Golf Ecomatic

GOLF ECOMATIC

The Volkswagen Golf Ecomatic was launched in the UK on 1 July 1994. It remained on sale for one year. The following UK information and bullet points were released at launch.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF ECOMATIC OFFERS NEW CONCEPT IN MOTORING

A revolutionary new semi-automatic diesel Volkswagen Golf called the Ecomatic, which offers impressive urban fuel consumption figures and radically reduced emissions is launched on 1 July 1994.

Working on the principal of a cyclist who only pedals when power is needed, the engine cuts out when the accelerator pedal is lifted, but springs rapidly back to life when the pedal is pressed again.

Powered by a catalyst equipped 64 bhp diesel engine, the average driver sees a 22 per cent improvement in town fuel consumption compared with a standard 64 bhp Golf diesel and a 50 per cent improvement over a similar petrol model.

Government fuel consumption figures strongly underline the potential of the Golf Ecomatic which has an urban figure of 61.4 mpg, which compares with 43.5 mpg for the standard 64 bhp Golf diesel and 34.4 mpg for the 1.4 litre petrol version.

The Golf Ecomatic is also the first Volkswagen capable of running on biodiesel, a fuel made from rape seed. To make this posssible, all the seals in the fuel system have been hardened.

Golf Ecomatic offers reduced emissions In addition to ultra-low town fuel consumption, the Golf Ecomatic generates ultra-low emissions. In comparison with a standard Golf catalyst diesel, already one of the cleanest cars, the Golf Ecomatic provides the following savings:

- CO emissions fall by 36 per cent

- CO2 emissions are reduced by 22 per cent

- HC and NOx emissions are reduced by 25 per cent

- Particulate emissions fall by 11 per cent

Noise pollution is another urban nuisance, but with engine operating time reduced by up to 60 per cent in towns, the Golf Ecomatic provides an answer.

How the Ecomatic system works

The Golf Ecomatic has a similar engine, clutch plate and five speed manual gearbox to the standard Golf diesel. Getting into the car the driver will notice the lack of a clutch pedal, three extra warning lights, and a button on the end of the wiper stalk.

At the heart of the system is an electronic control unit called Digi-Swing that starts and stops the engine, controls the automatic clutch and engages and disengages the drive smoothly.

With the gearlever in neutral a turn of the ignition key will start the engine in the normal way. To move away the driver engages first gear and presses the accelerator. Gear changes are made by lifting the accelerator and moving the gear lever. For the best fuel consumption, upward gearchanges should be made when the orange gearshift symbol illuminates.

Once underway the engine will cut automatically after around a second whenever the accelerator is lifted. When in reverse, for ease of parking the system doesn't cut out. The process is so quick the driver will be unaware the starter motor has cut in or out.

There may be times such as negotiating a steep descent or driving in snow, when engine braking is needed. Under these conditions the button on the end of the wiper stalk is pressed and permanent engine braking is obtained.

Golf Ecomatic questions answered

Many drivers will ask questions about the new car such as how do the servo brakes work when the engine is dead?

The vacuum brakes have both an engine driven and an electric vacuum pump. The electric vacuum pump provides assistance when the engine is stopped, but should this pump fail the engine is restarted automatically.

To sustain the various systems the Ecomatic has a battery that is 50 per cent larger than standard, plus a smaller battery that stabilises the voltage so the headlights don't flicker when the engine restarts at night.

In total the Ecomatic has enough battery power to coast with the engine off and the headlights on for nine hours in one stretch. If battery power falls below a predetermined level the engine is automatically restarted.

A small electric pump provides effective heat output for up to eight minutes when the engine is not running.

Marketing the Golf Ecomatic

Volkswagen expects to sell around 1000 Golf Ecomatics in the UK in the first year and several major UK organisations have already expressed great interest in this new model.

A diesel engine in L trim, has been chosen as diesel users are more receptive to reducing car running costs and it enables Volkswagen to bring the car onto the market at the lowest price possible. Also, starting characteristics are greatly improved with a diesel engine.

