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Volkswagen to introduce Golf plug-in hybrid at Geneva; first deliveries in autumn

Golf GTE_03
Golf GTE plug-in hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen will formally unveil the Golf GTE—a new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the Golf hatchback combining electric mobility with the dynamics of a Golf GTI—at the Geneva Motor Show next month. The GTE marks the fifth drive type for the Golf, which is already available with gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and battery-electric drives, varying with markets. Golf GTE will arrive at dealers in the first markets world-wide in autumn 2014.

The Golf GTE packages a 1.4-liter 150 PS (148 hp, 110 kW) TSI direct-injection gasoline engine with a 75 kW electric motor; combined system power is 204 PS (150 hp), with torque of 350 N·m (258 lb-ft). Using the electric motor alone, the GTE is capable of speeds of 81 mph (130 km/h); with the TSI engine as well, the Golf GTE can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and on to 135 mph (217 km/h).

With the addition of the plug-in hybrid GTE, the Golf line incorporates all the relevant drive systems of today: gasoline, diesel, natural gas, hybrid, and electric.
This variety of products—the Golf TSI (including GTI); Golf TDI (including GTD); Golf TGI (powered by CNG); e-Golf; and Golf GTE—is made possible by the modular transverse matrix assembly kit, abbreviated to MQB (modularen Querbaukasten).
This modular technology platform, initially introduced with the current Golf in 2012 (earlier post), enables the manufacturing of Golf models with gasoline, diesel, natural gas, electric and hybrid drives from bumper to bumper at Volkswagen factories.
As soon as developments make it possible, Volkswagen added, the first Golf with a hydrogen fuel cell will become part of the range of drives.

The name of the Golf GTE reflects its position in the line-up alongside the iconic gasoline-powered GTI and the diesel GTD: ‘GT’ stands for ‘Gran Tourismo’, ‘I’ stands for ‘Injection’, ‘D’ for Diesel and ‘E’ for Electricity.

The Golf GTE offers combined cycle fuel economy (provisional) of about 157 mpg US (1.5 l/100 km) and CO2 emissions of 35 g/km. Theoretical range is around 580 miles (933 km).

In pure electric mode (activated at the press of a button), the Golf GTE can travel up to 31 miles (50 km), depending on conditions. The 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged in around three and a half hours from a domestic outlet, or two and a half hours from a domestic wallbox. The battery weighs 120 kg, giving the GTE a total curbweight of 1,520 kg (3,351 lbs).

The Golf GTE uses a six-speed DSG gearbox with a triple-clutch system specially developed for hybrid vehicles. The electric motor is integrated into the gearbox housing, while further hybrid components include power electronics and a charger. An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air conditioning compressor make for energy-efficient braking and air conditioning.

Visually, the Golf GTE combines elements of the look of the e-Golf and the GTI. The front bumper features C-shaped LED daytime running lights, like those on the e-Golf, as well as aerodynamic horizontal fins, like those on the GTI. Where the GTI features red, the GTE has blue accents, including across the radiator grille and into the headlights. The headlights, along with all lights on the GTE, are LED.

Golf GTE_09
Click to enlarge.

The power meter supplements the tachometer on the left side of the instrument cluster; it also shows whether the high-voltage battery is being charged by regenerative braking or energy is being drawn from it. That is, the driver sees on this power meter how much system power is currently being used or at what intensity power is being regenerated. The speedometer remains on the right-hand side.

The color display which is located between the power meter and the speedometer (multifunction display “Plus”) also permanently shows the electrical driving range and the current operating mode. The lower segment of the multifunction display appears in a separate LED field—after starting the engine—along with the word "READY" which shows that the electric motor is ready to drive.

The 8-inch Discover Pro satellite navigation system with DAB radio and Bluetooth is standard, and includes bespoke functions for electric vehicles, including the ability to identify potential destinations on electric range, and electric charging points.

The current driving radius in “e-Mode” is shown by the 360° range in the local map. The highlighted area describes the all-electric driving range for a one-way trip. Charging stations can be displayed and used in route calculations.

The GTE will also feature an e-manager which allows the driver to preset vehicle charging, as well as interior cooling or heating. These functions can also be operated remotely using the Volkswagen Car-Net app on a smartphone.



The big selling point of this over the Volt is that the battery does not intrude, so that it is a cosy 5 seater rather than a strictly 4 seater.

Of course, it knocks the rubbish boot space in the Fords into touch too.

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The Golf BEV is 35k EURO the Volt/Ampera is 38k Euro so if this PHEV Golf is also about 38k EURO it means tough competition for the Ampera. I think this Golf PHEV is a much better car than the BEV Golf that is limited by short range, long charging time and low power. Still the comparable Golf GTI gasser is 28k Euro so 10k Euro extra for driving more green although not emission free.

