VW is getting ready to launch a clever new coasting system that will allow its cars to roll along at highway speeds with the engine shut off to significantly boost fuel economy.
Called Coasting 2.0, the technology is essentially a form of mild hybrid powertrain – i.e., there’s a lithium-ion battery helping out the traditional internal combustion engine – but one where the battery just keeps the car’s electronics going, ensures the brakes and traction control systems work and stops the steering from locking up — when the engine isn’t turning over.
Among the hypermiling fraternity, engine-off coasting is a very popular way of making every last drop of fuel go as far as possible. However, even when following in the slipstream of a semi-trailer or truck, the practice can be extremely dangerous. No engine means no engine or compression braking, no acceleration if evasive action is needed, and, with the ignition off, the traditional lead-oxide battery could soon run flat trying to keep the car’s electronic brain ticking over.
Hybrids are not new technology, but a system that can run on less than 48 volts is very cutting-edge. “The new ‘Coasting – Engine off’ micro hybrid system represents a low-cost level of electric-powered motoring on a 12-volt basis,” said Friedrich Eichler, Head of Volkswagen Powertrain Development.
The system will roll out in the VW Golf TSI BlueMotion this summer and will let drivers coast with the engine off at speeds of up to 130km/h simply by lifting their foot from the accelerator. Hitting the pedal again will automatically re-start the motor. VW says this simple system cut fuel consumption by 0.4l/100km in real-word use.
The new model will join a full plug-in hybrid version of the Golf plus the newly unveiled plug-in electric eGolf. “Partially and fully electric drive systems form a key pillar of our drive system strategy,” said Eichler. “Our range of technology, especially that available for the Golf, now covers all customer preferences.” – AFP Relaxnews