The plug-in hybrid – which is based on the eighth-generation Passat – can cover 31 miles on electric power alone, and offers a combined petrol-electric range of 622 miles.
Check out our first drive of the new Volkswagen Passat GTE here.
This is the third such model from Volkswagen following the limited volume XL1 and recently introduced Golf GTE.
It will be offered in both saloon and estate body styles when UK sales get underway during the second half of 2015.
At the heart of the front-wheel drive Passat GTE is a modular petrol-electric hybrid system shared with the Golf GTE. It uses a specially tuned version of Volkswagen’s widely used turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol engine that develops 154bhp at 5500rpm.
The transversely-mounted combustion engine is supported by an electric motor set within the forward section of the new car’s standard six-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox, where it delivers 113bhp and 243lb ft of torque.
More powerful than the unit used in the Golf GTE, the disc-shaped synchronous electric motor is capable of propelling the Passat GTE both independently for limited distance zero local emission capability and in combination with the petrol engine.
Energy for the electric motor is provided by a 9.9kWh lithium ion battery mounted under the rear seat. Some 1.2kWh larger in capacity than that used by the Golf GTE, it can be charged on the run via recuperated kinetic energy and the petrol engine or alternatively by plug-in means via a socket within the grille.
Charging time on a standard 240 volt system is claimed to take 4 hours 15mins. Customers can also choose an optional wallbox that operates at 360 volts and is claimed to reduce the charging time to 2 hours 30mins.
Together, the Passat GTE’s petrol engine and electric motor deliver a combined system output of 215bhp and 295lb ft, giving it with 14bhp and 37lb ft more than the Golf GTE.
As with its smaller sibling, the driver can choose between four different driving modes: “E-mode”, “Hybrid”, “Battery Charge” and “GTE”.
The interaction between the petrol engine and electric motor can be monitored on a 6.5-inch colour screen. Included is a so-called “range monitor”, “energy flow indicator”, “e-manager” and, in conjunction with the optional navigation system, “360 degree range” – the latter of which calculates one-way electric driving range over prescribed routes.