This is Volkswagen’s Detroit 2013 debutant, the Volkswagen CrossBlue mid-size 7-seater SUV concept, built on the Golf’s MQB platform. Depending on whether its accepted well, it will go into production as a 7-seater slotted in between the Tiguan and the Touareg.
Although designed in Germany, Volkswagen says it merged the clean lines of German Volkswagen DNA with the masculine character of an American SUV (think Chevrolet Orlando). The concept is 4,986mm long, 2,014mm wide, and 1,732mm high. It has a wide front and rear tracks of 66.4 and 66.8 inches respectively. This concept wears typically oversized 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels shod with 235/45 tires, and significantly flared wheelarches.
In this concept, power is via a 190 horsepower TDI Clean Diesel engine from the new EA288 family, that’s used in combination with a 54 horsepower electric motor at the front and a 114 horsepower electric motor at the rear. The motors are powered by a lithium ion battery in the centre tunnel. This powertrain combo is mated to a 6-speed DSG gearbox.
Combined power output is 305 horsepower, and considering the combination of diesel and electric power, you know torque numbers are going to be over the roof – the diesel engine alone makes 400Nm, while the front motor does 180Nm and the rear motor does 270Nm. Combined torque output is 700Nm, more than enough to lug an MQB-based SUV and 7 people around.
The default mode of operation is a classic hybrid, where the electric motors are used to assist power as often as possible. In Eco mode, parameters such as the throttle map and air conditioning are controlled for minimal fuel and electrical consumption. In Sport mode, the drive system’s maximum power potential is exploited. Other available modes are: offroad, where all-wheel-drive is permanently engaged; charging; and EV mode, where it drives as an electric vehicle.
The EV mode uses just one motor – the rear 114hp/270Nm one. The 9.8kWh li-ion battery allows it to cover 22km on EV mode. It can be charged by the TDI engine in motion, or it also has plug-in functionality, allowing charging via external power sources if required. The driver can intentionally switch over to a charging mode by pressing another button on the center console. The TDI engine charges the battery while driving in order to store enough electrical energy for EV operation later in the journey—for instance, in an urban area.
The CrossBlue is equipped with two ‘fuel doors’. The filler neck for the diesel tank is on the passenger side, and engineers integrated two electrical sockets behind the door on the driver’s side.
The first socket is used to charge the lithium-ion battery and the second can be used to connect electrical devices such as coolers or camping lights. In this case, the CrossBlue acts as an auxiliary electrical generator, a very useful feature.
The offroad mode is an interesting one. It activates all wheel drive mode for offroad purposes, but in this car there’s no propshaft as the only rear wheel propulsion is by electric motor.
Thus in offroad mode, the front wheels are driven by the TDI engine while the front motor operates exclusively as a generator for the rear electric motor. Volkswagen calls this “propshaft by wire”, since power is transmitted to the rear wheels by cabling!
It isn’t mentioned whether the car is going to be a US-only model, though Volkswagen says it is ‘perfect’ for the US market.