ChasChas, it may be confusing, but remember an internal combustion engine has an efficiency close to 12%, an electric motor is over 90% so it can only be an improvement over what has bee a standard since the model "T". Cars are transportation appliances, it's time engineers started a complete redesign of them.
The new hybrids and electric technologies have to be supported by the design community as vital first steps on the path to some future vehicle that we can't imagine right now. Batteries, controls, tires, materials, all of these things will improve if companies decide to leave the past behind. Just doubleing the efficiency of current cars to a meager 24% would be a huge improvement.
Yes, it is bureaucratic confusion, ChasChas, largely because there is no single standard. And it gets worse. It's worth noting that my previous explanation was for the all-electric mode of the vehicle, which is simpler to calculate. When you get into plug-in hybrid calculations, there can be an infinite number of fuel efficiency ratings, depending on how you drive the car. A driver who drives 10 miles to work every day, ten miles back and then recharges at night, will have one number. A driver who exhausts the 32-mile range of the battery and drives the next 200 miles on diesel fuel will get another figure entirely.
In answer to your question, laser_scientist, the vehicle would not have to stop to recharge in the European Commission methodology. It would travel until it exhausts its battery charge (approximately 32 miles). Then it would travel the remainder of the 62-mile distance by burning the diesel fuel in the hybrid powertrain. Then they calculate its fuel efficiency.
Rob, I don't think the $130K figure is a viable one, but it comes from a New York Daily News article (link below). I've also seen where industry analysts have predicted the price will come in between $40K and $70K, which sounds like a better guess to me, albeit still a guess. Volkswagen has not announced a price.
Looks like a very nice concept car that could hit the road. One concern I have though: what will a polycarbonate windsheeld look like after a few years of dust/rain/snow and a few wiper sweeps ? Will it look like the polycarbonate headlights that have to be polished regularly if you don't want them to be foggy ? It will also be interesting to see how it performs at the IIHS impact test.
That said, VW makes great cars, and this one should be notting but great !
First, let me warn you, ChasChas, converting to MPG-e is not an exact science. But here's an off-the-cuff response to your question. The easiest method I know of is to divide kWh/gallon of gasoline by kWh/mile. The question becomes: What's a viable number for kWh per gallon of gasoline? Nissan and GM originally used the ready-made figure of 82 kWh/gal, which was absurdly high and accounted for the ridiculous figures that were orginally publicized for the Volt (230 mpg-e) and Leaf (367 mpg-e) in 2009. The EPA later came in and said, "No, it should be 33 kWh/gallon of gasoline," (see what I mean about it not being an exact science?). So let's use 33. And let's use the 6 miles/kWh mentioned for the new Volkswagen mentioned in the story. In that case, you'd divide 33 kWh/gallon by 0.167 kWh/mile (that's the inverse of the number I mentioned in the story), and you'd get 197 MPG-e.
This is a cool vehicle. It is really a focused high performance vehicle rather than a broadly practical car. It just happens that the high performance focus of this car is efficiency. No one needs a high performance vehicle-we get them because they give us pleasure and can provide status gratification if that is important. And we pay a premium for the pleasures.
I think this could work for VW, as long as they don't delude themselves that it is mainstream, and the profitable price does not exceed the value of the pleasure and status derived the buisness case could fly. And, as with any high performance vehilce, the lessons learned can be legitimized in the public mind and applied more broadly to other mainstream products.
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