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VW Introduces its New BUDD-e

High-tech electric minivan and advanced e-Golf take center stage at CES.

by on Jan.06, 2016

Volkswagen officials show off the maker's new battery electric minivan concept, BUDD-e, at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016.

We all can use a friend, sometimes more than others. And so, during the current diesel emissions crisis, it’s perhaps all the more significant that Volkswagen has come up with a new BUDD-e.

That’s the name of a connected, battery-powered minivan, one of two high-tech concept vehicles that the German automaker unveiled during a long and splashy news conference at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show.

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One of two electric vehicles it unveiled, the Volkswagen BUDD-e offers an intriguing look at the way the auto industry is chasing the concept of mobility, going far beyond the simple concept of building vehicles that can get you from Point A to Point B safely. Among other things, this reimagining of the classic VW Microbus would allow a driver to control home automation functions with a gesture or verbal command. (more…)

VW Cross Blue Decision on Hold

Maker introduces German apprentice concept to Tennessee.

by on Aug.14, 2013

VW needs a home for the Cross Blue Concept and Tennessee has been considered the most likely production source.

A decision on whether to build a new midsized crossover vehicle at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee may not come until early next year now.

Various company sources caution that the German maker is looking at a variety of options for a production version of the Cross Blue concept, as well as for its plants in both Tennessee and in Mexico. But bringing Cross Blue to the U.S. is considered a leading alternative as it would both increase utilization of the sprawling factory complex and give ready access to what is likely to be the crossover’s largest market.

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Frank Fischer, president and chief executive officer of the Volkswagen manufacturing facility in Chattanooga says he is hoping a decision on the long-delayed plans for Cross Blue will be made soon. But it likely won’t come until late this year or even the first quarter of 2014, he said.

Volkswagen is now fine-tuning the business case for the vehicle, which requires rigorous cost analysis as well as cooperation from marketing, engineering and purchasing.


VW Weighing Options for Two Cross Blue Concepts

Cross Blue and Cross Blue Coupe could target US, China.

by on Jun.20, 2013

One of two midsize crossover concepts, the VW Cross Blue Coupe features a plug-in drivetrain.

Hoping to boost its appeal in the expanding crossover market, Volkswagen is weighing the opportunity of putting its two Cross Blue concept vehicles into production in both the U.S. and China, and possibly other markets around the world.

The two well-received show cars could serve to launch a new plug-in hybrid drivetrain, VW officials noted during a discussion in Berlin this week.

Plans are already underway to bring at least one of the crossovers to market, the original Cross Blue midsize crossover that would slip into a niche between the existing, high-end Volkswagen Touareg and the smaller, two-row VW Tiguan. It is likely to go into production at the maker’s new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee soon after the update of the current Tiguan model in 2015.

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The question now being discussed by VW’s senior management is whether to also bring to market a version of the smaller Cross Blue Coupe that was unveiled in concept form earlier in the year. Sales opportunities are now being weighed, according to Dzemal Sjenar, the chief engineer on the project.


VW Tops 250 MPG With XL1 Concept

Who cares about fuel prices.

by on Jan.27, 2011

Using lightweight materials, slick aerodynamics and a diesel-hybrid, VW's XL1 achieves 250 mpg.

You could dole fuel out with an eyedropper and ignore the latest pump prices were the Volkswagen XL1 sitting in your driveway.  The newest VW concept vehicle claims a fuel economy of a seemingly impossible 250 miles per gallon.

Unveiled at this week’s Qatar Motor Show, the prototype uses a variety of techniques to reduce weight and minimize wind resistance, while turning to a plug-in diesel-hybrid powertrain to squeeze out every last bit of energy.

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Among the various steps taken to improve aerodynamics are a closed front end, extensive underbody covers, closed wheels and pin-sized cameras that replace conventional sideview mirrors.  The VW XL1 yields a drag coefficient of just 0.19, compared to 0.25 for the relatively slick Toyota Prius.

There’s less than 400 pounds of steel or iron on the XL1.  The chassis is a monocoque made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, or CFRP, a material normally found on extremely low-volume supercars, such as the Lamborghini Sesto.  That and other lightweight materials, such as aluminum and magnesium, and the ceramics of the prototypes brakes, and VW has been able to hold the mass of the XL1 down to just 1,749 pounds.