Dr. Rudolf Krebs, Volkswagen AG, at the 2011 Geneva auto show on Driving the Nation

Dr. Rudolf Krebs, Volkswagen AG’s Group Chief Officer for Electric Traction talked to Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, www.drivingthenation.com, at the 2011 Geneva auto show.

Volkswagen AG is comprised of Volkswagen cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, SEAT, Audi, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche and Bugatti.

Krebs started with Volkswagen in 1996, working on the Volkswagen direct injection TSI engine. The most exciting part of direct injection for Krebs is the ability to combine direct injection with turbo charging. The combination leads to great horsepower, great fuel efficiency and great torque, the hallmark of the VW AG engine.

Great torque and low emissions is also the hallmark of electric mobility. Volkswagen has all types of concepts with full electric and plug-in hybrids. VW AG showed the SEAT concept at the 2011 Geneva auto show that is a plug-in hybrid with a TSI engine and an eight kwH battery.

Volkswagen AG already has hybrids on the road and plan to bring out more of them. How long, then, before the first electric car will be on the road for the Volkswagen family? Could the Bulli be the first full electric vehicle on the road? Will it come to America even though the US has not shown a profit for Volkswagen of America in the last nine years?

Krebs’ biggest decision is to know when to stop looking at all the chemistries and decide which battery to go with. He knows it’s not the perfect battery, but he has to go with what he thinks is the best right now, produce it and bring it out in a vehicle. The goal for the battery is that it be able to last the length of the car’s life.

VW AG has different suppliers they are working with and want to keep the race open for competitiveness. They are working with each supplier, because battery development is changing so quickly that Krebs says they want to wait till the last possible moment to decide which supplier to use.

The preference at the moment is a lithium tri-metal chemisty. This chemisty, VW believes, gives the right performance of durability, storage capacity and safety.

The Touareg hybrid has a Nickel Metal Hyride (NimH) battery in it, but the Audi Q5 hybrid will have a lithium-ion battery. Fuel cell vehicles are even further off than electric vehicles for Volkswagen AG.
Firewood – Pine wood versus Blue Oak

Anyone who starts a fire in the winter does so to stay warm. The key to warmth is the density of the seasoned wood. No matter what type of wood I use it has to be approximately the same size, since my insert will only fit wood less than 17 inches long.
If I use pine wood there isn’t much heat, the wood burns very quickly and there are a lot of emissions. If I use seasoned blue oak there is more heat for a longer length of time, and a cleaner burn, meaning less emissions.

Batteries can be the same – the battery pack in a Tesla Roadster is 53 kilowatts-hour. The battery pack in the Chevy Volt is 16 kilowatt-hour. The Nissan LEAF battery pack is 24 kilowatt-hour. Other electric vehicles average around 30 kilowatt-hour battery packs.

About the Bulli:

According to Krebs the Bulli is fully electric and can go 300 kilometers, or 186.4 miles of EV range, taking less than 60 minutes to charge. The Bullis electric motor outputs 85 kW of power and a 199 lb.-ft of torque. The silent motor is supplied with energy from a lithium-ion battery with a maximum storage capacity of 40 kWh. The new Bulli accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 11.5 seconds, and it’s top speed is 87 mph (electronically limited).

Electric vehicles will be about 2-3 percent of the Volkswagen make-up by 2020. But Krebs emphasized that they want to continue to improve conventional engines and to make them available to use renewable energy sources.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.