Ease of repair is an important criterion in the design stage at Volkswagen. This is decided by which parts are damaged by which types of accident, how quickly this damage can be repaired and which material costs are involved.
Great ease of repair has a positive impact on maintenance costs which is two-fold. First of all, it has a crucial impact on parts prices and labour costs, and secondly, a vehicle’s insurance premium classification is based on the specific model’s ease of repair.
Front seats with the Easy Entry function offer convenient access to the rear seats in two-door vehicles. This is achieved thanks to the front seat, which can be slid very far forward, and the backrest, which can also be folded forward. A memory function makes it easy to adjust, as once they are folded back into place, the front seats return to their original position.
The Easy Fold functions makes it easier to climb into vehicles with multiple rows of seats. Both outer seats on the second row can be folded forward in a single motion.
With contactless boot lid opening, a single motion of the foot activates additional sensors on the rear of the vehicle. They detect the key and the system opens the boot lid by itself.
Depending on the model, Easy Open is available as an optional component of Keyless Access or Kessy (Keyless Entry Start and Exist System), Volkswagen’s automatic locking and starting system.
Electrohydraulic power steering is an enhancement of the well-known hydraulic power steering. The main difference lies in the drive in the hydraulic pump, which supplies the necessary pressure required for power steering. In electrohydraulic power steering, an electric motor drives the pump, which is steered according to the steering assistance required.
At very low speeds or when stationery the flow rate of the hydraulic pump is boosted for significant steering assistance. At high speeds, the engine speed is reduced, as the assistance is not required.
The electrohydraulic power steering helps save fuel, as energy is absorbed where required.
The electric drive or electric drive motor is the alternative drive source of the future. Beginning by optimising conventional combustion engines using brake energy recuperation (micro-hybrids), the development spans various hybrid systems (full hybrids, plug-in hybrids) with BEVs (battery electric vehicles) as the ultimate objective. Volkswagen’s powerful yet noiseless electric drives deliver up to 100 kW, depending on the vehicle, and provide their maximum power and maximum torque from the very first revolution. The development of the fuel cell, with the help of hydrogen, should generate electrical energy for the electric drive, and drive forward the development of lithium-ion batteries.
Electromechanical power steering is a form of speed-based electric power steering. It only operates when the driver needs it and manages without any hydraulic components whatsoever. The advantage in comparison to hydraulic power steering lies in the reduced fuel consumption and new comfort and safety functions: Active recuperation of steering in the central section improved the feeling of being centred and side wind compensation makes the driver’s life easier on a driving surface with an incline on one side or in constant side winds. Assist functions such as ‘Park Assist’ and ‘Lane Assist’ are implemented with its help. Individual adjustment of power steering to motorisation and equipment creates a unique steering feel.
Side wind compensation
In modern vehicles, the accelerator pedal works like a sensor. Based on the pedal position, it immediately detects the driver’s desired amount of power. Based on this output signal, the engine electronics unit controls the throttle valve, charge pressure and ignition. The electronic system makes electronic engine management easier, reacts quickly and is a technical prerequisite for Electronic Stability Control.
Electronic Stability Control
In all vehicles, when the brakes are operated, the vehicle’s centre of gravity moves forward. This runs the risk of the rear wheels locking due to reduced traction. Electronic brake pressure distribution uses solenoid valves in the ABS unit to control braking force for the rear wheels, thus ensuring maximum brake performance at the rear and front axle. Under normal conditions, it prevents the rear of the vehicle careering out of control due to ‘overbraked’ rear wheels.
The electronic brake pressure distribution function is included in the ABS function. EBD’s area of activity ends when the ABS control comes into play.
The electronic differential lock XDL is an extension of the EDL function. However, XDL does not react to traction slip, but the easing of strain on the front wheel inside the corner when corners are taken quickly. XDL puts pressure from the ESC hydraulics on the wheel inside the corner to prevent it from spinning. This improves traction and reduces the tendency to understeer. The pressure level ranges roughly between 5 and 15 bar. The driving experience is similar to a controlled differential lock, in a ‘softer’ form. The precise build-up of brake pressure on one side of the vehicle makes its behaviour on corners faster, more accurate and more sporty.
Electronic Stability Control detects critical driving situations, such as a risk of skidding, and specifically prevents the vehicle from careering out of control.
To allow Electronic Stability Control to react to critical driving situations, the system must obtain information constantly. For instance, this information may include where the driver is steering and where the vehicle is going. The system gets an answer to the first question from the steering angle sensor and wheel speed sensors. Based on both sets of information, the control unit calculates the target steering direction and target driving behaviour. Other important items of information are the yaw rate and lateral acceleration of the vehicle. The control unit uses this information to calculate the vehicle’s actual status.
Electronic Stability Control prevents vehicle instability when handling corners, which can occur either when speed is not adjusted, there is an unexpected change in the driving surface (becoming wet, slippery or dirty) or the vehicle needs to swerve suddenly. In this case, it does not matter whether the instability results in understeering (vehicle moves to the outer edge of the corner despite the wheels being turned) or oversteering (rear careering out of control).
The Electronic Stability Control processing unit detects the type of instability based on data supplied by the sensor system and controls the correction via intervention in the braking system and engine management. If the vehicle is understeered, Electronic Stability Control slows down the rear wheel inside the corner. At the same time, it reduces engine output until the vehicle has stabilised again. Electronic Stability Control prevents oversteering with a specific response from the front brake on the outside of the corner and an intervention in the engine and gear management. Increasing experience and a considerably more sensitive sensor system help to constantly develop this complex control system.
