• VWWatercooled News

    by Published on 29-06-2011 05:08 PM   

    Consistent use of renewable energy for electric mobility

    German alliance is to research sustainable use of E-cars until 2012
    Volkswagen supplies the innovative hardware in the Golf Variant twïnDRIVE

    Wolfsburg / Berlin, 28 June 2011 - Today, Volkswagen – in cooperation with 6 project partners and the German Ministry of the Environment – is presenting the current status of the “Fleet study in electric mobility” that was initiated in July 2008. The primary goal of the project which runs until June 2012: consistently utilise renewable energy sources for electrically powered vehicles. Within the framework of the fleet study, Volkswagen is implementing a total of 20 of the latest generation Golf Variant twïnDRIVE cars as research vehicles. Their plug-in hybrid drives operate with zero emissions in urban operation using an electric motor. The Golf Variant twïnDRIVE enables distances of up to 57 km on pure electrical power; an additional small internal combustion engine provides for a total range of about 900 km. Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen AG, comments on the twïnDRIVE: “When it comes to driving with zero emissions within cities while covering far greater distances as pure electric vehicles – the twïnDRIVE system by Volkswagen sets new standards and could over the mid-term develop into the ideal form of mobility for the vast majority of car drivers.”

    Fleet study encounters transition in energy production
    The "Fleet study in electric mobility" is now assuming a high level of importance, in the wake of events in Japan and the German federal government’s mandatory exit from nuclear energy production. According to plans by the federal government, the number of pure electric vehicles will reach one million units in Germany alone by 2020. And these vehicles must be operated sustainably – i.e. from renewable energy sources – to attain significant progress in environmental protection.

    Volkswagen counting on renewable energies
    Before the transition in energy policy, Volkswagen had already appealed for the intensified use of renewable energy sources. During a workshop on electric mobility in Shanghai in mid-2010, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn emphasised that: "Future electric cars offer us tremendous opportunities for reshaping mobility to become even more sustainable. However, we must – on behalf of the environment – ensure that the energy used to operate these electric cars is also generated renewably, i.e. from renewable resources. Since carmakers do not make decisions on which types of power plants will be built, governments must assure that environmentally-friendly energy sources are utilised. Only then will we experience a genuine transition to a new era." This new era is now within reach.

    Optimising the stability of the power grid
    Over 16 per cent of Germany’s electrical needs are already covered by renewable energy sources, and plans are afoot to extend this share to 30 per cent by 2020. Volkswagen, for example, has installed one of the highest performance wind power systems in the world at its German plant in Emden; it already supplies one-third of the factory’s energy requirements. In parallel, more and more electricity is being generated from solar and water power. These forms of energy must also be used for mobility. However, the amount of renewably generated energy is subject to fluctuations due to natural factors (e.g. sunshine duration, wind strength). This means that it is necessary to intelligently control electrical demand to avoid load peaks. In this context, the "Fleet study in electric mobility" is analysing the usage behaviour of drivers of cars with electrical charging, electric load control and intelligent strategies in the charging process. In addition, a scenario is being tested, in which some of the daily peak electrical demand might be buffered by the cars’ lithium-ion batteries in the future.

    Plug-in hybrid will assume much greater importance
    Through its "Fleet study in electric mobility", Volkswagen is acquiring valuable knowledge on how cars with plug-in hybrid drives like the Golf Variant twïnDRIVE handle continual use. As already noted, the 20 Golf Variant twïnDRIVE cars can be driven over long distances in pure electric mode, i.e. with zero emissions. The expression "environmental zone" takes on an entirely new meaning in cities.

    One of the goals of Volkswagen AG is to launch numerous plug-in hybrid cars on the market in the years 2013/2014. In the area of electric mobility, they are intended to supplement the Group’s hybrid models that are already being produced today (these models currently include cars by Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen), as well as the pure electric vehicles that will also debut from 2013. Clearly, plug-in hybrid models – i.e. cars with combustion engine, E-motor and a battery that can be charged by an external power source – will acquire special significance in the urban environment. Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn comments on this: "Over the mid-term, the plug-in hybrid offers great potential here, because it unites the best of 2 worlds in one vehicle." The plug-in hybrid, according to Winterkorn, enables precisely what many customers expect: an unlimited driving range with internal combustion engine mobility and an attractive electrical driving range in everyday driving.

