Archive for the ‘Volkswagen’ Category

VW’s insane I.D. R electric car is headed to the Nürbugring this summer

January 22nd, 2019
On the left, the Volkswagen I.D. R electric racer. On the right, the I.D. Buzz, which goes into production in 2022.

Enlarge / On the left, the Volkswagen I.D. R electric racer. On the right, the I.D. Buzz, which goes into production in 2022. (credit: Volkswagen)

2018 was a something of a banner year when it came to hybrids and electric cars showing their stuff. At the end of June, Porsche—on something of a farewell tour after cancelling its Le Mans program the year before—destroyed the lap record at the almighty Nürburgring Nordschleife with its 919 Hybrid. For 35 years, the fastest lap of this 12.9-mile (20.8km) ribbon of road in Germany's Eifel Mountains stood at 6:11.13, set by Stefan Bellof and a Porsche 956 during qualifying for the the Group C race held there in 1983. But in 2018, Porsche returned to one of the most fearsome racetracks in the world intent on beating Bellof's time, and it did; with Timo Bernhard behind the wheel, the 919 Evo lopped almost a minute off, completing a circuit in 5:19.55.

Five days earlier, Porsche's corporate sibling Volkswagen did something similar, this time with a battery electric car. At the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Romain Dumas set a new world record for the fastest time up the mountain. Here too, a record many thought unbreakable—Sébastien Loeb's 2013 time of 8:13.878was eclipsed when Dumas completed the 12.4-mile (19.9km) race to the clouds in 7:57.148.

I was on the mountain that day, and asked more than one VW representative whether they'd consider taking their new electric monster to the Nordschleife. The similarities were too obvious not to ask—similar distances, similar terrifying reputations, and so on. At the time the question was quickly dismissed, and VW's engineers would point out that despite the apparent similarities, there were important differences too.

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Posted in cars, Nurburgring, Volkswagen, Volkswagen I.D. | Comments (0)

Need for “a large trunk and a high-end sound system” pushed Audi to cheat

January 18th, 2019
Audi and Volkswagen signs.

Enlarge / A sign for car service for Audi and VW is pictured on January 09, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (credit: Photo by Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images)

On Thursday, a federal grand jury in Detroit, Michigan, indicted four Audi executives for playing a role in the diesel cheating scandals that rocked parent company Volkswagen Group in 2015 and 2016. The four executives—Richard Bauder, Axel Eiser, Stefan Knirsch, and Carsten Nagel—all worked for Audi in Germany, and they have not been arrested.

The four men have been charged (PDF) with conspiracy to defraud the United States, commit wire fraud, and violate the Clean Air Act.

The indictment offered some new details on how emissions cheating unfolded at Audi and VW Group, especially with respect to emissions control system cheats on Audi's 3.0L diesel vehicles.

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Posted in Audi, cars, diesel, diesel emissions, Policy, Volkswagen, VW Group | Comments (0)

Ford and VW are forming an alliance—here’s why it’s a smart move

January 15th, 2019
Artist's impression of a VW-branded Transit van.

Enlarge / Artist's impression of a VW-branded Transit van. (credit: Aurich / Ford)

We have seen a couple of big news days for two of the world's biggest automakers. On Monday, Ford used the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to announce the Shelby GT500, an uber-Mustang, as well as new Explorer crossovers. The same day, Volkswagen—one of the few German brands to attend Detroit this year—revealed the latest Passat sedan and an $800 million investment in its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The US plant is to become VW's North American base for manufacturing electric vehicles, adding 1,000 new jobs with production of electric vehicles using the new MEB architecture beginning in 2022.

You'd think that either company would be relaxing at this point; after all, both just laid out some pretty strong plans to sell a lot of vehicles here in the US market. But throughout yesterday, automotive Twitter (yes, it's a thing) was a-buzz with news of something else, a joint press conference between the two rivals. On Tuesday morning we got our answer: a global alliance between Ford and Volkswagen, with each contributing one of its strengths in an area where the other has a weakness.

