Volkswagen will launch the new Passat GTE with an enhanced plug-in hybrid drive as both saloon and estate models.
The combination of electric motor and petrol engine brings great benefits: On the one hand, the GTE models with their combination of electric drive motor and efficient turbocharged petrol engine (160 kW / 218 PS system power) provide the benefits of a long-distance vehicle. On the other, they can be used as a zero-emission vehicle in the urban environment.
With the new Passat, this now works even more impressively because the new GTE is equipped with an even larger battery. The battery’s energy content has been increased from 9.9 kWh to 13.0 kWh – a plus of 31 per cent. The pure electric range was thus extended correspondingly. This is now up to approx. 55 km (34 miles) in the new, realistic WLTP cycle; this is equivalent to a range of around 70 km (43.5 miles) in the old cycle (NEDC) (20 km more than the predecessor). In addition, a new operating mode configuration has made it much easier to reserve sufficient battery capacity for the target destination in a city. The plug-in hybrid drive is recommended for most commuters as the ideal engine and the Passat GTE can be used as a zero-emission vehicle in a targeted manner in urban areas and can therefore be exempt from road tolls in major cities such as London (congestion charge).
The Passat GTE always starts in E-MODE if the lithium-ion battery is sufficiently charged. The high-voltage battery in the Passat GTE models can be charged via the external electricity grid or via the internal TSI engine and recuperation during the journey.
In order to be able to travel in E-MODE in town at the end of a longer trip, Volkswagen has reconfigured the operating modes of the hybrid system and therefore simplified battery recharging during the journey. Instead of the previous five operating modes, there are now only three:
– E-MODE (purely electric driving)
– GTE (sporty driving with full system power)
– Hybrid (automatic switchover between electric motor and TSI)
– The two previous modes Battery Hold (maintaining battery charge level) and Battery Charge (charge battery via TSI) were integrated into the Hybrid mode in the new Passat GTE.
The driver selects the Driving Mode menu via the Infotainment system to charge the battery during the journey. E-MODE and Hybrid modes are available for selection here. If the driver selects the Hybrid field, a battery with ten scale steps is shown together with an equals sign (“=”) as well as arrows pointing upwards (“∧”) or downwards (“∨”). If the driver selects “=“, the battery’s energy level is maintained at the same level; if they select “∧” then the battery is charged via TSI and recuperation to the selected level on the scale; if they select “∨” then the battery can be used until it falls to the minimum level.
The Passat GTE is equipped with a 3.6 kW battery charger. When connected to a conventional electrical grid with 230 volts / 2.3 kW, the battery – if completely empty – will be fully charged within six hours and 15 minutes. The charging time falls to four hours with a wall box or a charging station with 360 volts / 3.6 kW. Charging starts with connecting the plug. Delayed charging is another available option. The time delay can be set using either the Infotainment system or an app. The charging process can also be activated directly via the app – in much the same way as a remote control. In addition to the charging process, the temperature inside the vehicle can be raised or lowered – depending on the temperature outside – via the time preset function.
The new Passat GTE is powered by a turbo-charged stratified injection engine (1.4 TSI) and an electric motor. This TSI engine delivers 115 kW / 156 PS. The electric motor generates precisely 85kW / 115 PS. The new high-voltage battery – located in the vehicle floor in front of the rear axle – supplies the electric motor with power. For power transmission, the Volkswagen is equipped with an automatic 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DQ400E) developed especially for use in hybrid vehicles. Other components of the hybrid drive include power electronics (this converts the battery’s direct current into alternating current for the electric motor) and the battery charger.