I expect the year 2018 Tesla Model E will probably start at 45 EURO but it will be faster than the 7sec to 60mph and it will come with free lifetime long-distance EV supercharging. Also it will be entirely emission free and have more trunk space than the Golf. I expect many large cities to introduce emission free city centers in a few years so emission free will begin to be a real pleasant perk for BEVs and fuel cell cars (if the latter ever make it to the market).


The German manufacturers are going for 50km of EV range, I believe to enable them to qualify as emission free cars for cities, although since I do not speak German I have not been able to track down the references.

We don't know how much a 2018 Golf GTE will cost, as battery costs may drop for VW too, so it is a bit difficult to compare it to the Gen III Tesla about which we have almost no solid information.



The electric miles for Chevy Volt are more than per Nissan Leaf on average. Thats the absolute reality. Therefore Chevy Volt or Opel Ampera is more "emission free" than Golf electric or Nissan Leaf. Tesla is without competition but it is not within conventional car price level.
Pure BEV with 100 miles range is not real solution. It is still too limited and you have to own backup gasoline care which makes investment double and barely reducing emissions. I realy do not want speculate at which AER real BEV should start and how well charging network should be developed.
Congats VW finaly making something real on plug-in play ground.

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Darius I can only say yes to everything you say apart from that about the Leaf being more polluting than the PHEVs. The Leaf is zero emission the PHEVs are not. The Leaf's problem is that it is a worse car experience than any of the PHEVs or any gasser. Only Tesla has the recipe for making an emission free car that is a better car experience overall than a similar powered gasser. However, as you said their pricing range is not mass market territory. A 45k Euro Model E will not change that either but it will enable Tesla to sell much more than the 100k model s/x per year that is about the maximum potential of these 65k EURO + vehicles.


It is a pity they don't / can't build a version with 20 or 30 km E-range as this would make it lighter and cheaper.

But if the Emission free limit for cities could be reduced, this could become possible.

They should concentrate on regulations that would make ti easier to charge in many places. Not fast charge, just a top up so you can refuel while at work, but in lots of places.

For Instance, if you had 3KW refueling, you could add 6 Kw (or 24 miles) in 2 hours.


With improved batteries over the horizon, future PHEVs will most likely have more and more e-range. The next generation Prius PHEV may have 2X the current e-range with 1/2 the ICE power and probably 4X e-range and 1/4 the ICE power for the following generation etc.

After that, the ICE or FC range extender may become an option.


@Harvey, I have to disagree.

The trick with a PHEV is to use the smallest battery that can do your normal commute, and little else.

You use gasoline for the long journeys, benefiting from very rapid refueling (22MW for petrol).

say your commute is 12 miles, then you need about 12 miles (3KWh) of usable power if you can recharge at work, double that if you cannot.

(Maybe a little extra to avoid running the battery down too much).

Then you are done.
Adding more battery takes up money, space and weight.
It doesn't save a lot of fuel.

The problem of a pure EV is that you have to size the battery for long journeys (and you still have to hope you can find a fast charger). The benefit of a PHEV is that you can size the battery for the most common journey size and forget about the longer ones, which you can do on liquid fuels.

If you draw a histogram of your journey distances, you will probably find it has a peak at the commute distance, and then a long tail.
With an EV, you have to worry about the tail, with a PHEV, you don't.


Don't forget about battery cycle life. Battery life is determined in part by the number of cycles a battery is expected to provide over its operational lifetime. The more regularly and deeply a battery is discharged, the shorter this operational life will be. So yeah, you'll want "a little extra to avoid running the battery down too much" but you'll also need to think of the battery's next life.

But saying a battery has a cycle life doesn't mean if you use up the cycles the just ups and battery dies. No, battery cycle life is measured to how long the battery will still have 80% capacity. So if you size you pack for your normal commute, pad it a little to avoid deep discharges, and add 20% you'll double its operational lifetime.

Do I have that right?


Ai yes, you need to add a margin to your expected journey length.

But the beauty if a PHEV is that if you get it wrong, it doesn't matter as it can just switch to ICE.

Suppose you size it for a 12 mile (and back) commute, and then you get a new job with a 20 mile journey - no problem, you just do a section on ICE.

Now a really clever PHEV could learn your commute (using machine learning - it wouldn't be too hard) and make sure it keeps enough battery for the stop/start parts, while doing as much high speed stuff on ICE.


Speaking from experience, the thing that would make PHEVs more attractive is ubiquitous charging.  There are all kinds of places I like to go but if they are beyond my halfway range my choices are to (a) find a charger and park it for a while somewhere other than where I wanted to be, or (b) burn fuel.

This constraint tightens a lot in the winter, when battery range drops by as much as half when the mercury heads towards zero F.

If I could just plug in wherever I happened to stop, even for 20 minutes, those range constraints would get a lot looser.  One kWh is 3 to 4 miles of range, and comes across the wire in about 18 minutes.  Adding 3 miles here and 4 miles there makes a big difference.

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