    Fleet study brings together specialists in Germany
    The large-scale introduction of plug-in hybrid cars and pure electric cars continues to be associated with great challenges. Prof. Dr. Winterkorn: "Electric mobility will be a century-long endeavour for Europe as a centre of automotive production and industry. Carmakers, suppliers, energy providers, scientists and politicians – everyone must step up to the plate." In Germany, the "Fleet study in electric mobility" is bringing together precisely these partners.

    6 project partners
    The "Fleet study in electric mobility" is being conducted by 6 project partners from research and commerce under the leadership of Volkswagen AG. Representing the energy industry is energy provider E.ON. From the research area, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft ISIT (representation of the battery systems and development of new battery chemistry), Heidelberger Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU; creating eco-balance), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR; analysis, forecasting traffic scenarios) and the Westphalian Wilhelm University in Münster (development of methodologies, laboratory testing of battery cells) will contribute their expertise and know-how to the fleet study.

    Golf Variant twïnDRIVE

    twïnDRIVE has potential for a great future

    Golf Variant twïnDRIVE can be driven up to 57 km in pure electric modeTotal driving range of the twïnDRIVE is about 900 kilometres

    Volkswagen is contributing 20 of the latest generation Golf Variant twïnDRIVE cars to the "Fleet study in electric mobility". In addition, 8 other Golf Variants with conventional drives are also included in the fleet study; one reason is to provide a reference point against which to compare fuel consumption values of the twïnDRIVE fleet.

    Electric motor is primary drive
    The plug-in hybrid drive of the Golf Variant twïnDRIVE differs fundamentally from hybrid systems without an external electrical charging port. First, thanks to its greater battery capacity (up to 13.2 kWh), the twïnDRIVE powertrain enables long driving ranges in electric mode, especially in urban driving (up to 57 km). Second, while the E-motor supplements the internal combustion engine in a hybrid model without plug-in, the setup is exactly the opposite in the Golf Variant twïnDRIVE – here, a petrol engine supplements the E-motor.

    Especially in city driving and on short trips, the E-motor acts as the Golf’s primary drive unit with a power range extending up to 65 kW / 88 PS. With higher power demands, the internal combustion engine can be started to enhance vehicle performance.

    The petrol engine is also used to support the electric heating system when outdoor temperatures are low.

    Over mid- to long-range drives, an intelligent hybrid management system automatically optimises load distribution between the electric and internal combustion engine drives to minimise fuel consumption. In this process, the vehicle’s control system always selects the optimal operating mode –individually tailored to the current route and situation – which represents the most energy-efficient combination of electric motor and combustion engine. It should be noted that, if necessary, the driver can manually activate the pure electric driving mode (E-MODE), e.g. to drive with zero emissions in the city – provided that the battery has sufficient charge. In phases of battery regeneration (during braking) or coasting (with anticipatory deceleration), only the E-motor is active; drag torque losses are reduced by disengaging the petrol engine via a separation clutch. The results: less energy is consumed during E-mode driving; when the accelerator pedal is released, the Golf Variant "coasts" significantly longer and further.

    Under certain driving conditions, the maximum driving range of 57 km noted in the introduction is possible in E-mode; when the driving range of the petrol engine is added, this increases the total range to about 900 km. Thanks to the car’s clever energy management and its innovative user input method via the radio-navigation system, the driver could program the car to utilise the E-motor with zero emissions for the pure city kilometres of a driving route, e.g. from Leipzig to Berlin – including city kilometres at the destination! In this case, the driver "reserves" an electric driving range, which is preserved in the battery, so that pure electric driving is possible whenever the E-MODE button is pressed.

    Specifics of the drive system
    The electric motor outputs 85 kW and supplies a strong 600 Nm of torque from standstill. When combined with the TSI engine that is currently used in the latest generation of the Golf Variant twïnDRIVE (charged petrol direction-injection engine, which also outputs 85 kW / 115 PS), a peak power of up to 120 kW / 163 PS is produced with powerful acceleration.

