VW reveals mild hybrid version of Transporter van

  • Volkswagen shows off mild hybrid version of Transporter van
  • Battery provides boost to the diesel engine
  • Makes its debut at IAA, not yet confirmed for the UK

Alongside the many fully electric vans it showed off at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles show, Volkswagen quietly unveiled a hybrid version of its medium van, the Transporter.

Rather than being a full hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid, the model on show is described as being a mild hybrid, or MHEV. Basically, it is a normal diesel Transporter with a battery attached that gives a bit of extra power to the rear wheels.

This then takes the strain off the engine, gives it a bit of performance assistance and helps improve economy and emissions.

It's come about fairly quickly as it has been created by a partner company called Dirks.

Is the VW Transporter MHEV a full hybrid?

VW refers to the MHEV as a 'parallel mild hybrid', and the battery isn't there to take over from the diesel engine, but rather to help it out - a bit like having someone there to give you a bit of a shove when you are on a bicycle.

VW Transporter mild hybrid at the IAA

Because the diesel engine is always running and it can't be powered on zero emissions, this Transporter will still have to pay things like the London Congestion Charge.

The engine in question is a standard one from VW's line up - it is a 102hp diesel which is paired to a five-speed manual gearbox. The battery is a 48V unit that adds an extra 27kW, or 36hp, of power, which it send to a pair of water-cooled motors on the rear wheels. It doesn't have to be plugged in and is charged in the same way as a standard hybrid, using brake regeneration and the like to boost its power. 

VW Transporter mild hybrid at the IAA rear view

In standard form the engine should be good for around 47mpg, but VW says that the battery should improve economy by between 10-15%, so this could boost fuel consumption up to just over 54mpg.

Is the hybrid Transporter coming to the UK and how much does it cost?

The VW Transporter hybrid is going on sale in Germany, but it is not confirmed for the UK just yet. Volkswagen UK is talking to its equivalents in Germany to work out if it is worth bringing the hybrid model to the UK, and a final decision is expected by the end of 2018.

If you really can't wait and want to buy one in Germany it will cost you just under €43,000 including taxes. That's currently around £38,500.

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