Volkswagen's next-generation Touareg will gain a hybrid version in 2010. The new hybrid boosts fuel economy and emissions without losing any of the Touareg's capability.

The Volkswagen Touareg already straddles both sides of the petrolium fuel fence, with gasoline and diesel-engined versions available. When the next-generation Touareg drops in 2010, VW plans to extend that powertrain flexibility to include a gas/electric hybrid as well.

Prototypes are already in testing. The Touareg hybrid will use an all-new 245 kW (333 hp) supercharged 3.0 liter direct-injection V6 gasoline engine connected to an electric motor. This engine produces 440 Nm (325 lb-ft) torque from 3000 rpm. The E-motor adds another 38 kW (52 hp), as well as a massive 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) torque.

The Touareg will be a parallel hybrid, with both gas and electric motors working together to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The electric motor can also power the Touareg alone for up to 50 km/h (30 mph), and Volkswagen plans to incorporate a switch that enables the driver to lock it in electric mode for gas-free travel. Power is routed to the wheels through a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Touareg hybrid will incorporate a stop-start system for fuel savings during city driving, as well as regenerative braking to charge the nickel metal-hydride battery that powers the E-motor.

The capabilities of the Touareg aren't lost with the transition to hybrid power, either. Volkswagen says the hybrid Touareg will still tow up to 3.5 metric tonnes, and that off-road and hill climbing ability are not affected. To offset the weight of the batteries and hybrid system, a lighter Torsen 4x4 differential and electronic power steering have been added.

See press release below for further details.

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