Electric vehicles

VW Brings 2 electric vehicles to the Amelia Island Concours - one old, one new

Two Volkswagen electric vehicles hang out side-by-side in Florida.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

With the pandemic becoming less of an issue as people get vaccinated and head out into the world, beloved automotive events are starting to come back online. One, the Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance, is taking place right now, and features some of the rarest, coolest, and most expensive vehicles in the country.

This year's event will be preceded by a parade of electric vehicles called Taking Charge, which will feature several electrified models. Volkswagen brought two EVs to the event this year, but there's a surprising twist with one of them. The ID.4 electric crossover will take part in the parade, and the other is a rare electrified bus form over 40 years ago.

1978 VW Elektrotransporter Early EVs had almost no power or range.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen's brand-new ID.4 electric crossover will participate in the parade. By now, most of you have probably heard about the vehicle, VW's first fully electric crossover. It recently took home 2021 World Car of the Year honors, and is on sale now. The ID.4 is cool, but it's the vintage EV that really caught our eye. The 1978 Elekrotransporter is based on a Volkswagen Type 2, and was originally used by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). VW says that it produced a handful of electrified bus and Golf models in the 1960s and 70s to test the feasibility of EV powertrains and charging. The Electric Power Research Institute snapped up ten buses to test with the TVA at the time.

1978 VW Elektrotransporter The EV was powered by 24 lead-acid batteries.Volkswagen

The electrified bus carries 24 lead-acid batteries held in a 1,225-pound pack under its floor. The electric motor is bolted directly to the existing gearbox, which is permanently locked in second gear and sends power to the rear wheels. The early electric powertrain only generated 23 horsepower, which gave the bus a top speed of just 48 mph. It did feature an early version of regenerative braking, a feature that is onboard nearly every EV made today.

1978 VW Elektrotransporter The bus used a combo of electric and existing drivetrain components.Volkswagen

It's easy to draw a line from the old Elektrotransporter to today's VW electric vehicles. The ID.BUZZ concept is the old EV's direct descendent, and will enter production in the EU in 2022. Unlike its grandfather, the ID.BUZZ will produce a combined system output of 225 kW, which equates to around 300 horsepower.

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Improved hot hatch

The 2022 VW Golf GTI gets new handling tech

Improvements to the GTI's handling and steering should make it even faster in the curves.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is one of the most recognizable and popular cars the automaker sells. After a bumpy few years that ended with the standard Golf model being nixed from VW's U.S catalog, we're starting to see concrete details on the upcoming performance variants of the car, which will thankfully end up heading our way. The eighth-generation Golf GTI and Golf R will make landfall in the United States as 2022 models, and will both feature a load of new tech and refinements. VW just announced the changes that are being made to the GTI's handling and performance systems, and they are extensive, to say the least.


2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI VW is offering the 8th-gen Golf only in high-performance GTI and R configurations.Volkswagen


Volkswagen is giving the legendary hot hatch a host of improvements, which the automaker says will give the car more precise, stable handling at its limit. The GTI's front suspension has been reconfigured with new wishbone bearings and damping hydraulics. VW says that the car's springs and buffer stops have also been revised, which will give the font axle spring rate that is five percent higher than its predecessor. A new aluminum subframe is also in place, which will reduce weight by seven pounds over the previous car.

The eighth-generation Golf brought a new VW Vehicle Dynamics Manager system which will also benefit the upcoming GTI. The system integrates the car's electronic stability control with its electronic differentials, and in GTI models equipped with the optional DCC adaptive damping system, the system adjusts individual wheel damping up to 200 times per second. The differential itself will now come standard with all GTI models. It's an electronically-controlled torque-sensing limited-slip unit, which varies the levels of its intervention based on how the car is being driven and on how the other traction control functions are being used.


2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI The GTI's steering is now more responsive.Volkswagen


The GTI's steering system has also been revised to now include an enhanced progressive steering function that uses software to help turn the vehicle with less steering effort, depending on speed. Volkswagen says that the GTI's steering takes just 2.1 turns of the steering wheel to go from lock to lock when it's equipped with 18-inch wheels.

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Lamborghini is accelerating its path toward an all-electric future.

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

Lamborghini plans to electrify its lineup and now we know how fast that process will be going and what the company won't be focusing on. In a presentation, Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, detailed that the super luxury automaker will "focus continually on identifying technologies and solutions that guarantee top performance and driving dynamics" rather than fuel economy. Those words are magic to enthusiasts ears.

"Lamborghini's electrification plan is a newly-plotted course, necessary in the context of a radically-changing world, where we want to make our contribution by continuing to reduce environmental impact through concrete projects," said Winkelmann. "Our response is a plan with a 360 degree approach, encompassing our products and our Sant'Agata Bolognese location, taking us towards a more sustainable future while always remaining faithful to our DNA."

The three-phase approach to electrification starts this year. From 2021 to 2022, Lamborghini will focus on "presenting models paying tribute to the company's recent period of continuous success". Expect two new cars in the V12 model line-up to be announced this year.

By the end of 2024, the hybrid transition for the automaker will be well underway. In 2023 Lamborghini will launch its first hybrid series production car and by the end of 2024, the entire range will be electrified. The company's internal target for this phase is to reduce product carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent by the beginning of 2025.

In this second phase, Lamborghini is committed to keeping the drive experience in focus as well as the application of carbon fiber materials, which the company sees as crucial in developing their new product lineup.

Lamborghini is committing to bringing the company's first fully-electric car to the market in the second half of the 2020s with a number of electric vehicles on the horizon. The automaker expects to introduce a fourth model.

The automaker has initiated an investment of 1.5 billion euros to create the pathway to electrification. The money will be spent over four years time.

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