2013 Detroit Auto ShowJust unveiled at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, the Volkswagen CrossBlue plug-in diesel-electric hybrid might be of interest to those who need a larger, more powerful vehicle with 3 rows of seats and enough space to seat 7. It's a plug-in hybrid, but rather than mating electric motors to a gasoline engine, the CrossBlue features a diesel powerplant. A few years ago I would have found this more exciting, as diesel-hybrids offered the potential for best-in-class fuel efficiency, but since then studies on the health impacts of diesel fumes have cooled my enthusiasm significantly.
The CrossBlue diesel PHEV's powertrain generates 306 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, and yet these muscular numbers coexist with a fuel economy that is estimated to be 35 MPG combined and 89 MPG-equivalent in electric mode (electric-only range is 14 miles).
The 190 hp diesel engine is part of VW's TDI family, and it is mated to a 40 kW (54 hp) front and a 85 kW (114hp) rear electric motor. The transmission is a DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. VW writes: "The CrossBlue runs in zero emissions mode either at the press of a button or automatically. With a fully charged 9.8kWh lithium-ion battery, the CrossBlue can travel a distance of 14 miles in all-electric mode; to achieve optimal driving range, the top speed is reduced from 127 mph to 75 mph. The overall driving range is 661 miles if the 18.5-gallon fuel tank is filled with ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel."
No word yet on cost or expected production date. VW will liked give us more details in a few months.