Volkswagen's First Hybrid: The Touareg

BY Burnpavement

The company's first hybrid car shows lots of promise!

At the heart of this new SUV lies two beating hearts. One is a 333 hp, 3.0 litre supercharged TSI V6 with a 47 hp electric motor, for a combined output of 380 hp and a maximum torque of 580 Nm. Driven carefully, it will return a fuel consumption figure of just 8.2 litres/100 kilometres. To boot, the Touareg Hybrid can also be driven up to 50 km/h silently in full-electric mode.

Both power plants are mated to an eight speed automatic transmission that is designed for towing and offroad use. The Touareg Hybrid reaches a top speed of 240 km/h and accelerates to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds. A 1.7-kWh nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack now sits in the spare tyre well and packs enough energy to drive the Touareg up to two kilometres. The battery is kept at an optimum operating temperature with two fans and a duct that leads to the interior ventilation system.

Unlike most hybrids we know today, Volkswagen has placed the clutch between the engine and transmission. This allows the engine to be shut off the moment it detects that the car is coasting, even at speeds up to 160 km/h. This design is to allow the Touareg to “roll” significantly longer with reduced torque loss. Other energy-hoarding features in place are the regenerative braking as well as engine stop-start systems.

Without any power from the engine, the Touareg relies on an electro-hydraulic power steering which supplies the necessary hydraulic pressure with an electric pump. An auxiliary electric vacuum pump that is used during electric driving guarantees that the vacuum supply required by the brake booster is maintained. In addition, an electric air conditioning compressor in the Touareg Hybrid assures that interior temperatures will be kept in check even when the V6 engine is shut off.