The Golf Ecomatic is built to the same safety standards as other Golfs and it meets the tough US requirements.

It has the same level of equipment as the Golf L diesel and standard features include power steering, a five speed gearbox, removable Sony radio cassette, side impact protection bars, folding rear seat and dust and pollen filter. The price of the Golf Ecomatic is £11,495.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF ECOMATIC - BULLET POINTS

Is the Golf Ecomatic different to drive?

Yes, but once the driver is used to it, it is easier. With semi-automatic transmission there is no clutch pedal, perfect for town driving; and more fuel efficient than a car with a normal automatic gearbox. The driver shifts gears normally and soon gets used to the relaxing progress through busy traffic, letting the computer work the Ecomatic system. Unlike some semi-automatics there is no unwanted loss of drive if a hand is rested on the gear lever.

Three extra warning lights

Green light with symbol of an engine plus a turning wheel indicates that engine will not cut out automatically until the engine coolant has reached 40 deg C.

Orange light with symbol of an engine plus a brake drum indicates that engine braking has been selected.

Orange light with symbol of a gear-shift pattern comes on to indicate that an upward shift will give best fuel consumption. Light flashes when a downward shift is necessary.

Brake operation with engine off

There are two vacuum pumps, one mechanical engine driven pump and one electric vacuum pump. The electric pump provides vacuum when the engine is not running. Should the vacuum pump fail the engine is automatically re-started. Should the battery voltage fall below a pre-determined level the engine is also re-started.

Engine braking

Obtained by depressing the button on the end of the windscreen wiper stalk. Engine runs at all times under this condition. The function is cancelled by pressing the button a second time.

Safety devices

If the driver's door or the bonnet is opened with the ignition switched on and the engine off the Ecomatic system is automatically switched off to avoid an unwanted engine re-start. The ignition must be switched off and the starter operated manually to drive away again.

Heater operation with engine off

A small electric pump circulates coolant from the engine through the heater unit. The engine block becomes a storage heater supplying effective heat output for up to ten minutes with the engine off.

Steering operation with the engine off

The steering rack is a standard hydraulically assisted unit. The hydraulic power is supplied from an electric pump that operates independently of the engine. This system absorbs less power and consumes less fuel than a conventional power steering system.

Is there enough battery power?

A standard Volkswagen Golf diesel has a large battery. The one in the Ecomatic is around 50 per cent bigger at 92 ah. It is large enough to permit the Ecomatic to stand with the engine off and the headlights on for up to 9 hours, or with the side lights on for two days and two nights.

Will the battery go flat?

If the battery voltage falls below a pre-determined level with the Ecomatic system in operation, the engine is automatically re-started to re-charge. A large, 90amp alternator rapidly restores battery power.

An extra battery

The Ecomatic has a second, small motorcycle-type 12 volt battery. This temporarily operates the main electrical systems under instruction from the main computer to keep the voltage constant during starter motor operation. It avoids conditions such as a temporary dimming of the headlights at night.

Is the starter motor up to the job?

The largest load, and the most wear and tear on a starter motor with a diesel engine takes place during a cold start. Once warm, and under automatic operation the starter operates for only a fraction of a second. The computer senses the engine firing, usually after just a quarter of a turn of the crankshaft. Development work showed a need to upgrade battery

and alternator but there were no endurance problems with the substantial pre-engage starter motor of the Golf diesel.

Is the Ecomatic system proven?

Volkswagen has been researching and developing the principle for more than ten years. Prior to building production versions a large fleet of pre-production examples underwent extensive trials with German police to prove reliability, driver acceptance and fuel saving performance.

Can the system be abused?

Like a conventional automatic transmission the Ecomatic system is pre-programmed to protect itself against most kinds of abuse. Clutch abuse, to which cars with conventional transmissions are susceptible, is one area where the Ecomatic has such protection.

How much fuel can be saved?

