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And the world's fastest hybrid is... the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta


August 23, 2012

Volkswagen has announced that a modified version of its 2013 Jetta Hybrid has become the fastest hybrid in the world

Volkswagen has announced that a modified version of its 2013 Jetta Hybrid has become the fastest hybrid in the world

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Volkswagen has announced that its 2013 Jetta Hybrid became the fastest hybrid production-based car in the world during Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) annual Speed Week. Motor Trend Associate Road Test Editor Carlos Lago was in the driver's seat of the specially-modified compact sedan when it set the new hybrid speed record of 185.394 mph (298.363 km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats, near Wendover, Nevada last week.

In order to comply with SCTA rules, VW says that the record-breaking Jetta's powertrain was altered by the company's R&D; team in Wolfsburg, Germany, to ramp up the available horsepower. Engineers from Volkswagen Test Center California took care of drivetrain implementation and final calibration, and further mods were undertaken by California's A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering to make sure the car could run safely on the famous Salt Flats.

"It was a real challenge to integrate the complex hybrid elements and generate the power needed to run at these speeds," said VW's Marc Trahan. "The Jetta Hybrid Land Speed Record project shows both the sporty nature of our Hybrid offering and the technical excellence of our engineers in Wolfsburg and in the Test Center California."

The 2013 Jetta Hybrid was announced in January 2012 and is scheduled for release in the U.S. toward the end of this year. VW expects the vehicle to achieve a combined fuel economy of 45 mpg (19.1 km/l), using about 20 percent less fuel than a similarly-powered sedan with a conventional drivetrain. It features a 1.4-liter turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder TSI gasoline powerplant that weighs just 216 pounds (98 kg) and develops 150 horsepower. It can get to 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in less than 9 seconds and is also claimed to be the first hybrid car to use a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.

An additional 27 hp is provided by a 20 kW electric motor that's powered by a compact 220-volt, 1.1 kWh Li-ion battery pack of 60 individual cells integrated behind the rear bench seat. The Jetta Hybrid can be driven in pure electric mode at speeds up to 44 mph (70 km/h), although only for a distance of 1.2 miles (1.9 km). The vehicle also makes use of regenerative braking to feed kinetic energy back to the Li-ion battery but is claimed to do so more efficiently than other systems.

When Jetta's driver releases the gas pedal to apply the brake, the car's decoupling clutch disengages the ICE engine so that all the retardation is done by the brakes rather than a combination of brakes, drivetrain drag and engine torque. VW says that this releases more energy back to the battery.

Provided there's enough charge for the electric motor to operate, the Jetta Hybrid’s gasoline engine is stopped when the car comes to a halt in city driving or stop/go traffic situations. When the driver kicks down, or the lever is in the S position or in the manual shift gate, the drive system combines the power of the electric motor and gas engine to provide a peak output of 170 hp.

The Jetta Hybrid is reported to be the quietest car that VW has ever produced in the compact sedan class, weighs less than 3310 pounds (1501 kg) and includes Bluetooth technology, LED taillights and a SiriusXM satellite radio as standard. Safety features include six airbags, Electronic Stability Control, and anti-lock brakes.

Source: Volkswagen

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Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

I would assume that the main reason for someone to consider buying a hybrid would be to save some gas and hopefully do their little share to tackle that CO2 problem. And the marketing people at VW came up with the bright idea that the best way to communicate 'environmentaly friendly' would be a speed record. I don't think so. To me that record only means that this car will burn the oil faster than anyone else.

Conny Söre

Who would buy a hybrid to run to higest speed? I've got an average of 22km/l with Fiat Linea 1.3Multijet.

