Volkswagen has given a revealing insight into its next-generation powertrain technology, confirming development of a 10-speed DSG, a high-performance diesel engine and a focus on plug-in hybrid and natural gas propulsion systems for its future vehicles.
Speaking at the 34th International Vienna Motor Symposium, Volkswagen Group chairman Martin Winterkorn said the medium- and long-term strategies were part of the company’s plan to reduce its European new car fleet’s CO2 emission level to 95 grams per kilometre by 2020.
Leading the charge will be a 10-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission, which is set to succeed the brand’s current six- and seven-speed units and offer improved fuel efficiency.
Joining it will be a family of high-output diesel engines, which Volkswagen promises will achieve peak power of 100kW per litre of displacement. The engines will have a variable valve-train assembly, a high-pressure injection system at up to 3000 bar and combined charging with the brand’s e-booster technology.
Winterkorn also revealed the next stages of the brand’s expansion of its plug-in hybrid technology. The Porsche Panamera and Audi A3 e-tron will lead the way, and will be followed soon after by plug-in versions of the Volkswagen Golf and Passat, Audi A6 and Porsche Cayenne, among others.
He also stressed the potential of natural gas drive systems, confirming they will become a more mainstream part of the company’s product portfolio going forward.
“The gas engine is environmentally friendly, economical and suitable for everyday use,” Winterkorn said.
“The technology is fully developed and the vehicles are already on the market. We need to make the public even more aware of the benefits of natural gas engines. Everyone needs to play their part in this: car makers, politicians and the fuel industry.”
Winterkorn insisted there were also still plenty of efficiency gains to be made to the company’s existing internal combustion engines, including optimisation of friction levels and thermal management, improvements to the combustion process, and a focus on lightweight design and other operating strategies.
“Since the year 2000, we’ve reduced the fuel consumption of our TDI and TSI engines by more than 30 per cent. I’m convinced that by 2020 we can achieve further increases in efficiency of around 15 per cent.”