At the launch of the new-generation Volkswagen T6 models – which includes the Transporter commercial van and the Caravelle and Multivan people mover models – it was confirmed to CarAdvice that a hybrid powertrain is developed and ready to be implemented.
There is no problem fitting in any batteries or additional electric motors, but there could be an issue finding buyers who want such a thing, according to the brand.
Gisela Golling, head of systems and functions at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, told CarAdvice the T6 was developed as a hybrid-ready model, but the time isn’t right to launch such a drivetrain in the vehicle.
“I think hybrid is a thing which depends on the customer,” Golling said. “We have to have a big market for hybrids, then we can offer a hybrid.
“We’ve got our chefs in the kitchen, we’ve got something which we can put in if we want to do it, but it depends on the customer [and] when he wants to have it,” she said.
“If we have the customers we can do it. We’re able to do it,” she reaffirmed, although there was no specific mention of what hybrid system Golling was talking about.
However, she gave a clue that it could be either the all-electric Volkswagen e-Golf (pictured below), or the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain seen in the Golf GTE and the Passat GTE (pictured bottom).
The plug-in system pairs a turbocharged 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 75kW/330Nm electric motor, which combine to produce 150kW of power and 350Nm of torque in the Golf GTE, where the Passat gets a higher tune, with 160kW/400Nm. In the Golf, fuel use is claimed at 1.5 litres per 100 kilometres; the Passat claims 2.0L/100km.
“We can put it in if we need, yeah,” she said. “That’s possible.”
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles press manager of product communications (Caddy/Amarok), Andreas Gottland, said that pricing was the main thing holding potential buyers back at this stage.
“It’s a very price-sensitive segment, especially in Europe, the commercial vehicle segment, and so the price is mainly the decision making tool for our customers,” he said.
“So when they don’t see there is a commercial use, in terms of their total cost of ownership, then it’s very hard to sell that. But we could do this easily,” he said of offering such a model in the range.
“The systems are all there and they’re already tested, already with our customers as you know, especially in Europe. And we have to see what is the request.
“You see how big or how small the request is in terms of hybrids and in terms of pure electric cars at the moment, because of that price difference, and at the end someone has to pay the price,” he said.
Golling suggested that ever-tightening emissions regulations could eventually play a part in forcing the hand of the German brand, although there is European talk of a revised consumption cycle test that better mimics everyday driver behaviours.
“Now we use a very easy driving cycle. People say that they want to be nearer as the customer with the driving cycle, so that’s a proposal,” Golling said, indicating that a decision is likely before 2019.
“I think it’s similar to the American testing cycle,” she said, referencing the regime used in the US which is far more akin to how many drivers spend their days behind the wheel.
“I think we will see it in 2020 or 2021, we don’t know when it comes. There are many discussions what the routes will be.”