Volkswagen will ultimately electrify most of its cars.
The next-generation Volkswagen Golf will offer a mild hybrid system, the Wolfsburg-based company has confirmed.
The hatchback will receive a belt-driven starter-generator fed by a 48-volt electrical system, a technology already found on some Audi models like the new A7. Brake-energy recuperation technology will capture the kinetic energy generated while braking and feed it to a small lithium-ion battery pack.
The Golf will consequently be capable of coasting with the engine off, and it will benefit from an electrified boost when it pulls away from a stop. We tested an early, mk7-based prototype last summer on a Bosch test track in Germany and found the 48-volt system nearly eliminates turbo lag at low speeds.
Odds are Volkswagen will add a menu to the car's infotainment system to show the driver how the combustion engine and the starter-generator split power delivery duties in real time. In our test car, the software also kept track of how many miles the car spent coasting.
The eighth-generation Golf will be available with the new 48-volt system when it goes on sale across Europe next year. It will likely be offered as an extra-cost option; it doesn't sound like the entire portfolio of models will switch to 48 volts. And, it's too early to tell for sure whether we'll see the system in the United States, though offering it here would make sense.
The mild hybrid Golf will be the first of its kind but it won't be the last. In the same press release, Volkswagen announced plans to offer an electrified version of nearly every car in its lineup to complement the upcoming family of battery-electric I.D. models.