    The entire drive unit of the Golf Variant twïnDRIVE is housed in the engine compartment; it consists of the fuel-efficient 1.4 TSI, generator (30 kW / 250 Nm), E-motor, electrically actuated separation clutch between the TSI and the E-motor as well as a 1-speed transmission. The flow of electrical energy is regulated by a high-voltage power distribution unit, which – like the battery – is located at the rear of the Golf Variant. In addition, a DC/DC converter is used to supply the 12V onboard electrical system with its required voltage.

    Extremely energy-efficient network of technologies
    As mentioned, this network of technologies is extremely energy-efficient. Based on guidelines for determining the fuel consumption of plug-in hybrids, a fuel consumption value of 2.1 l/100 km is attained (equivalent to 49 g/km CO2). When the battery is fully charged, the strategy is to maximise the share of pure electrical energy used for driving. Only when longer distances are driven does the share of supplemental petrol fuel increase. As a result, fuel consumption values lie well below those of conventional vehicles for most drives.

    In this type of driving, the spacious and versatile Volkswagen is a very agile sort of car: its top speed is 170 km/h; the Volkswagen handles the sprint to 100 km/h in under 12 seconds. By the way, when it is operated in pure electric mode, the Golf Variant twïnDRIVE can reach a respectable top speed of 120 km/h.

    The Golf Variant twïnDRIVE has 3 primary operating modes, each of which is automatically set according to the driving situation and the battery’s charge state.

    Electric driving (E-drive): The car is powered exclusively by the E-motor that is supplied by the battery. The TSI is off, and the separation clutch is open. Up to 65 kW of power is available, which leaves hardly any wishes unfulfilled in normal everyday driving. The internal combustion engine can be started whenever it is needed to provide additional drive power via the generator or to charge the battery.

    Driving with coupled internal combustion engine (E-motor plus TSI drive): When the TSI engine is used for driving at speeds above 50 km/h, the separation clutch closes, and the TSI is directly coupled to the drivetrain. This also enables efficient driving with pure internal combustion energy transmission at high speeds in long-distance operation. When powerful acceleration is required, the battery-powered E-motor and the TSI work together in the Golf Variant ("boosting"). Whenever necessary, the battery can also be charged via the generator.

    Battery regeneration (E-motor active): When the car is braked, the E-motor – in this case acting as a generator – converts the car’s kinetic energy into electricity that is used to charge the battery. The TSI is off, and the separation clutch is open; this also applies to anticipatory "coasting".

    The 3 primary operating modes reflect the basic idea of the Golf Variant twïnDRIVE: on short drives, e.g. in the city, it is a pure electric car; on long drives, on the other hand, it is an efficient parallel hybrid.

    2 battery systems for the twïnDRIVE fleet
    When it comes to the car’s plug-in hybrid technology, Volkswagen is studying two different lithium-ion battery systems for the Golf Variant (Golf Generation VI). A total of 10 vehicles are equipped with batteries from the American-German manufacturer GAIA (cathode type NCA). 10 more vehicles are powered by lithium-ion batteries (cathode type NMC) from the Korean-German joint venture SB LiMotive (Samsung and Bosch); these 10 vehicles have been in use since early this year. Both battery systems offer high power and energy density. They each weigh about 150 kg.

    The GAIA battery (voltage 302 V, nominal capacity 37 Ah per cell) consists of 86 cells and offers an energy capacity of 11.2 kWh. The battery from SB LiMotive (315 V, 42 Ah) with its 84 cells supplies 13.2 kWh of energy. A different class of batteries: the Golf blue-e-motion concept car with full electric drive has a battery capacity of 26.5 kWh, while the Touareg Hybrid battery stores 1.7 kWh. Cooling of the twïnDRIVE batteries is performed by the Battery Management and Monitoring System (BMS), which was developed by Volkswagen for vehicles with the SB LiMotive battery.

    Clever use of batteries to supply the power grid
    An innovative charge management strategy can be implemented via "intelligent" charging stations that can be operated bidirectionally. The vehicle optimises the time point of battery charging based on driver inputs (such as "Start time of next drive" and "Desired electric driving range"). These parameters are input via the radio-navigation system. By exchanging data with the electrical energy provider, the Charging Manager can optimise the charging process based on predictive tables, so that battery is charged cost-effectively and with electricity generated from renewable sources. It is even possible to feed electricity back into the electrical grid; in this type of discharging, acting as a small component of a large network, the car is essentially used as a module that helps to temporarily offset fluctuations in the electrical grid. In this case, the system operates with AC power (AC, 230 V, 3 kW).

