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 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.