Volkswagens of the near future: 10-speed transmissions and plug-in hybrids

VW XL1

Although Volkswagen seemed to resist the hybrid movement at first, it has finally come around. Can you really blame it for its reluctance? After all, it’s staked its reputation on clean diesel TDI technology.

Speaking recently at the Vienna Motor Symposium, Volkswagen chairman Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn indicated that German brand is eager to pursue 10-speed dual-clutch transmissions, plug-in hybrid models, and perhaps even natural gas options.

At the heart of his speech, Winterkorn stated VW’s intention “to bring the carbon dioxide emissions of its European fleet down to as low as 95 g/km by 2020,” according to a Green Car Reports report.

The first vehicles under the VW family of brands to follow this objective will be the Audi e-tron and the Porsche Panamer plug-in hybrid. After that, the VW Golf, Passat, Audi A6, and the Porsche Cayenne will follow suit.

Future VW plug-ins will achieve a 30-mile range on its initial charge and will utilize electric turbochargers, 10-speed DSG transmissions, and other cutting-edge technology to further diminish emissions.

If Audi’s R18 e-tron racecars are any indication, VW would love to see plug-in diesel hybrids take hold as the global powertrain technology. The cost of both diesel and plug-in hybrid components must drop significantly before that goal can be achieved. Right now, each technology adds a $3,000 premium to the price tag over that of a conventional gasoline-powered car. Combining the two, presently, would price the vehicles out of the market.

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