    Stations with a pure charging functionality also operate with AC power, e.g. a household electrical outlet in the garage. Charging with AC power takes a maximum of 5 hours. The third option is to charge the battery very quickly using an off-board charger with DC power (DC, 230 to 400 V, 30 kW). The charging time in this case: 20 minutes. All 3 charging modes are being studied and analysed within the framework of the fleet study.

    Data logging and saving
    When it comes to analysis, a wide range of data is saved. During the drive, data is continually recorded by a data logger (Car-PC) integrated in the Golf Variant. The data is transmitted to an online server via a UMTS mobile radio connection together with geo-coding of GPS position. Volkswagen Research then preconditions the acquired data to make it accessible to project partners.

    by Published on 29-06-2011 05:06 PM

    Chinese government approves plans for Foshan and Yizheng
    Planned annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles for each plant

    Wolfsburg/Berlin, 28 June 2011 - As planned, the Volkswagen Group can build two further automobile plants in China, continuing its long-term growth strategy in the world's largest market for passenger cars. During the German-Chinese government consultations in Berlin, final approval was granted today for the plants to be built at Foshan and Yizheng. Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, today signed appropriate declarations together with the Presidents of the Chinese partner organizations.

    The factory at Yizheng, in Jiangsu Province in eastern China, is to be developed together with partner Shanghai Volkswagen, and the plant at Foshan, in Guangdong Province in southern China, will be built together with the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture. The first documents for the development of the two sites were signed in the summer of 2010. "China is already the world's largest sales market for automobiles and further substantial growth is expected in the future," Winterkorn said on the occasion of signing the contracts at the Federal Chancellor's Office in Berlin. "The Volkswagen Group intends to play a major role in shaping this growth with new environmentally compatible models and the expansion of local production capacity. Our new plants show that Volkswagen remains a strong motor for the Chinese automobile industry."

    Each of the two plants will be designed for an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles and production is due to start in 2013. "The new factories are a key element in our plans to increase annual production capacity in China to three million vehicles in the medium term together with local partners," said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China in Berlin.

    In view of the dynamic development of the Chinese automobile market, Volkswagen had boosted its investment program for China to 10.6 billion euros for the period from 2011 to 2015. In addition to the two new plants, plans have already been announced to expand production capacity at each of the existing Nanjing and Chengdu plants to between 300,000 and 350,000 vehicles per year.
    by Published on 27-06-2011 05:32 PM   

    Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen’s crew experienced an almost equal measure of success and disappointment at the 39th 24-Hour Race at the Nürburgring. The two blue biogas Scirocco GT24-CNG cars repeated last year’s success by coming first and second in their category. In addition to winning in their category, the three Dakar Rally winners Carlos Sainz, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giniel de Villiers and the touring car legend Klaus Niedzwiedz also finished in a good 27th place overall in their 330 hp Scirocco. The eagerly awaited premiere of the three 450 hp Golf24 cars was less of a success, with the racing prototypes, which were put together in next to no time and which were put into the 24-Hour Race as a homage to 35 years of the Golf GTI, being forced to retire from the race early on.

    After an impressive performance in the first third of the race, which included a spectacular duel between Volkswagen driver Thomas Mutsch (#135) and "Strietzel” Stuck, with Mutsch’s four-wheel drive Golf bearing down on the Nordschleife legend’s Lamborghini, the Volkswagen crew was subsequently hit by two car failures in the space of just 15 minutes. Car #135 piloted by Thomas Mutsch, Patrick Simon, Fredrik Ekblom and Edoardo Mortara went out of the race after an accident in which DTM driver Edoardo Mortara hit another vehicle as he entered the pit lane at about 22:15 on Saturday, then hit the barriers head on. To be on the safe side, the 24-year-old Italian was taken to the hospital in Adenau by the Volkswagen team doctor Dr Johannes Peil, but was discharged the same evening having been thoroughly checked over and given the all-clear.

