Detroit Auto Show: VW CrossBlue Hybrid Concept Hints At Future

Nissan isn’t the only one showcasing a rather innovative hybrid SUV style concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Volkswagen has also brought one of its own, unveiling last week the CrossBlue SUV idea specifically thought of for the U.S. and Canadian markets.

The CrossBlue is described as a mid-size SUV concept which combines VW’s TDI Clean Diesel engine with two electric motors, a DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission and an electric all-wheel-drive system the auto manufacturer dubbed “propshaft by wire.” The design idea is said by its maker to have great fuel economy ratings, which you should probably take with a grain of salt, that are pegged at 89 MPGe combined in electric mode and 35 MPG as a hybrid.

VW CrossBlue hybrid concept at 2013 Detroit Auto Show (image copyright EarthTechling)

VW CrossBlue hybrid concept at 2013 Detroit Auto Show (image copyright EarthTechling)

VW noted that this plug-in hybrid concept’s powertrain produces up to 305 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, offering 0 to 60 mph in an estimated 7.2 seconds. The CrossBlue is said to be able to run “in zero emissions mode either at the press of a button or automatically.” When its 9.8kWh lithium-ion battery is fully charged, it reportedly can “travel a distance of 14 miles in all-electric mode; to achieve optimal driving range, the top speed is reduced from 127 mph to 75 mph. The overall driving range is 661 miles if the 18.5-gallon fuel tank is filled with ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel.”

This crossover design has six individual seats spread across three rows and a range of safety features, including up to 12 airbags. In keeping with the splashy touches that make concepts what they are, “as soon as the driver starts the SUV, the round-shaped controls for the lights, climate control, and the four-wheel-drive system emerge from their flush resting positions.”

Central to the interior technology is a 10.2-inch touchscreen in the central console that “is not only used to control all infotainment functions, but also to access the status of the hybrid system. Another new feature is a 3D display of either the navigation route or the contents of the media center. All the important switches in the passenger compartment—except for the hazard flasher switch—are soft-touch components that have a similar feel to using a touchscreen.” This is joined by an instrument cluster that “is designed to be user programmable, offering a wide variety of functions and displays,” as well as iPad mini devices that are integrated as monitors in the front-row head restraints to entertain those in the rear seats.

While most concepts typically remain just one off ideas, it is quite possible the CrossBlue could actually end up in some form as a production model. VW hints at such, saying that “if it goes into production, the CrossBlue would flesh out the Volkswagen SUV lineup with a seven-seat midsize crossover that slots in above the Tiguan and below the premium Touareg.”

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.