We already posted about the VW diesel-electric hybrid Golf, but at the time many details hadn't yet been announced. That changed at the Geneva Motor Show: We now know that the car will have a 1.2-liter three-cylinder common rail TDI diesel engine (55 kW/74 hp and 179 Nm/132 lb-ft of torque) coupled with an electric motor (20 kW and 140 Nm/103 lb-ft of torque). Both diesel engines and electric motors produce lots of torque, so the car should be fun to drive, especially in the city.
Fuel economy is still rated at 3.4 L/100km, or 69 miles per US gallon, or 83 miles per imperial gallons. CO2 emissions are pretty low at 89 g/km. In comparison, the Toyota Prius hybrid emits 104 g/km of CO2, though emissions of NOx and particulate matter are lower than the Tier 2 Bin 5 Golf diesel-electric hybrid.One interesting difference with most other hybrids is that the Golf TDI hybrid doesn't use a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Instead, VW decided to go with a 7-speed direct shift gearbox (DSG) with a twin-clutch, which is basically a manual transmission that is electronically controlled, so you lose the clutch and can let it shift in automatic mode, or shift yourself in semi-automatic. It's more efficient than traditional automatic transmissions, and - some say - more fun to drive than CVTs.
Visual changes which differentiate the Golf TDI Hybrid include a new, unique grille design, smaller front air intakes to reduce aerodynamic drag and ‘TDI-Hybrid’ badging. The Golf TDI Hybrid also sits lower than the standard Golf on revised suspension and adopts the front splitter from the Golf GTI Edition 30 to help further reduce aerodynamic drag. [...]
"The electric motor also replaces the conventional starter motor and alternator to save weight and improve packaging."
The electric motor is powered by a 220 volt, 45 kg nickel metal hydride battery which has a capacity of 1.4 kWh (the Toyota Prius has a 1.2kWh battery).
Now we just have to wait and hope that VW will deliver. A diesel-electric hybrid Golf certainly wouldn't be completely clean, but with decent emissions (Tier 2 Bin 5), good fuel economy and the ability to use biodiesel (made from used restaurant cooking oil or algae, preferably), it would be an improvement on most of what is currently on the road, including the VW Touareg which ranks as the "meanest" car on the road according to the ACEEE.