Thursday, September 08, 2005

Volkswagen Gets in the Hybrid Game

Text from Expatica.
WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - In a week dominated by new ventures to create fuel-saving hybrid engines, Volkswagen signed an agreement Thursday to develop its own version mainly in Shanghai in cooperation with Chinese partner SAIC.

The car would come to market in time for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, the Wolfsburg-based auto manufacturer said.

The new power train will initially be built into a Shanghai-built Touran, a van version of VW's mass-market Golf.

Hybrids combine a petrol engine with battery-driven electric motors. Hybrids save fuel mainly because the engine needs a smaller power reserve and can run more efficiently at constant revolutions.

VW's Wolfsburg research centre, SAIC in Shanghai and the city's Tongji University will all be involved in the project. The memorandum of understanding was signed in Wolfsburg.

On Wednesday, BMW announced it was joining a consortium with DaimlerChrysler and General Motors to develop hybrids in Troy, Michigan. Earlier, two major German suppliers, Continental and ZF Friedrichshafen, said they would jointly develop a hybrid engine.

High oil prices improve the chances of hybrids coming into wide use, a study Thursday by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said. It predicted there would be 74 hybrid models worldwide by 2010.

The best-selling current hybrid, the Toyota Prius, has been held back by the fact that the price premium is not repaid by the fuel savings.

Text from Reuters.
FRANKFURT, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Volkswagen will work without partners to develop its own hybrid engine technology for the U.S. and European markets, Europe's biggest carmaker said on Thursday.

A new project with its Chinese joint venture partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC) will develop hybrid technology solely for the Chinese market, a VW spokesman said.


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