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World premiere of new Volkswagen Passat; 8th generation brings plug-in hybrid option

The new Volkswagen Passat. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen unveiled the eight-generation Passat (earlier post) at the Volkswagen Design Centre in Potsdam. The new Passat made its global debut with new engines, less weight and with the latest assistance, Infotainment and convenience systems. The new Passat delivers improved fuel efficiency (up to 20%); diesel and gasoline powertrains; up to 85 kg less weight, and a plug-in hybrid option. At 1.1 million units a year (2013) Passat is the Volkswagen Group’s model series with the highest volume sold world-wide.

The new Passat will be available with 10 direct injection turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines—all new to the model range—covering a power range from 88 kW / 120 PS (118 hp) to 206 kW / 280 PS (276 hp). The engines all meet Euro 6 emission standards and both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions were lowered by up to 20%. All versions are equipped with a stop-start system and a regenerative braking mode. A dual clutch gearbox (DSG) is available as an option for all engine versions, and it is standard with the top engine.

For the first time, the Passat will also be offered with a plug-in hybrid drive: 115 kW (154 hp) TSI gasoline engine plus 80 kW electric motor and externally chargeable battery). With a system power output of 155 kW / 211 PS (208 hp) it will be Volkswagen’s most powerful plug-in hybrid and features an all-electric range of 50 km (31 miles). Its hybrid fuel consumption and emission figures are similar to the figures achieved by the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE (Golf GTE: 1.5 l/100 in the NEDC and 35 g CO2/km). (Earlier post.)

The TSI gasoline engines begin at a power output of 92 kW / 125 PS (123 hp). At the next power level, there is a 110 kW / 150 PS (148 hp) TSI with active cylinder management; the turbocharged 1.4-liter direct injection engine has a fuel consumption figure of 4.9 l/100 km (48 mpg US) equating to 115 g/km CO2—1.3 l/100 less than the comparable previous model.

Other power output levels are: 132 kW / 180 PS (177 hp); 162 kW / 220 PS (217 hp); and 206 kW / 280 PS (276 hp). All of the TSI engines can be ordered with a dual clutch gearbox. DSG is standard in models with 220 PS, 280 PS and in the Passat with a plug-in hybrid drive.

A technical highlight in the diesel range is the most powerful four-cylinder turbodiesel direct injection engine (TDI) ever offered by Volkswagen: a new 2.0-liter bi-turbo engine with 176 kW / 240 PS (236 hp), which consumes 5.3 l/100 (44.4 mpg US) equating to 139 g/km CO2. With this engine, the sedan reaches a top speed of 240 km/h (149 mph); in the wagon it is 238 km/h (148 mph). Due to its high maximum torque of 500 N·m (398 lb-ft), the 240 PS Passat will be equipped with a 4MOTION all-wheel drive system and a 7-speed DSG.

Assistance and convenience systems. New assistance, infotainment and convenience systems make individual mobility more sustainable, networked and communicative; they also play an active role in the driving process and make it even safer. Technologies include—along with the Active Info Display and Head-Up display—systems such as an app-based Rear Seat Entertainment system for table computers; Front Assist plus City Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring and three new global innovations: Emergency Assist (stops vehicle in emergency); Trailer Assist (assisted maneuvering with a trailer); and Traffic Assist.

Area View. The camera-based Area View, which gives the driver a view of the car’s surroundings, made its premiere in the Touareg in 2010. The system was developed to enable a 360-degree overview of the near surroundings and the traffic situation. The system was significantly advanced for the new Passat. Volkswagen is implementing the new generation of Area View for the first time in the Passat. The system is distinguished by extended functional features, higher camera resolution, obstacle detection and new 3D bird's eye view perspectives.

Park Assist. Park Assist enables semi-automatic parking in parking spaces parallel or perpendicular to the road. It can also back the car out of parallel parking spaces. With perpendicular parking spaces, the system not only assists in parking the car in reverse; it can also semi-automatically park in a forward direction.

Trailer Assist. Driving in reverse with a trailer is a challenge even for drivers who are experienced in this. Volkswagen is the first carmaker to market an assistance system that makes maneuvering a trailer easier: Trailer Assist. To back a trailer into an entryway from the street, all the driver needs to do is stop at a suitable spot and engage reverse gear. The system is activated by pushing a button. Then the current driving angle and possible driving angles are displayed in the instrument cluster. This is done by processing data from the rear view camera via image processing algorithms that evaluate the observed pivot angle of the trailer.

In this assistant, the mirror adjustment switch serves as a sort of joystick, and the driver can use it to adjust the desired driving direction of the car-trailer combination. The Passat follows the steering commands given by the driver via the mirror adjustment switch, and the driver only needs to operate the accelerator pedal and the brakes. The driving direction of the Passat is set by automatic control of the electromechanical servo steering system. It is always possible to make a correction via the mirror adjustment control.

Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert. This system can make a contribution towards avoiding serious accidents, in two situations in particular. First, on the highway, it detects quickly overtaking vehicles and slow vehicles in the blind spot, warns the driver and thereby makes overtaking safer. If the camera-based Lane Assist is installed in addition to Side Assist, the system responds to a steering movement towards the hazardous side with a warning stage (even of the turn indicator is not set), and the vehicle actively countersteers when a lane change is initiated.

Rear Traffic Alert also aids backing out of parking spaces perpendicular to the roadway in reverse. The radar-based sensor module detects vehicles that are approaching from the side. In case of an imminent collision, Rear Traffic Alert first outputs a visual warning then an acoustic warning. If the driver ignores the hazard, and there is high risk of collision, Rear Traffic Alert automatically initiates a brake intervention.

Traffic Assist. Volkswagen developed its Traffic Assist based on Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). The system makes driving in traffic jams or stop-and-go traffic much more comfortable. The foundation for the system is an adaptive lane tracking function at speeds below 60 km/h (37 mph). The system not only makes countersteering corrections when the car is leaving the lane; rather, Lane Assist continually keeps the Passat in the center of the lane by means of adaptive lane tracking.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is another assistance system that is integrated in Traffic Assist. When ACC is active it automatically handles braking and accelerator pedal including at stop-and-go traffic speeds. ACC and Lane Assist merge to form Traffic Assist: The system enables assisted transverse and longitudinal tracking. The car automatically steers, accelerates and brakes, but under the condition that drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel and participate in steering, so that they can intervene at any time.

Emergency Assist. Another system in which Lane Assist and ACC merge to create a new assistance system is Emergency Assist: as soon as the sensors detect that the driver is not exhibiting any steering, braking or acceleration activities, the system initiates various escalation stages of arousing the driver awake, and if the driver is still inactive it initiates an emergency stop. The hazard lights unit is automatically activated, and the Passat executes a slight steering maneuver to make surrounding traffic aware of the hazardous situation.

ACC prevents the vehicle from colliding with traffic ahead. Emergency Assist from Volkswagen is the first system of its kind. Moreover, in any Passat with an integrated mobile phone interface, the “Euro emergency phone number 112” can be called via “SOS emergency call” over the infotainment system, to place a call to an emergency response dispatcher in case of an emergency. This requires a phone coupled to the infotainment system via Bluetooth or an active SIM card in the “Premium” mobile phone interface.

Front Assist with City Emergency Braking. Front Assist is a system for warning and automatic braking in case of an imminent collision. One system component of Front Assist is City Emergency Braking. While Front Assist warns of insufficient space to vehicles ahead in traffic and frontal collision hazards at higher speeds and automatically brakes the vehicle if necessary, the City Emergency Braking function performs this role in urban traffic. Until now, the Emergency Braking system could only detect vehicles. In the new Passat, the more advanced system also recognizes pedestrians for the first time. Front Assist with City Emergency Braking is another example of democratization of driver assistance systems, because Volkswagen already offers this technology as standard from the Passat Comfortline.

Progressive steering. Progressive steering lets the Passat driver steer with smaller steering wheel inputs and fewer turns of the steering wheel to achieve a desired bend radius in turning. This means that the driver does not have to reach over the steering wheel as much in tight turns. In the new Passat, progressive steering is being offered in combination with a sport chassis or dynamic chassis control (DCC).

With progressive steering, it takes 2.1 turns of the steering wheel to reach the end position; without the optional system it is 2.75 turns. Progressive steering enables more precise and relaxed driving in the middle steering angles up to high speeds. On country roads with lots of bends, and when making turns, the driver experiences a plus in dynamics due to the more direct layout. At slow speeds, such as in the city or in parking, the Passat offers significantly easier handling thanks to the small steering inputs that are required.

Easy Close. Easy Open—the counterpart of Easy Close—was introduced in the seventh-generation Passat Estate in 2010. If the car is equipped with Keyless Access (automatic locking and engine starting system), a purposeful movement of the foot at the back of the vehicle is all that is needed to open the trunk. The human-machine interface here is a proximity sensor near the bumper, which detects the virtual kick movement.

In the eighth-generation Passat Estate this automatic boot lid opening function is now being supplemented by the Easy Close closing function. The trunk lid does not close until the person with the Passat key moves away from the back of the car; this gives the person an opportunity to conveniently remove luggage or shopping goods. The vehicle is also locked automatically. The closing function is activated by a double button in the boot lid.

