First the Jetta Hybrid, which pairs a 1 kWh (yes, one) battery pack with a 27 horsepower electric motor. A 1.4 liter gasoline turbo engine provides 150 horsepower and 184 ft-lbs of torque is backed by a 7-speed automatic transmission, and when paired with the electric motor offers up to 170 combined horsepower, and a class-leading 0-60 mph time of 9-seconds flat.
This all translates to a combined fuel economy of around 45 mpg (though the EPA still has to give the Jetta Hybrid its blessing) that beats out even the Jetta diesel. The electric motor can power the Jetta up to 44 mph in E-Mode, for a maximum range of 1.2 miles. That’s not too shabby, but also not earth-shattering either. Time to move on.
The other car, purely a concept right now, is the E-Bugster, The two-seat speedster-style coupe is powered by an 85 kW electric motor fed by a 28.3 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. 0-60 mph takes almost 11 seconds (10.9 by VW’s reckoning) but range is up to 110 miles in urban use. Furthermore, VW says that the E-Bugster can be fully charged in about 35 minutes from empty, if you’re using a fast-charging system.
I for one think an all-electric or hybrid Beetle is in the very near future. It still has the hippie cred of the original Beetle, but with access to Volkswagen’s increasingly diverse array of alternative fuel technology. Does that mean this E-Bugster concept will be hitting the roads soon? No, not at all.
But it does mean that Volkswagen knows their customers; they know what they want (i.e. a new VW Bus) and they know the future is paved with electrons. I dig it. Do you?