Tuesday, February 14, 2006

VW Research Chief Calls California Regs "Stupid," Says No Hybrids Without Them

The Auto Prophet points to the latest issue of Automotive Engineering International, which includes an interview with Volkswagen's Wilfried Bockelmann, Director of Research and Development, who expresses a, shall we say, unfashionably candid assessment of the current rage over hybrids.

The Auto Prophet nearly fainted when reading this graph:

"'Nobody would deal with hybrids if we did not have the 'stupid' regulations in California that make them necessary,' he said. 'But we have to have one of these models on the market if we want to sell our cars there in 2008-9. With the right kind of driving cycle it will save fuel in Tokyo or Paris, but not when it comes to typical U.S. driving habits, such as a 55 mile drive to work with just the last five in stop-and-go conditions. Even on I-75 in Detroit, it is a case of slow cruising at 30-40mph -and at that speed you are not saving much fuel in a hybrid.'"

So what is it in the California Air Resources Board regs that has Bockelmann succumbing to a bad case of anti-PC hoof-in-mouth disease? The Auto Prophet suggests checking out this page from CARB's web site.

Two predictions: One, this is the last we will ever see of Mr. Bockelmann in the automotive media because, two, his superiors just ordered the VW public relations shop to never, ever again allow him anywhere near a journalist.

I mean the nerve of the guy, to tell the absolute truth like that!