In town without any special concessions by the driver the Ecomatic should save about 22 per cent on fuel compared with the same diesel car driven with the system switched off. Town fuel consumption would be around half that of a similar conventional petrol car. With familiarity the saving should be around 30 per cent in town.

What are the reductions in emissions?

The environmental credentials of the Golf Ecomatic have been verified by the Warren Spring Laboratory, the UK Government agency with responsibility for air quality measurement. They found the Golf Ecomatic to be one of the least polluting of fossil fuelled cars tested in town conditions beating even catalyst petrol cars comprehensively on all counts tested, with the exception of oxides of nitrogen. In this one area the Ecomatic was only very narrowly undercut. Carbon monoxide emissions were almost unmeasurable and were more than 200 times lower than in the case of non-catalyst petrol cars.

Compared with the standard-setting catalyst Golf diesel reductions are as follows:

  • carbon dioxide down by 22 per cent
  • unburnt hydrocarbons down by 25 per cent
  • carbon monoxide down by 36 per cent
  • particulates down by 11 per cent
  • engine operating time in town down by up to 60 per cent compared with a modern catalyst diesel car.

Three surprises!

When a diesel idles it runs very lean, breathing large quantities of cool air in proportion to the small amount of fuel burned. This tends reduce the temperature of the catalytic converter reducing its efficiency. Tests have proven the catalytic converter of the Golf Ecomatic actually stays hotter because the engine idles so little.

NOx emissions, normally higher in a diesel are reduced by a much larger percentage than the experts predicted. The Warren Spring Laboratory repeated tests several times before believing the Volkswagen claims. These emissions rise with high combustion temperatures and pressures. The Ecomatic runs with relatively lower combustion chamber temperatures in town and hence returns NOx reductions much larger than even the fuel consumption savings.

The Warren Spring Laboratory takes samples before each test of the ambient air the car is breathing. With the Ecomatic they found some substances existed in smaller quantities in the car's exhaust gases than in the ambient air.

ends

GOLF ECOMATIC

The Volkswagen Golf Ecomatic was launched in the UK on 1 July 1994. It remained on sale for one year. The following UK information and bullet points were released at launch.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF ECOMATIC OFFERS NEW CONCEPT IN MOTORING

A revolutionary new semi-automatic diesel Volkswagen Golf called the Ecomatic, which offers impressive urban fuel consumption figures and radically reduced emissions is launched on 1 July 1994.

Working on the principal of a cyclist who only pedals when power is needed, the engine cuts out when the accelerator pedal is lifted, but springs rapidly back to life when the pedal is pressed again.

Powered by a catalyst equipped 64 bhp diesel engine, the average driver sees a 22 per cent improvement in town fuel consumption compared with a standard 64 bhp Golf diesel and a 50 per cent improvement over a similar petrol model.

Government fuel consumption figures strongly underline the potential of the Golf Ecomatic which has an urban figure of 61.4 mpg, which compares with 43.5 mpg for the standard 64 bhp Golf diesel and 34.4 mpg for the 1.4 litre petrol version.

The Golf Ecomatic is also the first Volkswagen capable of running on biodiesel, a fuel made from rape seed. To make this posssible, all the seals in the fuel system have been hardened.

Golf Ecomatic offers reduced emissions In addition to ultra-low town fuel consumption, the Golf Ecomatic generates ultra-low emissions. In comparison with a standard Golf catalyst diesel, already one of the cleanest cars, the Golf Ecomatic provides the following savings:

- CO emissions fall by 36 per cent

- CO2 emissions are reduced by 22 per cent

- HC and NOx emissions are reduced by 25 per cent

- Particulate emissions fall by 11 per cent

Noise pollution is another urban nuisance, but with engine operating time reduced by up to 60 per cent in towns, the Golf Ecomatic provides an answer.