    Just ten minutes later, the #35 Golf of Peter Terting, Nicki Thiim, Franck Mailleux and René Rast had to withdraw from the race because of a gearbox malfunction.
    The Golf24 with the number #235 and driven by former Formula 1 drivers Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell together with Patrick Bernhardt and René Rast was then struck by the same fate on Sunday afternoon and had to enter the pit lane earlier than anticipated because of gearbox problems.

    Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director:
    "The 24-Hour Race at the Nürburgring is extremely challenging and you really can’t choose the outcome, but we certainly hoped that we would do better than we did with the new Golf24 racing prototype. You really have to push things to the limit when you are developing a competitive racing car. We are definitely not the only ones to have learnt a lesson or two and identified room for improvement this weekend. But we did nevertheless present a very fast and good vehicle with the Golf24, and we put on a great show for the fans with the fastest racing Golf ever during the first third of the race. And like all the other Scirocco drivers, our three Dakar Rally winners did a great job, while the vehicle itself once more demonstrated just how reliable it is. All in all, we are pleased with our performance.”

    Patrick Simon, Golf24 (#135):
    "The Golf24 is a car that really excites the fans, and its sound, looks and power are quite simply outstanding. I have never driven a car more quickly through the Flugplatz and Brünnchen sections of this track. The aerodynamics are obviously not as good as those of the flat super sports cars, but it is nevertheless sensational to drive. And it’s a Golf, so you get behind the wheel and you just feel right at home.”

    Mark Blundell, Golf24 (#235):
    "This was my first time at the 24-Hour Race at the Nürburgring and it was pretty tough. Endurance races are always difficult, but the Nordschleife is in a league of its own and can’t be compared with Le Mans, Daytona or Spa. It’s a race that every racing driver in the world should attempt at least once. I would love to come back again because I now know exactly what to expect.”

    Johnny Herbert, Golf24 (#235):
    "For me, the 24-Hour Race was a great way of familiarising myself with and coming to appreciate the Nordschleife. The actual results may be a bit of a disappointment, but being allowed to steer this incredibly fast Golf around the Nürburgring really was a pleasure. It has fantastic handling characteristics and corner speed. Thanks to Kris Nissen and the entire team for letting me be involved.”

    Edoardo Mortara, Golf24 (#135):
    "I had a bit of a scrape when I tried to overtake a slower car shortly before entering the pit lane at the end of my stint behind the wheel. I thought he wanted to enter the lane too so we had a collision when I began to turn in, which sent me hurtling into a crash barrier. I feel bad for my co-drivers and for the entire Volkswagen crew, as it was my fault. I’m doing OK, though, and I will definitely be on the starting grid at the Norisring.”

    Carlos Sainz, Scirocco GT24-CNG, (#117, 27th):
    "We can be very happy with having won in our category once again. It’s always a great feeling to see the chequered flag after such a difficult race. After my third race here on the Nordschleife, we have finally become friends. I had a soft spot for the track all along, but now it’s more of a case of love that is also reciprocated.”

    Klaus Niedzwiedz, Scirocco GT24-CNG (#116, 46th):
    "The Scirocco cars drove precisely and were as reliable as clockwork – almost as if Wolfsburg was actually in Switzerland. Being lucky enough to be driving both of the cars, I sometimes found myself in a duel with my own vehicle – something I’ve never experienced before in all these years. In all, this race was definitely one of the most challenging ever for me. The mix of top cars and slower vehicles in particular called for high levels of concentration from everyone involved.”
    by Published on 24-06-2011 05:59 PM

    Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold: “An important milestone on the path towards fully automatic and accident-free driving.”

    Wolfsburg/Borås, 23 June 2011 - At the final presentation of the EU research project HAVEit (Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport), Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold, Executive Director Volkswagen Group Research, has presented the “Temporary Auto Pilot” by Volkswagen: Monitored by the driver, the car can drive semi-automatically up to a speed of 130 kilometres per hour on motorways. It represents a link between today’s assistance systems and the vision of fully automatic driving.

