With the latest Golf models and upcoming I.D.,it’s Volkswagen’s intention to democratize the electrification of mobility.
By Christoph Hammerschmidt, Contributing Editor
With the electrification of the Golf class as the largest volume segment, Volkswagen is setting the course for sustainability and energy efficiency. The introduction of new hybrid systems in the eighth Golf generation marks the start of a new era for the brand. In further steps, almost the entire model range will be electrified step by step. The carmaker provided an outlook on future electrified drive systems at the recent Vienna Engine Symposium, one of the world’s most important congresses on automotive technology for the present and the future.
Volkswagen combines the combustion engine with a 48V belt starter generator and a 48V battery. This alliance is the entry into the world of Volkswagen hybrid models. The 48V mild hybrid makes it possible to coast with the combustion engine switched off and thus save up to 0.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. In addition, this mild hybrid offers a significant increase in dynamics and comfort due to the electric boost during starting.
48V technology opens up a new chapter in engine design, as it allows the drive to be electrified at low cost. The 48V system is used in addition to the familiar 12V system in the car. With very small cable cross-sections and thus low weight of the cable set, it enables a significantly higher amount of energy to be stored than with a 12 V system, e.g. when braking via recuperation. Among other things, this comparatively high voltage can be used to drive the 48V belt starter generator.
The starter generator takes on the role of alternator and starter at the same time. At the same time, it functions as a small, lightweight electric motor that immediately increases the drive torque when starting up via boosting. The power of the generator is transmitted by a belt. It also starts the combustion engine that is switched off as often as possible while driving. Another all-rounder is the 48V lithium-ion battery. Among other things, it is supplied with energy by recuperation—i.e., when the vehicle is decelerating. The battery supplies the starter generator and—by means of a DC/DC converter—also the 12V mains with the necessary voltage.
The cooperation of the various energy sources—electricity, petrol, diesel and natural gas—is to initiate a paradigm shift at Volkswagen. The new product strategy will become visible for the first time from 2019 with the debut of the next Golf generation and the first I.D. —two compact Volkswagen with technically independent concepts. It is Volkswagen’s intention to democratize the electrification of mobility with these two model series.
This article was originally published in eeNews Automotive. It is reprinted here with permission.