
Certified: 40-49 points
Silver: 50-59 points
Gold: 60-79 points
Platinum: 80 points and above
The new 1,400-acre facility where the U.S. Passat is built has been fitted with sophisticated technology as well as simple measures to conserve energy and water. These include using rainwater collected on the roof to cool welding equipment and flush toilets, constructing an ultra-clean paint shop, which is estimated to save 50 million gallons of water over 10 years, and installing LED lighting that uses two-thirds less energy.
“Volkswagen is committed to the US market,” said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “During the worst recession in the past century, we never wavered with our investment of a billion dollars to create this world-class facility. This certification underscores Volkswagen’s commitment to engineering excellence.”
The Volkswagen Academy was also certified by the USGBC as a Platinum LEED facility. The primary purpose of the Volkswagen Academy is to prepare new employees for work at the new plant. In conjunction with Chattanooga State and Tennessee Tech, the Academy also offers an Industrial Technology degree and an apprenticeship program. “We are very pleased that the Volkswagen Academy has been Platinum LEED Certified because this reflects the level of excellence that we expect and produce in the academy,” said Hans-Herbert Jagla, EVP of Human Resources.
The Volkswagen Chattanooga plant produces the all-new 2012 Passat, which has recently been named Motor Trend magazine’s 2012 Car of the Year, as well as having earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick rating, the highest possible from the non-profit safety research organization. The Passat TDI – the
The Fun Theory (thefuntheory.com) is about changing human behavior for the better by making it fun to do. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.
Although Volkswagen’s contest is over, we wanted to share the various fun and clever ideas that were submitted by people from all over the world. If this sparks any ides, do share them with us. Let’s see if we can do something about them.
The Play Belt
The Bottle Bank Arcade Machine
The Speed Camera Lottery
The World’s Deepest Bin
By Alysha Webb
Volkswagen will use the same battery module design for all its electric vehicles globally across all its brands according to Dr. Tobias Giebel, head of the Volkswagen Research Lab in Shanghai. Those battery modules and the battery cells in them are likely to be sourced from China, he said.
“You have to be focused beyond the cell level. That is the only way, said Giebel at the EV Battery Forum Asia 2011 in Shanghai. The Forum took place on November 7 – 9, 2011.
Volkswagens Giebel was optimistic about Chinese battery makers’ capacity to one day build low-cost, high-quality vehicle batteries. In an interview with PluginCars.com, Giebel said Volkswagen is working with local battery manufacturers in China to produce a product that meets Volkswagens global standards. We believe the future of battery cell sourcing is in China, he said. Today, Chinas lithium-ion battery makers are focused on consumer technology, said Giebel. Its automotive-grade batteries are not up to the high-level vehicle traction battery manufacturers in Korea or Japan, he said.
But Volkswagen is working closely with about 20 of Chinas more than 100 battery producers, and is already seeing improvement. We think in a couple of years we will have really strong suppliers in fully domestic companies, said Giebel. When they are, Volkswagen will use the same source for its Asia, Europe, and the United States operations, he said.
That could mean a significant amount of business because Volkswagen will use a standard module for all electric vehicles across all its brands. That means all hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, and fuel cell vehicles produced under the Volkswagen Groups 10 nameplates, which include Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Seat, Bentley, Porsche, Scania, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen commercial vehicles.
“The module shape and number of cells will be the same, said Giebel. The module is not part of any international norm. It is a company internal standard. Inside the module, Volkswagen might adapt the connection between the cells to vary the number of parallel and serial cells, said Giebel. The module is a company internal standard, he added.
Volkswagens current parallel hybrid models, including the Touareg SUV, have a different technology, but the company will use the standard module concept first on battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric models, said Giebel. The extension to parallel hybrid (HEV) will be decided later, he said.