Iosif Olimpiu

We as Americans are being "RIPPED OFF!!!!!!" The Blue Moon option for VW in the UK already gets 80.7MPG (http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/#/new/golf-vi/which-model/engines/fuel-consumption/). I was also told by a lady that lives in the UK that her Hyundai constantly gets 75mpg so I checked out the Hyundai of UK site: http://www.hyundai.co.uk/new-cars/i20 and the Hyundai i20 Blue Drive edition gets 76.3 MPG. Why is it that we as Americans are paying premiums for cars that get 40MPG and gas that is $4 a gal; when other countries enjoy much better fuel economy?? So in conclusion, don't tell me about the new models with extraordinary fuel economy at 40 mpg and pay a premium to get one. The Toyota car company probably paid off someone to allow it almost a monopoly with its Prius getting around 65mpg as reported by some here in the US. The "OLD" Honda CRX got 50MPG easily and the new modernized version: the CRX gets a whopping 40 to 45 if lucky and we pay for all of the safety equipment because a lot of people have their minds some place else when they are driving and responsibility is a "Thing of the Past"! Don't give us 185 MPH land speed records: Give us the 100MPG that so many people reported on years ago.

Larry Clark

Thats not hybrid thats a boost button. Its an ice with a 20kw booster, its not environmentally better it weighs more its just silly. I have always loved jettas i owned a jetta 5 and what a beaut. J6 looks like hair machine and the new jetta looks like a polo. A proper jetta doesnt need gimics, it needs huge boot space and to take whole families across the countryside using as little petrol as possible. This looks like 20kw of drag


Why are there no diesel-electric hybrids available in America? There are locomotives, of course, but no automotive passenger vehicles.

When Chrysler offered the Jeep Liberty with a diesel they were never even advertised yet they were back-ordered... yet what was perhaps their best seller (as considering percentage of production) at that time was discontinued?

If anyone builds a diesel-electric mini-truck that can also make 110V electricity when needed they will sell them faster than they can build them as long as they are rugged,efficient,reliable and serviceable.

Automotive manufacturers have alienated their customers by building vehicles that even their dealers often cannot repair!

Remember the original Beetle: go modular and make the car's components more modular! EVERY part of the original Beetle was ALWAYS available at the dealer- the entire engine could be swapped out in an hour or less! A constant-run diesel-electric would be ideal for modular "plug&PERFORM" serviceability.

Anyone who breaks stride with all this insane building of cars & trucks that have become too expensive & complicated to continue to service & operate past a certain point (planned obsolescence) will gain MAJOR MARKETSHARE!

I'm not going to buy a new vehicle if it costs me more to operate with less driver satisfaction- why should I?

Why do so many minivans & SUV's get almost the same mileage, DESPITE vast disparities of size, shape & power? If cars were built to continue to be properly serviced at appropriate intervals like aircraft, there wouldn't be all this wasted junk laying around.

It's not just about mileage & emissions- there are other forms of waste&pollution that are just as serious, if not more so.

So, make more money on parts&service and gain marketshare.

AT LEAST build a good rugged little diesel-electric hybrid that can generate 110V electricity when on site! Every true worker would be interested! Would that not be the TRUE "People's Car"... or Truck?

Hybrid enthusiasts want efficiency- sports car enthusiasts want speed. Who comes up with such silly stunts?


Sorry - speed and only 40mpg means big fail for me - agree with previous comments and I want to see 200mpg above the speed

Martin Yale

There are a lot of other considerations that people ignore. You can't compare gas mileage in the 4000 lb tanks that do 0-6 in ~5 seconds that Americans buy to the match box sized econo-cars in other countries.

Diesel while it uses less fuel but does not burn as clean as regular gas which is why they are prohibited from sale in California, New York, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont which puts a damper on introducing Diesel models in the US.

The Hyundai i20 that you linked that gets 76.3 MPG only weighs 1,073 lbs and has a 1.1 liter engine. For comparison it is about the weight and engine size of a Harley Davidson. A Ford Taurus is over 4000 lbs.

It isn't a conspiracy, it is an engineering trade-off. People in the US just prefer bigger and faster cars and safety requirements demand they protect the occupants well in an impact.

Demanding 100 and 200 MPG out of a full sized automobile using an internal combustion engine is completely unrealistic when you consider even the most efficient motorcycles and scooters are barely near 100 MPG. The 2009 Honda CRF230 is one of the best available and it gets only 85MPG. The Yamaha XT250 is also known to be good on gas and it's just ~73 MPG.

They make 50 cc scooters that post higher MPG numbers but they don't do highway speeds well.

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