A turbo diesel powered_PHEV… Just short of a_BEV and far more practical, this is_AWD CUV_efficiency at its very best.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Jan. 20, 2013
The 2014/2015 VW CrossBlue PHEV-14 Concept - 14-miles all-electric range on the plug and 33/37 mpgUS city/highway on an all-new and powerful 2.0L TDI. It is that and more.
At this year’s 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Press Days, VW unleashed a concept that looked eerily production ready. And rumors from the show floor indicated VW will be building the CrossBlue at its Passat Chattanooga, TN manufacturing facility sometime next year.
What is different about the CrossBlue concept from VWs full size 5-pasenger Touareg? For one VW is targeting 7-passenger capability from the CrossBlue even though it is smaller than the Touareg. That is only the beginning however as the CrossBlue concept is powered by what appears to be the all-new and yet to be released but announced Volkswagen TDI drivetrain mated to their hybrid drive system featured in both the Touareg and Jetta hybrid.
On the safety front, the CrossBlue is ladened with 12 airbags. Front, side, knee and side curtains for 8. Possibly outward side air bags for the second and third row would make up 12.
The CrossBlue was designed in Germany in close coordination with Volkswagen of America providing a look into what the brand is possibly setting up to build in TN sometime next year.
The CrossBlue concept is 196.3 inches long, 79.3 inches wide, and 68.2 inches high. It assumes a very confident stance on the road thanks to wide front and rear tracks of 66.4 and 66.8 inches respectively, 21 in alloys with 235/45 tires, and significantly flared wheel arches are all a part of the plan.
Up front the lengthy hood integrates the engine’s air intakes while the grille is now a three-dimensional element extending into the headlights. The upper aluminum strut frames the dual headlights, while the lower strut transitions into a line that extends across the entire front end and visually lengthens the grille giving the CrossBlue concept the appearance of being wider than it actually is.
From the side, the CrossBlue concept, like the Passat, incorporates 0 radius horizontal character lines from the front to the rear. A lower trim piece made entirely of stainless-steel runs all around the CUV’s lower body section with short frontal overhangs providing practical approach and departure angles in case it were to ever be taken off-road.
Out back CrossBlue concept incorporates sculpted LED taillights with aluminum trim elements as well. The tailpipes have a stainless-steel look tips and are integrated in a trim panel that features underbody protection and cleaned up aerodynamics.
The CrossBlue is equipped with two “fuel doors” including the std. fill neck for the diesel tank on the passenger side and the two electrical sockets behind an access door on the driver’s side. The first socket is used to charge the Li-Ion battery and the second can be used to connect to and power electrical devices from the vehicle.
Like the top of the line Touareg TSI Hybrid, the CrossBlue’s is equipped with lavish and versatile appointments. While the concept is equipped with six individual seats in three rows, the rumored production variant s second row would have the option of three seats to make it a full seven seater. Headroom of 42.4 inches up front, 40.2 inches in the middle, and 37.6 inches in the rear is ample for just about anyone even in the back row. Legroom of 37.3 inches in the second row and 36.1 inches in the third row is a bit tight but manageable for most kids into their teen years.
Access to the rear seats is achieved by sliding second-row seats forward.
VW gave no interior volume specs other than with the third row folded; load length is 48.8 inches and 83.5 inches with both the second and third row folded down. Like many of the most recent CUV releases, a fully folding front passenger seat allows objects up to 118 inches long to fit entirely within the CrossBlue.
21st century control hardware
As soon as the driver starts the CUV, the round-shaped controls for the lights, climate control, and the four-wheel-drive system emerge from their flush resting positions as shown in the video. The radio, HVAC, vent and even steering wheel spokes feature high value aluminum surrounds.
Leather and wood are also used to define the CrossBlue interior. The wood accents “flow” from the gearshift area and ascend the center console and across the lower instrument panel to the door trim. Above these wood accents and around the two-part center armrest, dark “Marble Gray” leather is used, with light beige “St Tropez” leather, trim pieces, and fabrics used beneath the wood accents and on the seats.
A 10.2 in. high resolution touchscreen display is framed by an aluminum surround. The large touchscreen is not only used to control all infotainment functions, but also to access the status of the hybrid system. Another new feature is a 3D display of either the navigation route or the contents of the media center. All the important switches in the passenger compartment—except for the hazard flasher switch—are soft-touch components that have a similar feel to using a touchscreen.
The CrossBlue can be driven in two different powertrain modes including an “Eco” mode shown with a blue background and “Sport” shown in red.