How the Ecomatic system works

The Golf Ecomatic has a similar engine, clutch plate and five speed manual gearbox to the standard Golf diesel. Getting into the car the driver will notice the lack of a clutch pedal, three extra warning lights, and a button on the end of the wiper stalk.

At the heart of the system is an electronic control unit called Digi-Swing that starts and stops the engine, controls the automatic clutch and engages and disengages the drive smoothly.

With the gearlever in neutral a turn of the ignition key will start the engine in the normal way. To move away the driver engages first gear and presses the accelerator. Gear changes are made by lifting the accelerator and moving the gear lever. For the best fuel consumption, upward gearchanges should be made when the orange gearshift symbol illuminates.

Once underway the engine will cut automatically after around a second whenever the accelerator is lifted. When in reverse, for ease of parking the system doesn't cut out. The process is so quick the driver will be unaware the starter motor has cut in or out.

There may be times such as negotiating a steep descent or driving in snow, when engine braking is needed. Under these conditions the button on the end of the wiper stalk is pressed and permanent engine braking is obtained.

Golf Ecomatic questions answered

Many drivers will ask questions about the new car such as how do the servo brakes work when the engine is dead?

The vacuum brakes have both an engine driven and an electric vacuum pump. The electric vacuum pump provides assistance when the engine is stopped, but should this pump fail the engine is restarted automatically.

To sustain the various systems the Ecomatic has a battery that is 50 per cent larger than standard, plus a smaller battery that stabilises the voltage so the headlights don't flicker when the engine restarts at night.

In total the Ecomatic has enough battery power to coast with the engine off and the headlights on for nine hours in one stretch. If battery power falls below a predetermined level the engine is automatically restarted.

A small electric pump provides effective heat output for up to eight minutes when the engine is not running.

Marketing the Golf Ecomatic

Volkswagen expects to sell around 1000 Golf Ecomatics in the UK in the first year and several major UK organisations have already expressed great interest in this new model.

A diesel engine in L trim, has been chosen as diesel users are more receptive to reducing car running costs and it enables Volkswagen to bring the car onto the market at the lowest price possible. Also, starting characteristics are greatly improved with a diesel engine.

The Golf Ecomatic is built to the same safety standards as other Golfs and it meets the tough US requirements.

It has the same level of equipment as the Golf L diesel and standard features include power steering, a five speed gearbox, removable Sony radio cassette, side impact protection bars, folding rear seat and dust and pollen filter. The price of the Golf Ecomatic is £11,495.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF ECOMATIC - BULLET POINTS

Is the Golf Ecomatic different to drive?

Yes, but once the driver is used to it, it is easier. With semi-automatic transmission there is no clutch pedal, perfect for town driving; and more fuel efficient than a car with a normal automatic gearbox. The driver shifts gears normally and soon gets used to the relaxing progress through busy traffic, letting the computer work the Ecomatic system. Unlike some semi-automatics there is no unwanted loss of drive if a hand is rested on the gear lever.

Three extra warning lights

Green light with symbol of an engine plus a turning wheel indicates that engine will not cut out automatically until the engine coolant has reached 40 deg C.

Orange light with symbol of an engine plus a brake drum indicates that engine braking has been selected.

Orange light with symbol of a gear-shift pattern comes on to indicate that an upward shift will give best fuel consumption. Light flashes when a downward shift is necessary.

Brake operation with engine off

There are two vacuum pumps, one mechanical engine driven pump and one electric vacuum pump. The electric pump provides vacuum when the engine is not running. Should the vacuum pump fail the engine is automatically re-started. Should the battery voltage fall below a pre-determined level the engine is also re-started.

Engine braking

Obtained by depressing the button on the end of the windscreen wiper stalk. Engine runs at all times under this condition. The function is cancelled by pressing the button a second time.

Safety devices

If the driver's door or the bonnet is opened with the ignition switched on and the engine off the Ecomatic system is automatically switched off to avoid an unwanted engine re-start. The ignition must be switched off and the starter operated manually to drive away again.