The system includes the following safety and comfort features:
Engine management system
Lateral acceleration sensor
Driver inactivity triggers ‘Emergency Assist’. If the driver does not demonstrate any steering activity, they shall be encouraged to begin steering again by means of visual, audio and physical signals (braking jolt).
If a driver who is unfit to drive does not react to these signals, ‘Emergency Assist’ keeps the vehicle in lane, activates the hazard warning lights and activates the ACC in order to continually reduce the speed until the vehicle comes to a standstill. The ACC reacts to slow-moving vehicles in front and slows down more where necessary to avoid collisions. A steering intervention or press on a pedal by the driver can interrupt the braking strategy at any time. If the driving environment permits, the vehicle is manoeuvred to the outermost lane.
Adaptive Cruise Control ACC
‘Lane Assist’ lane keeping system
An emission is the issue of substances or forms of energy into the environment. The main emissions from road traffic are carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrocarbons (HC) and CO2. Diesel engines also emit particulates (soot and dust). Modern filtration systems reduce them.
European emissions standards are statutory regulations of the European Union. They determine limits for pollutants (nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, particle mass and count). Since 1 September 2017, the Euro 6d-TEMP emission standard has applied to new manufacturer vehicle types. As of 1 September 2018, it applies to all new approvals. Other standards apply in other regions around the world (e.g. TIER/LEV in the US).
Energy management independently ensures that there is always enough energy available to start the engine, depending on battery charge level and temperature. This also applies if the vehicle has been switched off for a longer period of time.
Modern vehicles use energy from their batteries even when idle. Traffic broadcast storage, anti-theft alarms and remote control receivers constantly consume a small amount of electricity. If the battery charge level is becoming critical, energy management reduces consumption when idle by gradually switching off the features consuming energy. While driving, dynamic energy management monitors battery voltage and charging activity on an ongoing basis. If necessary, the system increases the idling speed slightly to increase performance of the charge generator. In extreme cases, components which consume a lot of power, such as seat or rear window heating, are temporarily deactivated. Comfort doesn't suffer as a result – in ordinary running, the driver won't notice this stoppage occur.
Engine Braking Control, or EBC, prevents the drive wheels’ tendency to lock through engine braking on slippery surfaces. This occurs when the driver abruptly takes their foot off the accelerator or quickly shifts down a gear. The engine's braking impact results in a tendency for the drive wheels to slip. They briefly lose traction and the driving status becomes unstable. In these situations, EBC maintains driving stability and improves safety.
The EBC control unit receives the necessary information from the wheel speed sensors and the engine or gearbox control unit via the data bus. If the control unit detects the drive wheels slipping, the EBC sends a signal to the motor control unit via the data bus. The engine speed is increased slightly until the drive wheels are turning in line with the vehicle speed. This means the vehicle can still be steered and driving stability maintained. Engine Braking Control operates across the entire speed range.
Wheel speed sensors
The engine management system’s main task is to coordinate all parameters in order to ensure the most economic low-emission operation of the engine possible.
The engine management system is regulated taking into account engine speed, engine temperature, fuel type (detected using a knock sensor) and accelerator pedal position. All incoming information is processed in the control unit and used to determine the control signals for individual assembly groups. 16 or 32-bit processors are required to process the large amount of data.
Depending on the engine type, the aspects controlled include ignition time, injection quantity, injection time, exhaust gas recirculation, throttle valve position, intake manifold position, variable turbine geometry (for turbocharger) and variable valve timing. In the event of deviations from normal operation, relevant information is stored in the event memory so it can be examined at the next service.
Electronic accelerator pedal (EPC)
“e-Remote” is rather like a remote control and provides access to the key functions of Volkswagen electric and hybrid vehicles. Users can access the functions from their computer or even conveniently from their smartphone, thanks to the Car-Net app.
Volkswagen’s optional ergonomic seats can ease the strain on the body and enable comfortable posture even on long journeys.
The ergoActive driver’s seat includes features such as a 14-way setting including a manual height, angle and depth adjuster. It is also equipped with a height adjuster for the head restraints and electric four-way lumbar support with massage function.
The ergoComfort driver's seat also has a 14-way setting that manually adjusts the longitudinal position, seat height, seat and backrest angle, the lengthwise seat depth adjuster and the height adjuster for the head restraint. It is also equipped with electric four-way lumbar support. This is also available with an optional massage function. Using the optional memory function, preferred seat adjustments and the alignment of the electrically adjustable, foldable and heatable exterior mirror with surround lighting can be saved.
Recommendations for optimum seat adjustment:
Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) is one of the main benchmarks of vehicle safety today. Members of Euro NCAP include traffic authorities from various EU member states, the FIA and European automobile associations such as ADAC.
The tests set by Euro NCAP provide measurements in the following four areas:
The rating was given as a result with a maximum of five stars in each individual category until February 2009. Since February 2009, vehicles have a received a combined overall rating with a maximum rating of five stars.
Exhaust gas recirculation (AGR ) refers to the controlled reintroduction of combustion gases into the combustion chamber. This is an effective way to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) during fuel combustion.
During combustion of the fuel-air mixture, the formation of nitrogen oxides increases disproportionately to the increase in combustion temperature. Returning part of the exhaust gas to the combustion chamber lowers the combustion temperature and reduces the formation of nitrogen oxides. The controlled addition of exhaust gas can therefore have an influence on exhaust gas behaviour according to the load conditions of the engine. In EGR, the exhaust gas is returned to the intake port via a system of pipes using a valve electronically controlled by the engine management. Once there, it is drawn into the combustion chamber again.