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Electric Cars

Volkswagen Prioritizing Electrification Over Hydrogen Fuel Cells

It will have 14 hybrid or EV models across all brands by early 2015

Volkswagen will focus on hybrids and EVs for the rest of the decade

VolkswagenVolkswagenVolkswagenGermany, 1938 > present98 models
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has decided to prioritize hybrid and EV models in favor of hydrogen fuel cells until at least the end of the decade. It wants to be the world leader in electrified vehicle sales by 2018, which is extremely ambitious given Toyota’sToyotaToyotaJapan, 1937 > present155 models
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dominance in the market. It will also build some compressed natural gas-fueled cars for Europe where the fuel is becoming more popular.

“The Porsche 918 Spyder918 SpyderPorsche 918 SpyderGermany, 2013 > present12 photos
shows the top end, Audi’sAudiAudiGermany, 1909 > present83 models
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27 videos
projects the premium end – at VW we are starting from the bottom. The truth is nobody fully understands customer demand just yet,” said Heinz-Jakob Neusser, VW head of development.

VW Group will have 14 electrified models on sale across all of its brands by early 2015, and it has more models that could support an electrified powertrain if there is demand.

CNG is growing in popularity in Europe. It is cheaper than gasoline and emits 25% less CO2 for the same mileage, but buyers are still worried that there are not enough fueling stations, according to Neusser.

Volkswagen says that it is not ignoring hydrogen and developing the technology, but it has no intention to offer a hydrogen fuel cell for sale before 2020. It cites the expense of the technology and lack of refueling infrastructure as the major reasons.

“We have a huge hydrogen car program ongoing. We have a lot of cars that are being tested with a fuel cell stack, but we have to make clear that hydrogen vehicles in bigger numbers will not happen before 2020,” said Rudolf Krebs, VW’s lead engineer for electric powertrains.

The development of smaller and more efficient electric motors can be applied to fuel cells when VW does start building them. Krebs predicts that VW’s fuel cell will be a hybrid that combines a plug-in battery and hydrogen fuel cell to maximize electric range.

Source: Autocar (1,2)





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