Audi Unplugs R8 e-tron, Electric Car Program Left In Limbo Page 2

October 25, 2012

2013 Audi R8 e-tron with 8:09.099 Nürburgring lap time

Is the Golf EV (and possibly the e-Bugster) enough to put VW over the top by 2018? Or does the automaker -- like many of its European rivals -- plan to rely on diesel vehicles, with a few hybrids in limited release? Should VW be more aggressive in pursuing electric and advanced hybrid tech? How else might it achieve the 2025 CAFE goals set by the EPA (about which VW has loudly complained)?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

* Our colleagues at Green Car Reports reminded us of the flaws in de Nysschen's arguments: 

If you pay very little for electricity (U.S. prices range from 3 to 25 cents/kWh), and/or drive most of your Volt miles on electricity, and/or drive a lot of miles, there are absolutely scenarios today under which a Volt will pay back its premium for the first owner (3-5 years) versus an average 25-mpg car -- let alone against the 20-mpg luxury cars that Volts are usually cross-shopped against. 

And, the "driving on coal" argument is a good one, but not particularly supported by the data. Coal is dropping as a proportion of U.S. generation, as cheap and cleaner natural gas make gains (along with a little bit of renewables). And though their numbers vary, both the 2012 UCS study and the landmark 2007 EPRI-NRDC study indicate that driving a mile on plug power -- even on the dirtiest grids (ND and WV, IIRC) -- is lower carbon than one mile burning gasoline at 25 mpg. 

When you get up to a 50-mpg Prius, it's marginally better today to drive the Prius in those few edge-case states, but the grid will gradually get cleaner over time, whereas the cars won't. And in CA, which will buy more plug-in cars than the next five states combined, the comparison is about 100 mpg fleet average (CA has a pretty clean grid with a high proportion of renewables).

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