    "Above all, what we have achieved today is an important milestone on the path towards accident-free car driving," emphasises Leohold at today’s final presentation of the EU research project HAVEit in the Swedish city of Borås. The Temporary Auto Pilot (TAP) bundles semi-automatic functions, i.e. functions monitored by the driver, with other driver assistance systems, such as ACC adaptive cruise control and the Lane Assist lane-keeping system into one comprehensive function. "Nonetheless, the driver always retains driving responsibility and is always in control," continues Leohold. "The driver can override or deactivate the system at any time and must continually monitor it."

    TAP always offers the driver an optimal degree of automation as a function of the driving situation, acquisition of the surroundings and driver and system states. It is intended to prevent accidents due to driving errors by an inattentive, distracted driver. In the semi-automatic driving mode – referred to as Pilot Mode, for short – TAP maintains a safe distance to the vehicle ahead, drives at a speed selected by the driver, reduces this speed as necessary before a bend, and maintains the vehicle’s central position with respect to lane markers. The system also observes overtaking rules and speed limits. Stop and start driving manoeuvres in traffic jams are also automated. With TAP, it is possible to drive at speeds of up to 130 kilometres per hour on motorways or similar roads. Drivers must still continually focus their attention on the road, so that they can intervene in safety-critical situations at any time.

    In contrast to previous research vehicles such as "Junior" and "Stanley", TAP is based on a relatively production-like sensor platform, consisting of production-level radar-, camera-, and ultrasonic-based sensors supplemented by a laser scanner and an electronic horizon. "One conceivable scenario for its initial use might be in monotonous driving situations, e.g. in traffic jams or over sections of a driving route that are exceedingly speed-limited," comments Leohold.

    About HAVEit
    The EU funded R&D project HAVEit ("Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport") was set up to develop research concepts and technologies for highly automated driving. This will help to reduce the drivers’ workload, prevent accidents, reduce environmental impact and make traffic safer. Launched in February 2008, 17 European partners from the automotive and supply sector and the scientific community collaborated on the project. Total investments in HAVEit amounted to EUR 28 million. EUR 17 million of this sum came from EU grants, and EUR 11 million was contributed by the 17 project partners, of which EUR 7 million was invested by the automobile industry. The HAVEit consortium consists of vehicle manufacturers, automotive suppliers and scientific institutes from Germany, Sweden, France, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and Hungary:

    Continental, Volvo Technology AB, Volkswagen AG, EFKON AG, Sick AG, Haldex Brake Products AB, Knowllence, Explinovo GmbH, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), University of Athens, Institute of Communications and Computer Systems (ICCS), University of Applied Sciences Amberg-Weiden, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Universität Stuttgart, Institut für Luftfahrtsysteme, Wuerzburg Institute of Traffic Sciences GmbH, Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (Inria), Institut français des sciences et technologies des transports, de l'aménagement et des réseaux (IFSTTAR).

    by Published on 24-06-2011 05:55 PM

    Endurance Challenge Team Tackles World’s Longest Road in Celebration of the Pan-American Highway’s 75th Anniversary, Demonstrates Power and Durability of Clean Diesel Technology

    Ushuaia, Argentina / Herndon, Va. – June 23, 2011 – Renowned adventurer and off-road driver Rainer Zietlow and his team today announced they will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the legendary Pan-American Highway with the ultimate endurance challenge. They will embark on a fast, two-week drive from Argentina to Alaska on the longest road in the world, covering 14 countries and nearly 16,000 miles in a 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI ® Clean Diesel SUV.

    Zietlow, Carlos Fernandez and Marius Biela, all from Germany, will start on June 29 in Ushuaia, Argentina, located at the southern tip of South America. Their goal is to drive the entire length of the Pan-American Highway in 14 days, finishing in Deadhorse, Alaska. The crew will travel through 14 countries – Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Canada – and through challenging terrain, including the Atacama Desert, a 13,600-foot high Andean pass, humid rainforests in Central America and the Arctic tundra in Alaska.

    As with all of his previous challenges, Zietlow will donate 10 Euro cents for each kilometer driven during this trip to two villages in Latin America managed by Plan International, a charity organization that works in 48 developing countries to promote children’s rights and lift millions of children out of poverty.