It's not a merger, and no shares are trading hands between the companies. But it will involve plenty of collaboration. First up? New commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for the global (read not-US) market. And that's medium-sized as determined by those markets, so we're talking Ranger-sized, not F-250 monsters. Ford will build pickup trucks to be badged by both automakers, starting in 2022. It will also develop a replacement for the Transit van, with VW taking responsibility for a new city van due in 2023.

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Posted in cars, Ford, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Fiat Chrysler settles in lawsuit over diesel-emissions cheating

January 10th, 2019
Fiat Chrysler vehicles in a lot

Enlarge / A row of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Dodge Ram trucks sit on display at a car dealership in Moline, Illinois, on Saturday, July 1, 2017. (credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The US Justice Department (DOJ) on Thursday announced a $305 million civil settlement between Fiat Chrysler and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a lawsuit over illegal software found on certain diesel Dodge Ram models and diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee models.

The terms of the settlement also included an additional $19 million payment to the state of California, which regulates auto emissions through the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

On top of all this, Fiat Chrysler is expected to upgrade the software on all of the offending vehicles and pay into a mitigation fund designed to ameliorate damage done by excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. The two programs together will cost the company an additional $185 million.

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Posted in cars, diesel, diesel emissions, Energy, Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Volkswagen plans to make 50 million electric cars, CEO says

November 12th, 2018
The I.D. (left), I.D. Vizzion (center), and I.D. Buzz (right).

Enlarge / The I.D. (left), I.D. Vizzion (center), and I.D. Buzz (right). (credit: Volkswagen)

They say new converts are always the most devout. Take Volkswagen: after betting big on diesel—and losing—the automaker is going full-speed ahead on electrification. Earlier this year, it revealed it had committed to spending $25 billion on batteries from a number of suppliers, including Samsung and LG Chem. Now those plans may be accelerating, if all goes well at a meeting of VW's supervisory board this coming Friday.

Last week, Reuters reported that there is a proposal to convert two German factories over to electric vehicle production. One of these—at Emden—would build an as-yet unnamed sub-€20,000 ($22,550) EV and another called the I.D. Aero, both from VW Group's new EV architecture (called MEB). Another plant at Hannover would produce the crowd-pleasing I.D. Buzz. The first of VW's new MEB vehicles will be the I.D. which goes into production at a third factory in Zwickau in late 2019.

And today, VW CEO Herbert Diess told the German publication Automobilwoche that total battery earmarks for the company were now up to €50 billion ($56 billion). "We have bought batteries for 50 million vehicles," he told the publication.

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Volkswagen unveils Sedric, its first fully-autonomous vehicle

March 9th, 2017

Volkswagen Group

Volkswagen’s plans to develop fully autonomous vehicles that would offer greater comfort and convenience than current cars, while slashing the number of road deaths and truly democratizing mobility, have borne their first fruit. This is Sedric, designed to be a platform for cross-brand ideas, which will feed into subsequent concepts from the group’s car brands. The biggest idea it introduces is its full “Level 5” autonomy: no human driver is required.

There’s no VW badge on the front of Sedric because this is the first concept car built by the Volkswagen Group, rather than the Volkswagen car brand. It was devised, designed, developed and constructed by Volkswagen Group’s Future Center Europe in Potsdam and Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg. “We are systematically focusing on our customers, their wishes and requirements for the mobility of the future,” says chief designer Michael Mauer. “The Volkswagen Group Future Centers give us the opportunity to conceptualize and develop new ideas of mobile life.”

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Posted in autonomous driving, Cars Technica, concept car, SEDRIC, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

The 2016 Golf R: Ars puts Volkswagen’s hottest hatch to the test

October 20th, 2016

Abigail Bassett

AUSTIN, Texas—It’s a rare thing for a modern-day car to excite me. Don’t get me wrong, most of the cars now on the market are fantastic machines—they do exactly what they aim to do, and they do it well. It’s just rare to find an everyday car that inspires any kind of excitement. The 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, however, is a whole different animal.

