Volkswagen CrossBlue SUV concept

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Volkswagen CrossBlue

The Volkswagen CrossBlue diesel-electric plug-in hybrid SUV concept is capable of 134.5 mpg, whilst offering 700 Nm torque.

The six-seat SUV concept, designed specifically for North America, will also have an all-electric range of 20 miles, 306 PS, and a 0 to 60 mph time of 7.0 seconds.

The CrossBlue features a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a TDI engine with two electric motors, a DSG transmission, and an electric all-wheel-drive system dubbed ‘propshaft by wire’, and offers economy of 134.5 mpg (Volkswagen’s manufacturer estimated fuel economy rating in US gallons is 89 mpg combined in electric mode and 35 mpg as a hybrid).

The CrossBlue’s top speed is 127 mph, or 75 mph in electric mode; it can run in zero emissions mode at the press of a button or automatically. With a fully charged battery, the CrossBlue can travel up to 14 miles in electric mode in the US test cycle, or 20 miles using the European driving cycle. It has a potential range of 661 miles from a combination of the 70-litre fuel tank and battery power.

The CrossBlue is based on Volkswagen’s new Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) components set. Its 190 PS TDI diesel engine is matched to a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. The 9.8 kWh lithium-ion battery lies in the vehicle’s centre tunnel, and powers 40 kW front and 85 kW rear electric motors. The Cross Coupé concept first shown in 2011 uses a similar powertrain concept, showing the possibilities of the MQB platform.

The TDI engine produces 400 Nm from just 1,750 rpm, while the electric motors produce their torque – 180 Nm at the front and 270 Nm at the rear – immediately. Combined, the system can produce up to 700 Nm.

Powered by its battery, the CrossBlue can cover up to 20 miles (NEDC) or 14 miles (US test cycle) as an EV. In E-mode, only the rear electric motor propels the vehicle and the TDI engine is shut off and decoupled. At up to 75 mph, the engine is not engaged as long as the battery has sufficient charge. As soon as there is a need for TDI power, it is coupled to the drivetrain again, within fractions of a second. The battery can be charged by external power sources or by the engine while the vehicle is moving.

The driver can switch to a charging mode by pressing another button on the centre console. The TDI engine charges the battery while driving to store enough electrical energy for EV operation later in the journey, for instance in an urban area.

There are also a number of other modes:

Coasting

When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the engine and electric motors are decoupled from the drivetrain, provided there is sufficient battery charge.

Battery regeneration

When the accelerator is released or the brakes applied, the electric motors act as generators and feed energy recovered from the brakes into the battery. In this case, the TDI is also shut off and decoupled from the drivetrain.

Boosting

When more performance is required, the electric motors form an alliance with the TDI engine known as ‘boosting’. In this mode, all four wheels are driven.

Off-road (‘propshaft by wire’)

All four wheels are driven. In this case the front electric motor (supplied with energy by the TDI engine) operates as a generator and a power source for the electric motor at the rear.

TDI only

In this mode, the CrossBlue is a pure front-wheel-drive vehicle.

The CrossBlue has been developed specifically for the U.S. and Canada, and if it goes into production would sit above the Tiguan and below the Touareg in the Volkswagen SUV line-up.