Volkswagen Debuts Cross Coupe Plug-In At Tokyo

By Danny King December 6, 2011

VW Cross Coupe Tokyo lede.jpg

Volkswagen debuted its Cross Coupe plug-in hybrid compact SUV at the Tokyo Motor Show and said the concept gas-electric vehicle can produce 261 horsepower while getting the equivalent of about 87 miles per gallon, per European fuel economy standards. VW didn't release any details about a possible production timetable or pricetag. The four-seat Cross Coupe is powered a turbocharged gasoline engine and two electric motors. The rear electric motor drives the rear wheels, the front electric motor drives both the front and rear wheels, and the gas engine acts as an on-board generator for the front motor. Because of the layout, the car has no driveshaft, creating more interior room and allowing for what VW calls a "tunnel" lithium-ion battery.

Because of the battery's placement and vehicle's resulting low center of gravity, VW says the SUV handles more like a sports coupe. Combined, the electric drive system’s motors deliver 261 horsepower and can power the car from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 7 seconds, VW claims. The crossover, which has a top speed of about 125 miles per hour, can run for up to  28 miles on electric power alone and has a range of more than 500 miles range on the engine/generator and electric motors combined. The motors are powered by a 9.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack.

The German automaker is considering a variety of technologies to get its engines to meet progressively more stringent fuel-economy and emissions standards in both the U.S. and Europe. VW is looking at broadening its clean-diesel models in the U.S beyond the two it currently offers. The company also plans to hybrid Jetta to the U.S. market next year and a battery-electric version of the Golf to market in 2014. Still, aside from the diesels, VW's only alt-fuel vehicle in the U.S. is the Touareg Hybrid SUV. That model sold 340 just vehicles during the first 10 months of the year.

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