I spent a week behind the wheel of the third-generation Golf R here in Austin and couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. Fast, responsive, enjoyable to drive in traffic or on the highway, and even more fun to toss around in the Hill Country, the hot hatch gets VW’s turbocharged, 2.0L, inline four-cylinder engine and puts out 292hp (217kW) at 5,000rpm and 280lb-ft (380Nm) of torque from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. There’s a choice of transmissions with a six-speed dual-clutch DSG available, but our test Golf R got the new-for-2016 six-speed manual. The EPA rates the manual at 22mpg city and 31mpg highway, but don’t expect to see those numbers if you rag it.

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Posted in Cars Technica, Golf R, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Golf | Comments (0)

Volkswagen unveils the I.D., a long-range electric car due in 2020

September 28th, 2016

Within the first few weeks of Volkswagen’s diesel shenanigans becoming public knowledge, the company’s board decided that electrification would have to be the way of the future. And earlier this year, the company got more concrete about those plans, forecasting that 20 to 25 percent of its sales in 2025 would be electric vehicles. While we’d already seen veiled production EV concepts from Audi and Porsche, at the Paris Motor Show on Wednesday VW revealed the I.D. concept, a battery electric vehicle that VW says will go into production in 2020.

The I.D. features a 125kW motor, batteries good for 250 to 375 miles’ range (400 to 600km) according to VW, and it’s the first car to use VW Group’s Modular Electric Drive (MEB) platform. (The Audi e-tron and Porsche Mission-e concepts linked above both predate MEB.) The I.D. will be launched as a model parallel to VW’s very successful Golf, and the dimensions look roughly similar based on the provided images of the car.

VW also tells us that the car is our first look at the marque’s plans for autonomous driving. A self-driving mode will apparently be available from 2025, and when in automated mode, the steering wheel recesses into the dash.

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Posted in Cars Technica, electric car, Volkswagen, Volkswagen I.D. | Comments (0)

Mitsubishi mileage manipulation came from “cost-cutting corporate culture”

August 3rd, 2016

(credit: Björn Láczay)

On Tuesday, investigators in Japan released a report attempting to explain how Japanese automaker Mitsubishi was able to falsify its fuel economy numbers on certain cars sold in Japan. The three-month-long investigation pointed to a “collective failure,” at an executive level, to deal with concerns that employees brought up.

The automaker’s cheating was discovered earlier this year when Nissan, which rebrands some of Mitsubishi’s cars and sells them in Japan, found discrepancies in emissions rates between reported and real-world mileage. Mitsubishi later admitted to having falsified data for over 25 years, in some cases overstating fuel economy by 16 percent, according to CBS News. Nissan’s discovery crushed Mitsubishi’s share price. Since then, Nissan scooped up 34 percent of Mitsubishi for a bargain $2.2 billion (¥237 billion).

In an unrelated discovery in March, Japan’s Department of Transportation publicly called out Mitsubishi, as well as Toyota and Nissan, for selling diesel cars with higher-than-allowed nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in Japan, echoing the scandal that has embroiled Volkswagen since last September in the US.

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Posted in Cars Technica, cheating, mileage, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Volkswagen could have a fix for its 2.0L diesels, air regulator says

July 30th, 2016

(credit: freshwater2006)

In an e-mail to Ars on Friday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) confirmed that the regulator was ready to begin testing hardware and software that could potentially fix pollution issues with 475,000 2.0L diesel vehicles from Volkswagen Group. The German automaker was caught last year adding illegal software to its cars in order to cheat on US emissions tests—the cars turned on their emissions control system when they were being tested in a lab and turned the emissions control system off when they were being driven under real world conditions.

According to Reuters, CARB now says there will be fixes for three generations of diesels, involving both hardware and software updates. The regulator has said that VW Group must bring its cars within 80 to 90 percent of pollution limits to have any fixes approved. CARB head Mary Nichols told Reuters that VW Group need not bring its cars to 100 percent compliance with pollution limits because the company has agreed to put up $2.7 billion in a pollution mitigation fund that will offset the damage of the still-polluting cars.

CARB is working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and any fix approved by California’s air regulator stands a good chance of being approved by the EPA, too. In January, CARB rejected VW Group’s proposed recall plan by saying the company did not provide enough necessary information to the regulator. The EPA issued a quick statement after CARB’s decision saying that it agreed.

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Posted in CARb, Cars Technica, defeat devices, EPA, Volkswagen | Comments (0)