Advance sales in Europe for the new Passat begin on Thursday, 10 July. Prices start from €25,875 (US$35,216).



Now that's impressive,

Patrick Free

Small improvements on the PHEV ... but still falling short of expectations to make a hit with that new mix.
As for many other progress minded people considering PHEV for my next car in Europe, my 1st interest is to move all my local commutes to "All Electric mode" consuming ZERO petrol and CO2 then. Since I have an average of 65KM/40M per day, up to 100KM/62M some days, this PHEV set with that still too small 50KM/31M range battery will require 2 x charges per day to perform that, which will be almost impossible for me to secure today (In can only control my home installation), plus 2 x charges per day would wear a good 3000 x cycles battery in # 5 Years only, means the reselling value of that PHEV when used will be "nothing".
WW Group need to get to optimum # 30KWH of battery in their PHEVs, to secure a 100M range per charge with all comfort, PLUS they need to increase more the Electric motors power targetting 200KW total, on all electric.
As my local commutes represent 80% of my yearly mileage, and I want to make them on all-electric mode, that electric mode can't deliver only 80KW ! No way. Less than 100KW is just ridiculous, and current BMW customers like me rather chase 200KW as a good number. Still keeping the ICE engine for longer trips and far away vacations.
To get there at a decent price, WW need to move to a new Tesla-like All Electric drive train platform, where only the Electric motors tract the car and the ICE engine is only used a power generator, not directly tracting the car. I don't thing WW has such a car of the future platform yet, they only follow EC regulations at minima with their step by step evolution. Hope with their new 3X larger battery rumored they will bring a better PHEV drive train to exploit it... The question is when...


VW are building cars which work within the limits of present battery technology and at reasonable cost.

Just trotting out a dream list is not too relevant.
The battery pack you describe would not even fit into the just redesigned new platforms.

Patrick Free

Then they need to plan that for when the widely pre-announced WW group 3X to 4X denser battery will be available, in 1Y or 2Y, but in the meantime try to offer half = 15KWH, so at least local commutes can be done with 1 x charge per day instead of 2, and a good 3000 x cycles battery last for 10 years, for a minored but acceptable resale value of the used cars tomorrow (Versus 20Y if one charge every 2 x days with 2X capacity).


I don't know what is not clear about their having designed the space in all their platforms for the present size battery.

They are not going to get 15kwh until energy densities increase.


I'm wondering if it would be feasible to build in he capability to add an auxiliary battery for drivers like Patrick. An extra 10 kwh of the Panasonic style batteries used in the Tesla might weigh an extra 50 kg, which is less than most passengers, and would add an extra 40-50 km range. The battery could be installed in the trunk which is probably not used in commuting applications and removed for longer trips where it would be dead weight after the first discharge. If prices of batteries drop and densities increase according to the predictions, the ability to add battery capacity would likely enhance the resale value of these cars.


You could of course have the car modded.
What is sure is that VW aren't going to do it.
Whenever they get their newer battery packs available, perhaps in around 2016-7, then they should be able to bump the capacity within present packaging by around 80% if they chose to offer that as an option.

You don't spend maybe $5 billion on 5 new platforms to suddenly decide you want to bung in a bulkier battery pack though, so unless battery density goes up, which isn't happening for a while, the pack will remain at the present size.


The ideal PHEV (with improved battery and improved ICE range extender)or the ideal FCEV (with improved battery and improved FC range extender) may not be around till 2020+. Meanwhile, more and more quick charge e-stations and H2 stations will be installed.

The ideal affordable extended range BEV (with improved 5-5-5 batteries) may not be around till 2025. By that time, quick charge e-stations will be common place. Many BEV owners will not have home chargers and will quick recharge weekly as they do with their ICEVs.

Post 2025 will see a quick decline of new ICEVs and HEVs.


Mr. Free:  I drive a Fusion which has a mere 70 kW (95 hp) of electric power, and I find it totally adequate.  I can exceed all legal highway speeds in the USA without starting the engine.

What I would really like, ala Calgarygary, is that auxiliary battery pack.  It would come in very handy in the winter, when the battery strains to meet demand.


Reflecting on Patrick's dilemma it occurs to me that the best way to get value out of batteries is to use them as much as possible and with his long commutes he is in a good position to do that. Even if he wears out the batteries in 5 or 6 years he may still get 150,000 electric km + additional hybrid km. Depending on fuel and electricity prices he should save at least $10,000 US in energy costs.That may be enough to cover the cost of the replacement battery and the expected life of the vehicle should be extended another 200,000 km since the ice engine will have been used minimally.

