Hybrids

Next-gen VW Golf will be offered as 48-volt mild hybrid

48-volt systems are all the rage right now, and they're a good first step in electrification.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen has a battery-electric variant of the seventh-generation Golf, but there is no middle-of-the-road electrified offering. That's set to change with the introduction of the Golf's eight generation.

Volkswagen announced this week that it will add a 48-volt mild hybrid variant of the next-generation Golf. It's rumored that the new Golf will make its first appearance at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, but VW has not confirmed that yet.

Farewell, maybe?

Volkswagen

Most vehicles rely on 12-volt electrical systems. By boosting that to 48 volts, or by running the two in tandem, automakers can rely on enhanced stop-start systems or brake regeneration to rely less on its attached gas motor, improving overall efficiency. Unlike more involved hybrid systems, 48-volt mild hybrids do not have an electric-propulsion-only mode. An electric motor in the system acts as both a generator and a starter for the engine.

Volkswagen made specific mention of engine-off coasting, as well, which means the vehicle can turn off the engine while the vehicle is in motion, kicking back on when propulsion is required. VW estimates that coasting alone can save 0.3 liters of gas over 100 kilometers, which isn't much by itself, but it adds up when combined with extended stop-start.

It's unclear if Volkswagen will continue to offer its battery-electric e-Golf, as well, as it could be discontinued to make space for VW's upcoming I.D. line of dedicated electric vehicles. The current e-Golf was updated for 2017 with a more powerful motor and a larger battery, expanding its range from an EPA-estimated 83 miles to 125.

Its low range is likely due to packaging constraints, as the e-Golf doesn't ride on a dedicated EV platform and thus it must make room for batteries somewhere. VW's forthcoming MEB platform will remedy that, since it's been designed exclusively for electric vehicles.

Volkswagen is far from the only automaker working on these systems. Every 2019 Audi A8 will carry a 48-volt mild hybrid system, and it's being introduced with a performance bent in Mercedes-Benz vehicles, including the new CLS-Class. Heck, it's even moving to trucks, thanks to the 2019 Ram 1500.