Volkswagen is looking at launching the Passat GTE in India. The GTE is a plug in-hybrid version of the Passat luxury car that VW claims achieves a startling 70kpl.
As the name suggests, the car is a hybrid and uses two power sources. A specially tuned version of Volkswagen’s turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is its primary source of propulsion. Similar to the engine that powers the Skoda Octavia in India, it develops a strong 164bhp. The secondary power source is an electric motor, located adjacent to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, from where it produces the electric equivalent of 113bhp. Volkswagen quotes a combined system output of 215bhp.
Although hybrids haven't done too well in the past in India, Volkswagen has been buoyed by the current success of Toyota's Camry hybrid, which, because of its local assembly and competitive pricing is giving the standard petrol Camry a hiding in our market.
While the Passat GTE and the Camry are both hybrids and so similar, the Passat GTE takes the game to the next level. Not only does it have an all-electric mode with a large usable range, the battery can even be topped up via a wall socket (plug-in); you can charge it like your cell phone or laptop. Energy for the electric motor is provided by a 9.9kWh lithium ion battery. Volkswagen is currently looking at the charging infrastructure that currently exists in India and is also conducting a feasibility study to see if it can assemble the GTE here.
Under the skin the Passat GTE is quite fascinating. It has four different driving modes: E-mode, Hybrid, Battery Charge and GTE. Volkswagen claims an electric range of up to 50km at speeds up to 130kph in the default E-mode. In the GTE mode, the efforts of the petrol and electric motor are pooled to provide a claimed 0-100 kph time of around 7.5 seconds; hence the performance-based moniker of GTE.
Charging time on regular 240V mains electricity is put at 4hr 15min, although customers can also choose an optional 360V wallbox that is claimed to provide a full charge in 2hr 30min. The Passat GTE also boasts a theoretical range of up to 1,000km. The electric range is so good, the new Volkswagen could allow you to go the whole week without ever needing its combustion engine to fire.
With an official combined fuel consumption figure of approximately 70kpl, Volkswagen is sure to make a splash with this car. However, it will be expensive if VW manages to bring it here; you can expect a price of approximately Rs 45 lakh.
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