VW Coupe fu­ture of SUV de­sign

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

There will be pro­duc­tion ver­sions of VW’s CrossBlue that won’t have all the tech­nol­ogy of the show car that was re­vealed at the Shang­hai mo­tor show this week, but as the Ger­man gi­ant says, it’s a spec­tac­u­lar glimpse at the fu­ture and at a new era of SUV de­sign. Klaus Bischoff, Head of De­sign for the brand, says: ‘‘The dis­pro­por­tion­ate growth in the SUV seg­ment gives de­sign­ers the op­por­tu­nity to im­ple­ment an even greater di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of mod­els. ‘‘The CrossBlue Coupe shows the po­ten­tial of our Volk­swa­gen de­sign DNA and will un­doubt­edly have an in­flu­ence on fu­ture SUV mod­els.’’ TheVW­con­cept uses a plug-in hy­brid pow­er­train that com­prises a tur­bocharged di­rect-in­jec­tion (TSI) V6 petrol engine work­ing with two elec­tric mo­tors to pro­duce as much a max­i­mum of 305 kilo­watts. This SUV’s ul­ti­mate po­ten­tial per­for­mance is sports car like, with a 0 to 100kmh time of just 5.9 sec­onds and a top speed of 237kmh. De­spite its sport­ing per­for­mance, the CrossBlue Coupe has a com­bined fuel con­sump­tion of just three litres per 100km in the new Euro­pean driv­ing cy­cle (NEDC). Even when the bat­tery is fully dis­charged and the ve­hi­cle is run­ning with just the TSI engine, the gas mileage is still im­pres­sive, at 6.9L/100km. This gives a the­o­ret­i­cal range of around 1160km. The CrossBlue Coupe can be driven as zero emis­sions EV for up to 34 kilo­me­tres at a max­i­mum speed of 120kmh: to in­ten­tion­ally use this eco-friendly mode in ur­ban ar­eas, the driver sim­ply pushes a but­ton. The con­cept car us­esMQBfront sus­pen­sion and a four-link rear set-up; electro­mechan­i­cal steer­ing; a 217kW V6 TSI engine; and a six-speed DSG dual-clutch au­to­matic. The ve­hi­cle’s elec­tri­cal ar­chi­tec­ture in­cludes a lithium-ion bat­tery mounted in the cen­tre tun­nel as well as a pair of elec­tric mo­tors: 40kW at the front wheels and 84kW at the rear axle. The V6 engine de­vel­ops 500 New­ton-me­tres of torque from as low as 1800 rpm, a fig­ure that is boosted to 700Nm when the two elec­tric mo­tors are en­gaged. The de­fault drive pro­gram is ‘‘Eco’’ or hy­brid mode where the elec­tric mo­tors are used for propul­sive power as of­ten as pos­si­ble in this case. The driver can switch to the Sport mode by press­ing a but­ton. There is also an Of­froad mode (per­ma­nent all­wheel drive), EV mode (driv­ing with zero emis­sions), and a Charge mode (bat­tery charg­ing). In EV mode, only the 84kW rear elec­tric mo­tor pro­vides propul­sion. In all-elec­tric driv­ing, the V6 TSI engine is de­cou­pled from the driv­e­train and shut off. As soon as there is a need for gaso­line power – be­cause of the bat­tery charge or other pa­ram­e­ters – it is cou­pled to the driv­e­train again. The bat­tery can be charged ei­ther by ex­ter­nal power sources (230-volt con­nec­tions) or while driv­ing. The driver can in­ten­tion­ally switch over to a charg­ing mode by press­ing an­other but­ton on the cen­tre con­sole. The TSI engine charges the bat­tery while driv­ing in or­der to store enough elec­tri­cal en­ergy for EV op­er­a­tion later in the jour­ney – for ex­am­ple, in an ur­ban area. As soon as the driver re­leases the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal, the engine and elec­tric mo­tors are de­cou­pled from the driv­e­train and the engine is shut off, pro­vided the bat­tery is suf­fi­ciently charged. This is re­ferred to as ‘‘coast­ing’’ and no emis­sions are gen­er­ated. Bat­tery re­gen­er­a­tion: When­ever the driver re­leases the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal or ap­plies the brakes, and the bat­tery is in­suf­fi­ciently charged, the two