Carbon-neutral, sustainable mobility is the way to go for the automobile industry, and there’s been a lot of hoopla around this idea. This week, German behemoth Volkswagen has laid out its eco motoring strategy by announcing natural gas propulsion and a new coasting function for internal combustion engines at the 38th Vienna Motor Symposium.

The first in the new green push is the facelifted Golf, shown first late last year, and now launched in Blue Motion guise. Powered by the new 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, it introduces a coasting function that shuts the engine off completely. Working in tandem tandem with a DSG gearbox, the system offers hybrid-like characteristics by deactivating the engine when the driver lifts off the throttle at speed of up to 130kph. Volkswagen claims this will help reduce fuel onsumption by up to 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres overall and by 0.2 litres pr 100 kilometres compared to the current coasting function with the engine running.

“Partially and fully electric drive systems form a key pillar of our drive system strategy,” says Friedrich Eichler, head of Volkswagen Powertrain Development. “Our range of technology, especially that available for the Golf, now covers all customer preferences. The new 'Coasting - Engine off' micro hybrid system represents a low-cost level of electric- powered motoring on a 12-volt basis.” The system adds a compact lithium-ion battery that supplies the electric units with power when coasting, with a so-called Q-diode regulating the current flow between the lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries. The engine can be reawakened from coasting mode in a number of ways, based on the car’s speed and driving conditions, using the starter, the clutches of the DSG, or both.

Volkswagen has also introduced a new compact three-cylinder, 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that can also work on compressed natural gas. This will make its debut in the all-new Polo supermini soon.