Thursday, May 24, 2007

Volkswagen now plans to hybridize every model

It seems Martin Winterkorn is now taking back his initial statements regarding the place of hybrid technology in Volkswagen's future and is now confirming that Volkswagen is planning on offering a hybrid version for every model, a project that should begin in two years' time.

The article in Germany's Auto Bild newspaper, which conducted the interview with the Volkswagen chief, stated that although no decision has been made on what electric components will be used for which model, the plan is to have both a micro-hybrid system that uses brake regeneration to charge the batteries and a full hybrid solution. According to Winterkorn, Volkswagen is currently working on a small hybrid that can be launched into the market "fairly quickly".

What caused Winterkorn's sudden change of heart? Only five months ago, Winterkorn had dismissed hybrid technology to be too costly for the consumer and, therefore, not worth the investment. Five months later, he's making official statements that every Volkswagen model will have a hybrid version. It may have something to do with Porsche. Porsche executive Bernd Harling has recently said in an interview that "Volkswagen is the key" in making hybrid technology possible for Porsche. Porsche's new-found interest in hybrid technology combined with a controlling stake in Volkswagen means that Volkswagen will be in the hybrid game, whether they like it or not. This may also be another plan of Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking to help Volkswagen attack Toyota efficiency.

Source: Monster and Critics

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