elec­tric mo­tors act as gen­er­a­tors and feed en­ergy re­cov­ered from the brakes into the lithium-ion bat­tery. In this case, the TSI engine is also shut off and de­cou­pled from the driv­e­train. When very sporty per­for­mance is re­quired, the elec­tric mo­tors form an al­liance with the TSI engine known as ‘‘boost­ing’’: in this mode, all four wheels are driven. All four wheels are also driven when­ever Of­froad mode is in­ten­tion­ally ac­ti­vated. In this case how­ever, the front elec­tric mo­tor, which is now sup­plied with en­ergy by the TSI engine, op­er­ates ex­clu­sively 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 TSI engine drives the front wheels in of­froad mode, the four­wheel-drive sys­tem is still op­er­a­tional even when the bat­tery doesn’t have much charge. When the petrol engine is the sole source of propul­sive power, the CrossBlue Coupe is a pure fron­twheel drive ve­hi­cle. The con­cept car is still very fuel-ef­fi­cient here: ‘‘hy­brid fuel con­sump­tion’’, mea­sured in a sub-cy­cle of the Euro­pean ECE-R101 stan­dard in which the CrossBlue Coupe is driven with a fully dis­charged bat­tery, yields com­bined mileage of 6.9L/100km. The CrossBlue Coupe is ex­actly 4890 mil­lime­tres long, 2014mm wide, and 1679mm high. The con­cept fea­tures a long wide bon­net and a very short frontal over­hang with a long, gen­tly sloped roofline. The car’s pur­pose­ful stance is re­in­forced by very short A-pil­lars and swept back C-pil­lars, and dis­tinc­tive sweep­ing char­ac­ter lines. VWsays prac­ti­cal­ity is cen­tral to the ve­hi­cle’s mis­sion. The doors open wide for easy en­try and egress, and ex­tend into the sill area. The ports for the fuel tank and bat­tery are in­te­grated into the de­sign. The fuel filler neck is lo­cated un­der a lid on the right side of the ve­hi­cle, with the elec­tri­cal out­let cover op­po­site it on the left. This con­sists of one socket for charg­ing the high­volt­age bat­tery and an­other for con­nect­ing elec­tric de­vices. The 230V/16A in­ter­face al­lows the CrossBlue Coupe to also act as an emer­gency gen­er­a­tor. Up­scale ma­te­ri­als are used in the car’s cabin: velvet soft Nappa leather, chrome sur­faces that are pol­ished on top and sand­blasted matte fin­ish on their cham­fered edges; dark alu­minium; nat­u­ral­lytreated wood ac­cents; and Al­can­tara for the roof, pil­lars and head­liner. The car’s five seats are up­hol­stered in Nappa leather. The rear bench seat of­fers fore-and-aft ad­just­ment, three back­rest po­si­tions, and folds in a twothirds/one-third fash­ion. The car comes to life as soon as the driver’s door is opened. When the start but­ton is pressed, the switches for the cli­mate and head­light con­trol in­stantly lift from rest. At the same time, all of the dis­play lay­outs ap­pear on the mon­i­tors and the am­bi­ent light­ing is ac­ti­vated. A mo­bile mini iPad has been in­te­grated in each of the head re­straints of the first seat­ing row, so that pas­sen­gers in the rear can en­joy the au­dio, video and on­line pro­grammes. Mean­while, a Dy­nau­dio sound sys­tem de­liv­ers crys­tal-clear au­dio. The CrossBlue Coupe is based on the new Mod­u­lar Trans­verse Ma­trix (MQB). While cer­tain as­pects of theMQBve­hi­cles, such as the ori­en­ta­tion of all the en­gines, are uni­form, there is scope for variation in pa­ram­e­ters such as the wheel­base and track widths and newMQB­mod­els like the CrossBlue are de­signed so that they can be built with nat­u­ral gas, hy­brid, or elec­tric pow­er­trains as well as diesel or gaso­line en­gines. Ex­pect to see the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the con­cept as early as 2015.

VWCrossBlue Coupe: De­signed to slot-in be­tween the Touareg and Tiguan mod­els.

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