Friday, August 13, 2010

Will Volkswagen Offer A Hybrid Beetle? Kansas Students Aren't Waiting

By Larry E. Hall

VW Bug Ragster

Will the next New Beetle that debuts at January�"s Detroit auto show take design cues from this 2005 Ragster Concept? And, will Volkswagen announce the arrival of a Hybrid Beetle?

Three weeks ago we attended a press conference at Volkswagen�"s Electronics Research Lab in Palo Alto, Calif., where VW chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn presented the automaker�"s plan for hybrid and electric vehicles. I checked my notes and there was no mention of an upcoming Beetle hybrid but Britain�"s is reporting that their sources have confirmed a hybrid model is planned for the new �SPeoples Car,⬝ which is scheduled for next year.

When it debuts next January at Detroit�"s North American International Auto Show�will it be named the New, New Beetle?�Autocar says it will have a �Sradical design,⬝ that is a completely fresh, modern take on the classic �SPeople�"s Car.⬝ Several industry pundits have already tagged the 2005 Ragster Concept as the guide for the car�"s new styling. If that�"s so, it isn�"t a radical design when compared to the current model. In fact, the Ragster is not much more than a George Barris chop job from the 1950s.

Regardless of the Beetle�"s new exterior design, it won�"t be a difficult task to incorporate a hybrid system. It is fashioned from the new 2011 Jetta platform, and the hybrid version of that car arrives in 2012. That would seem to validate Autocar�"s report that the hybrid Beetle will be equipped with VW�"s twincharger TSI in-line four cylinder, which incorporates both a supercharger and a turbocharger. The TSI engine will make its first U.S. appearance in the Jetta Hybrid, according to Dr. Winterkorn. And, if it duplicates the Jetta, it will be a full-hybrid system, enabling the car to be powered by the electric motor(s) only, the gasoline engine only or both.

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