For the second time this year, a turbocharged Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid has set a land speed record for hybrids, going over 186 mph. If you still think hybrids can’t be fast, well you better wake up and smell the fresh, clean air.
The misconceptions about hybrid cars being slow and boring is quickly falling by the wayside. I’m not even talking about the supercar hybrids that use electric motors as power adders rather than emissions reducers; I’m talking about the hybrids built en masse that you or I can buy off of a dealership showroom, like the VW Jetta Hybrid…eventually. When it does hit showrooms, Volkswagen claims the Jetta Hybrid will get up to 45 mpg.
Granted, the record-setting car (officially called the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid LSR) has been heavily modified from its factory form. While the standard VW Jetta Hybrid makes 170 horsepower and 184 ft-lbs of torque, itself very respectable for a hybrid vehicle, the LSR edition makes closer to 300 horsepower. The interior was also gutted, the suspension lowered, and a full suite of safety equipment including a rollcage and fire supression system were added.
With Motor Trend road test editor Carlos Lago behind the wheel, the Jetta Hybrid LSR went out and beat its own record for cars with forced induction engines under 1.5 liters. The previous run set a top average speed of 185.394 mph, the fastest ever for a hybrid car. The new record averaged 186.313 mph, with a top speed of 187.147 mph. So now the Jetta Hybrid has two different class records in hand. Not too shabby.
Of course, this isn’t anything like the car you can buy on the showroom floor…but it also isn’t so radical that it couldn’t be replicated. Either way, cars like the VW Jetta Hybrid LSR are showing the world that going green sometimes means going really, really fast.