    “We want to celebrate the important role the Pan-American Highway has played in bringing commerce and unity to countries along the route, while demonstrating the power and durability of a clean diesel vehicle. The 75th Anniversary of the Pan-American Highway provides us with a great opportunity to do both,” said Rainer Zietlow, manager of the German car event agency, Challenge4 GmbH. “While we have completed a number of long distance drives, the TDI-Panamericana Endurance Challenge will be one of our most meaningful and exciting challenges to date.”

    Taking five-hour driving shifts, the team will drive non-stop for the full two weeks, testing both the drivers’ will and the Touareg’s endurance. People can follow the drive online by visiting www.tdi-panamericana.com. The site will feature a map and live streaming video to show the Touareg’s real-time progress on the route, as well as photos, video highlights and blog posts to document the thrill of the endurance challenge from start to finish.

    The Challenge4 crew will drive a single 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI® Clean Diesel SUV the entire route, demonstrating how the Touareg’s German engineering and powerful engine handle even the most challenging driving conditions. Zietlow chose the Touareg TDI® Clean Diesel for its durability, high-performance and long-range fuel efficiency. Its turbocharged 3.0L V6 TDI® engine, which delivers 225 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, is designed to perform on rugged terrain and mixed road surfaces at varying altitudes.

    Additionally, as a clean diesel SUV, the Touareg consumes 30 percent less fuel and produces up to 25 percent lower CO2 emissions than comparable gasoline vehicles. The Touareg’s TDI® clean diesel technology is a key component of “Think Blue.”, the philosophy behind Volkswagen’s holistic approach to preserve the environment through fuel-efficient, high-performing vehicles; sustainable production and advanced technologies.

    “The Volkswagen Touareg TDI® Clean Diesel SUV is well equipped to handle the distance and challenges of the Pan-American Highway. It is one of the most efficient vehicles in its class, and offers the durability, reliability, comfort and power that Rainer Zietlow and his team need to complete a drive of this magnitude,” said Rainer Michel, vice president of product marketing, Volkswagen of America. “The TDI-Panamericana Endurance Challenge is an excellent way to demonstrate the many advantages of clean diesel technology.”

    In addition to Volkswagen, a number of other major sponsors are supporting the Challenge, including 3M, Allianz, Bosch, Castrol, Continental Tire, ESL, Exide Technologies, Federal Mogul, Getac, Inmarsat, Kruse, Kuehne+Nagel, PIAA, Sonax, Tag Heuer and Volkswagen Credit.

    Zietlow has conquered a number of extraordinary challenges with Volkswagen in recent years. In 2005, he and his partner Ronald Bormann drove a Volkswagen Touareg to a height of 19,947 feet (6,080 meters) which earned him a Guinness World Record for the highest altitude achieved in a standard vehicle. Zietlow also conquered immense distances in a Volkswagen Caddy EcoFuel and in a Volkswagen Passat EcoFuel powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). In 2006 and 2007, he and his team circumnavigated the globe in a natural gas powered Volkswagen, which earned him a second Guinness World Record.
    by Published on 24-06-2011 05:53 PM

    Two hydropower plants to cover 40 percent of power demand

    Wolfsburg, 24 June 2011 - Volkswagen do Brasil is investing 120 million euros in the construction ...
    by Published on 24-06-2011 05:51 PM

    VW Board Member for Human Resources Dr. Neumann: Intensify training and support for young scientists on Chinese growth market

    Shanghai / Wolfsburg, ...
    by Published on 24-06-2011 05:50 PM

    Volkswagen Group Reports 14.6 Percent Rise In Global Vehicle Deliveries From January to May
    Volkswagen Group reports 14.6 percent rise in global vehicle deliveries from January to May

    • Record: Vehicle deliveries for first five months top 3 million for first time
    by Published on 22-06-2011 06:18 PM
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    The most spectacular Golf will line up for the most extreme race as Volkswagen prepares to contest the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring this weekend (23–26 June) with three 450-hp Golf24 cars.

    Flat out around the clock, more than 200 competitors, rapidly changing weather ...
    by Published on 22-06-2011 05:36 PM
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    Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is launching an anniversary model to celebrate over 25 years since the first Multivan was built.

    The ‘Edition25’ Multivan is based on the current Multivan Comfortline, ...

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