The ordinary-looking Volkswagen Golf Mk6 pictured below is actually a prototype running VW’s upcoming plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

I was in Wolfsburg yesterday (where it was minus 5 degrees centigrade under a clear blue sky) and had a brief steer around the local roads.

I know what most of you are thinking: ‘hybrid, shymbrid’. That’s fair enough when hybrids are expensive and often not as economical in the real world as a diesel.

Indeed petrol-hybrids were originally developed by Toyota to deliver better economy in a Californian market that had pollution laws so strict that diesels were a non-starter and a home market that didn’t much care for oil-burners either. Really, petrol-electric hybrids are about low pollution as much as they are about high economy.

This Golf, however, is about coming up with a petrol-electric drivetrain that makes nonsense of zero-local pollution pure battery cars and is still an entirely practical proposition that can be used to drive from one end of the country to the other.

The Golf has a big enough battery to allow the driver to cover up to 31 miles on a single charge of the battery. The engineer in charge wouldn’t tell me what size the battery was, but I’d guess at around 10kWh.