Hybrids Are Slow? 185 MPH Bonneville Jetta Says Otherwise

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2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid land speed record car

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid land speed record car

Enlarge Photo

For a week each year, speed freaks from across the globe descend on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, for a chance at walking away with a land speed record.

All sorts of vehicles show up, but predictably, being green isn't always on the minds of the competitors.

Still, there are other ways of proving that green technology works, even if it's not always about sipping gas. Volkswagen has shown just that, by walking away with a record 185.394 mph with its 45 mpg Jetta Hybrid.

With Motor Trend journalist Carlos Lago at the wheel, the modified production Jetta Hybrid beat the previous hybrid record, from a Toyota Prius, by over 50 mph.

The powertrain was modified by Volkswagen R&D straight from Germany, and engineers from VW's California test facility were there to supervise the engine and hybrid drive calibration. The car was built by salt racing experts at A-Salt Racing and Advanced Product Engineering, from California.

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid land speed record car

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid land speed record car

Enlarge Photo
The Southern California Timing Association, the body that hosts Bonneville Speed Week, has no dedicated hybrid category just yet, so the 185 mph record isn't official--but the team will be having another go at a later date, when it becomes eligible for an official record.

Lago commented that the aspect he was most impressed with was the Jetta Hybrid's near-silent starts on electric power--before the engine kicked in to crank up the speed.

So next time someone tells you hybrids are slow, just laugh it off.

Not only can you buy 150 mph-plus hybrid sport sedans, but even a hybrid Jetta can do over 180 mph...

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