Heater operation with engine off

A small electric pump circulates coolant from the engine through the heater unit. The engine block becomes a storage heater supplying effective heat output for up to ten minutes with the engine off.

Steering operation with the engine off

The steering rack is a standard hydraulically assisted unit. The hydraulic power is supplied from an electric pump that operates independently of the engine. This system absorbs less power and consumes less fuel than a conventional power steering system.

Is there enough battery power?

A standard Volkswagen Golf diesel has a large battery. The one in the Ecomatic is around 50 per cent bigger at 92 ah. It is large enough to permit the Ecomatic to stand with the engine off and the headlights on for up to 9 hours, or with the side lights on for two days and two nights.

Will the battery go flat?

If the battery voltage falls below a pre-determined level with the Ecomatic system in operation, the engine is automatically re-started to re-charge. A large, 90amp alternator rapidly restores battery power.

An extra battery

The Ecomatic has a second, small motorcycle-type 12 volt battery. This temporarily operates the main electrical systems under instruction from the main computer to keep the voltage constant during starter motor operation. It avoids conditions such as a temporary dimming of the headlights at night.

Is the starter motor up to the job?

The largest load, and the most wear and tear on a starter motor with a diesel engine takes place during a cold start. Once warm, and under automatic operation the starter operates for only a fraction of a second. The computer senses the engine firing, usually after just a quarter of a turn of the crankshaft. Development work showed a need to upgrade battery

and alternator but there were no endurance problems with the substantial pre-engage starter motor of the Golf diesel.

Is the Ecomatic system proven?

Volkswagen has been researching and developing the principle for more than ten years. Prior to building production versions a large fleet of pre-production examples underwent extensive trials with German police to prove reliability, driver acceptance and fuel saving performance.

Can the system be abused?

Like a conventional automatic transmission the Ecomatic system is pre-programmed to protect itself against most kinds of abuse. Clutch abuse, to which cars with conventional transmissions are susceptible, is one area where the Ecomatic has such protection.

How much fuel can be saved?

In town without any special concessions by the driver the Ecomatic should save about 22 per cent on fuel compared with the same diesel car driven with the system switched off. Town fuel consumption would be around half that of a similar conventional petrol car. With familiarity the saving should be around 30 per cent in town.

What are the reductions in emissions?

The environmental credentials of the Golf Ecomatic have been verified by the Warren Spring Laboratory, the UK Government agency with responsibility for air quality measurement. They found the Golf Ecomatic to be one of the least polluting of fossil fuelled cars tested in town conditions beating even catalyst petrol cars comprehensively on all counts tested, with the exception of oxides of nitrogen. In this one area the Ecomatic was only very narrowly undercut. Carbon monoxide emissions were almost unmeasurable and were more than 200 times lower than in the case of non-catalyst petrol cars.

Compared with the standard-setting catalyst Golf diesel reductions are as follows:

  • carbon dioxide down by 22 per cent
  • unburnt hydrocarbons down by 25 per cent
  • carbon monoxide down by 36 per cent
  • particulates down by 11 per cent
  • engine operating time in town down by up to 60 per cent compared with a modern catalyst diesel car.

Three surprises!

When a diesel idles it runs very lean, breathing large quantities of cool air in proportion to the small amount of fuel burned. This tends reduce the temperature of the catalytic converter reducing its efficiency. Tests have proven the catalytic converter of the Golf Ecomatic actually stays hotter because the engine idles so little.

NOx emissions, normally higher in a diesel are reduced by a much larger percentage than the experts predicted. The Warren Spring Laboratory repeated tests several times before believing the Volkswagen claims. These emissions rise with high combustion temperatures and pressures. The Ecomatic runs with relatively lower combustion chamber temperatures in town and hence returns NOx reductions much larger than even the fuel consumption savings.

The Warren Spring Laboratory takes samples before each test of the ambient air the car is breathing. With the Ecomatic they found some substances existed in smaller quantities in the car's exhaust gases than in the ambient air.

ends

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