I see the term 5-5-5 used quite frequently but am never sure what the specs are other than the 5 year period which comes due in 2017 or 2018. My guess would be for high energy density batteries it would be at least 400 w/kg and the cost parameter would be at perhaps $200/kwh. I'd expect such a battery would be quite usefulfor hybrids and BEV's. Improvements in cost would appear to be far more significant than improvements in energy density.

Roger Pham

@Gary and Patrick,
Patrick's dilemma is best served by using an extension cord for charging at work. At 1kW charging rate, a 10-kWh battery will take at least 8 hrs when started at 20% of capacity. It is not practical to charge a pack >10-15 kWh using standard home socket. Faster charging will require more expensive setup instead of the ubiquitous 120-V socket. Hauling around a lot of battery is not a good idea!

5 years from now, Patrick can replace his OEM 10-kWh pack with low-cost after-market pack for perhaps $200/kWh, or $2,000 total when he will reuse the pack's electronics. Meanwhile, he saved $10,000 in fuel cost.


Roger, you assume that Patrick can get an extension cord at work.  Employers may not be so accomodating.

The standard Level 1 convenience cord for the US operates at 110-120 VAC 12 A.  That's 1.3-1.4 kW, enough to fully charge a 10 kWh battery in less than 8 hours.  If you assume a regular schedule of arriving home at 7 PM and leaving for work at 7 AM, a 15 kWh battery can be fully charged overnight even at the 1.3 kW rate.  That will do.

If something happens to the schedule and the battery doesn't get fully charged, you may have to fall back to the gasoline engine that day.  This is hardly a problem.  The goal of the PHEV is to displace the bulk of fuel consumption, not all of it.  If the battery isn't being used to its full capacity on a regular basis, it's oversized for its purpose and more fuel would be saved by electrifying another vehicle with the fraction that's under-used.


Yay, VW. While I am a very big fan of the Toyota manufacturing entity, and I believe the Prius is a generational feat yet to be matched, I hold VW up as a corporate equal. VW has created quite a palette with the new Passat, and will be able to offer the global customer base an extraordinary set of colors.

E-P, not to be your fawning fan lately, but you bring up a very important point on the PHEV that can't be overstated. While you didn't exactly say it this way, far more electric miles will be driven in PHEVs than pure EVs for many years to come. I can tell you this personally as a sample of one with experience in both the Volt (formerly) and the Leaf (presently). When you remove the concern for range you take the limits off of the map, thus the car can be more than commuter and about-town-er.

Owing to styling, internal volume/seating, and VW execution in general, the Passat will attract many to more electrified mobility that might not otherwise take the leap.

BTW, on L1 vs. L2: an L1 just cannot adequately precondition a frigid car in the great northern climes. Preconditioning makes your EV livable for the morning commute. Otherwise I do agree on the discussion. Interestingly Nissan dissuades using the L1 for regular charging for two reasons: disappointing owner experience, and fire hazard(!). No, Nissan doesn't think EV's cause fires, but ancient 120vAC outlets in the outdated American design standard (read: weak socket clamping force) as well as old, substandard wiring are not a good pathway for 1300-1400w for hours on end (especially while asleep).

Roger Pham

Good points, E-P and Herman,
Patrick lives in France where 70% of electricity is nuclear, so the utilitiy co. would rather have him charge his PEV at night only, UNLESS his work place has solar PV panels installed.

It would be safer to limit charging current to 1kW using standard 120-V home socket.


Herman, I have considered putting a space heater on an X-10 switch in the car and running a cord out through the trunk.  Unfortunately, Ford won't supply 110 VAC to the console outlet when the ignition is off, even when the charging cord is plugged in and energized.

Patrick Free

@ Roger : One point you're missing here is I'm an old BMW customer, and I will never rely on a German car vendor to sell after market <10KWH batteries in 5Y at a decent cost. What ever they costs them on the market then, they will charge a fortune for this assuming captive up-gardes. So no real German vendors customer like me will ever buy your : "5 years from now, Patrick can replace his OEM 10-kWh pack with low-cost after-market pack for perhaps $200/kWh, or $2,000 total when he will reuse the pack's electronics. Meanwhile, he saved $10,000 in fuel cost.".
Just forget that. Battery must last > 10 years or resale value of that PHEV car will be zero.
But I'm only chasing 30KWH batteries which is what they have TODAY in the very small AutoLib pure EVs deployed everywhere in Paris, and just a little more than the leaf 25KWH pack... To put in a PHEV SUV costing more than 2X the price of these cars, say # €75K with options and all +/- taxes... When, tesla puts up to 85KWH in Model S.... I can't believe NO German car maker can do that. They are just not willing to. And till they change their mind I extend my beloved too old BMW 530DA and make more savings. Hope new news at this fall Paris Auto Show in Oct....

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