2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid coming to the 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 19, 2011

Volkswagen’s production-ready 2013 Jetta hybrid will debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2012 and will go on sale later that year. It will be powered by a TSI engine. It has also been confirmed that it will displace 1.4 liters. To cut costs, it will just be turbocharged rather than being turbo- and supercharged as the 1.4 is in non-hybrid applications.

It has a lithium-ion battery pack and its car is positioned as a sporty, performance hybrid, says Caranddriver. Fuel-economy figures are expected to be impressive as well. This is only VW’s second hybrid after the gas/electric Touareg. It has also been learned that due to capacity limits at the Puebla, Mexico, factory, it won’t be able to produce the Jetta coupe.

The Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Golf, and Beetle are built at this plant. The production version of the Beetle convertible seen at the New York auto show in April will be assembled at the Puebla plant too. The car was previewed by the NCC concept unveiled in Detroit in 2010.

The new Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid will be available, for the first time in the United States, with a 1.4-liter turbo petrol TSI engine that could provide up 250 Nm of peak torque available at 1,400 rpm. A downsized four-cylinder, this 1.4-liter turbo petrol TSI engine has proven to be able to maintain such high amount of constant torque up to 3,500 rpm.

With a peak power output that even exceeds that of the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that powers a conventional VW Jetta but is much lighter at 98 kg, this 1.4-liter TSI engine has been proven to be very durable even when the Jetta Hybrid is travelling at German Autobahn speeds. Along with the electric motor, the drive system ekes out a performance that transforms the new VW Jetta Hybrid into an athletic cruiser.

VW’s TSI engines have already won several accolades, including the "Engine of the Year Award" for 2011. The 1.4 liter TSI -- millions of units of which have been sold in Europe – works with the electric motor and a decoupling clutch to comprise the Jetta Hybrid’s hybrid module. This decoupling clutch has been positioned between the two drives, and could disengage the petrol engine from the drivetrain when the Jetta Hybrid is placed on 'sailing' mode (coasting/braking) or in pure electric driving mode.

On the other hand, the electric motor is powered by a state-of-the-art compact lithium ion battery integrated behind the rear bench seat to avoid cramping the interior space. This 35.8 kg battery features 60 individual cells -- each having an energy capacity of 5 Ah – for a total energy capacity of 1.1 kWh and for a nominal voltage of 220 Volts. Since frequent alternation between discharging and charging cycles in hybrid operation calls for sufficient cooling, VW mounted a fan directly on the battery.

Interestingly, the lithium ion battery features its own management system that aside from temperature management, also has monitoring, safety and diagnostic functions. Because the fan has a need-based control – as the function of factors like external temperature and momentary power demand – it ensures that the power pack could operate within an optimal temperature range.

VW also installed special protection systems so that when the battery is not being used or when a crash occurs, the battery is electrically disconnected. Power from the hybrid drive is transmitted to the driven front axle through a very efficient seven-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG). This DSG has been proven to provide an enjoyable driving experience, which is further augmented when used along with the hybrid drive.

In fact, this seven-speed DSG has managed to set a standard in its class in terms of low weight (74 kg) and its compact construction. Furthermore, the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid – with a gross weight of less than 1,500 kg -- is only around 100 kg heavier than its conventional version, as the extra weight of the battery system and safety modifications to the vehicle structure have been offset by lightweight drive components.

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