Second- and third-row passengers are not to be denied their own forms of infotainment as iPad mini devices are integrated as monitors in the front-row head restraints. A Fender Premium Audio System ensures concert-hall-quality sound throughout the vehicle. Second- and third-row occupants also have full control over the climate-control system in their part of the vehicle.
The CrossBlue is based on Volkswagen’s new Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) components set. This vehicle brings together MQB elements that could underpin a future generation of CUVs, such as the front and rear suspensions, the 190-horsepower TDI Clean Diesel engine from the new EA288 family
, and a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. These components are combined with a Li-Ion battery in the center tunnel and the 54 HP front and 114 HP rear electric motor(s).
Propulsion consists of a 190 HP and 295 lb-ft@1,750 rpm 2.0L TDI mated to Volkswagen’s hybrid drive system through a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and an all-electric 2-motor AWD system.
With all of that technology, the CrossBlue is preliminarily rated at an astonishing 89 MPGe combined in electric mode with its preliminary 14 miles of all-electric range and 35 mpgUS as a hybrid while at the same time propelling the vehicle to 60 in just 7.2 second with the 305 HP and 516lb-ft. of torque combination. This is well into the “Have your cake and eat it too” territory.
Powered by its Li-Ion battery, the CrossBlue can cover a distance of up to 14 miles as an EV, although top speed is reduced from 127 mph to 75 mph. In E-mode, only the 114-hp rear electric motor propels the vehicle and the TDI engine is shut off and decoupled from the drivetrain. Even at speeds of up to 75 mph, the internal combustion engine is not engaged as long as the battery has sufficient charge. As soon as there is a need for TDI power, it is coupled to the drivetrain again, jolt-free, within fractions of a second.
The CrossBlue’s 370V Li-Ion battery has an energy capacity of 9.8 kWh and is housed in the center tunnel. A DC/DC converter supplies the vehicle’s electrical system with the 12-volt power it needs. The battery can be charged either by external power sources or by the TDI engine while the vehicle is in motion.
The overall driving range is 661 miles when the 18.5 gallon fuel tank (a touch over 19 since it’s the Passat tank) is filled.
The CrossBlue’s default mode is classic hybrid. The electric motor is used for propulsive power as often as possible. The driver can switch to “Eco” or “Sport” modes by pressing a button to the right of the shift lever. In Eco mode, parameters such as the throttle map and air conditioning are controlled for minimal fuel and electrical consumption. In Sport mode, the drive system’s maximum power potential is released.
Other available modes are offroad, where all-wheel-drive is permanently engaged; charging; and EV mode, where it drives as an electric vehicle.
The driver can intentionally switch over to a charging mode by pressing another button on the center console. The TDI engine charges the battery while driving in order to store enough electrical energy for EV operation later in the journey. Think Mountain Mode in a Volt but with a far more efficient generator in the form of turbo diesel power!
The “Long Glide”: Like the Touareg and Jetta Hybrid, if the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the engine and electric motors are decoupled from the drivetrain and the engine is shut off, provided that the battery is sufficiently charged.
Regenerative braking is evoked whenever the driver applies the brakes, and the battery is insufficiently charged. The two electric motors act as generators and feed braking energy back into the Li-Ion battery. Not only is the engine shut down but it is also decoupled, a trick that HSD/eCVT drivetrains have yet to master.
Off-road (“propshaft by wire”): All four wheels can be driven whenever off-road mode is intentionally activated. The front electric motor is supplied with energy from the TDI engine and as a generator and a power source for the electric motor at the rear. Since the energy for driving the rear wheels is electrical rather than mechanical, this is referred to as “propshaft by wire”. Because the TDI engine drives the front wheels in off-road mode, the four-wheel-drive system is still operational even when the battery doesn’t have much charge.
When the TDI engine is the sole source for propulsive power, the CrossBlue is a “PURE FRONT DRIVE VEHICLE
) allowing the 2.0L TDI to do the work at incredible efficiency compared to most of the vehicles we have availed to us nowadays.
Overall the CrossBlue could be certified at 33/37 mpgUS city/highway when off the plug. This is darn close to the smaller C-MAX hybrid but with AWD, a lot more space and quite a bit more luxury.
Unfortunately if VW stays true to form, the CrossBlue may arrive with a cost prohibitive price tag. Just like the $62,575 Touareg Hybrid, it could be out of reach for the masses. By this time next year, we should know a lot more about this futuristic super diesel powered PHEV-14 AWD CUV. And maybe it will be the vehicle to own providing the size and utility that American’s want with the sustainability that we all need. It is going to be a long and great year for the automobile indeed!