Electrified driving without fear of range: This is automotive mobility with a high-tech plug-in hybrid like the VW Passat GTE. Even if no charging station is available, the battery can be fully charged while driving with the combustion engine. It is then good for around 50 kilometers of all-electric driving. Plug-in hybrid: the ideal compromise when it comes to electromobility.
This is really optimal: (Almost) endless range thanks to the petrol engine and being able to drive 50 kilometers electrically in the city without emissions are convincing arguments for the plug-in, which, in terms of registration numbers (September 2020), aims to overtake purely battery-powered cars. Although Volkswagen in particular relies fully on the battery car card with the ID.3, and other manufacturers have also declared the battery car to be a drive system with no alternative in the long term, customers are clearly skeptical. The majority of car buyers still turn out to be battery grumpy. It remains to be seen whether that will change.
Battery cars are not for lantern parkers
Not because, for example, an ID.3 would not be a good product, but because the limited range and the still missing charging infrastructure still make the combustion engine the ideal individual means of transport. Anyone who can read a range of between 700 and 1.100 kilometers on their display after filling up their diesel or gasoline vehicle is difficult to convince with ranges of (at best!) 400 to 500 kilometers and charging times of several hours for the electric car, even with the most brisk advertising . We will therefore mainly find battery cars in residential areas, where a wallbox can be installed in every garage and the electric car can be charged overnight without having to travel long distances. For the typical street car parker in the city center, the battery car is not (yet) a solution.
The plug-in hybrid is the optimal compromise for e-car skeptics who save fossil fuel, receive state subsidies, but do not want to forego unlimited long-distance mobility. We tested the Passat GTE Variant without even standing at a charging station. And yet we drove purely electrically in the city center. However, charging the battery with the gasoline engine costs fuel. Nevertheless, the gasoline engine also saves, because the recuperation phases in coasting mode and when braking feed the battery with energy, which is then available when starting off. Both systems work perfectly together in the Passat GTE. Division of labor at its best.
The GTE is economical even without a charging station
At the moment I wouldn’t ride the Munich - Hamburg route with a battery car. If I want to drive long-distance electrified, I always want to use a plug-in hybrid. No wonder that this technology is finding more and more friends who have range concerns in a battery vehicle, but still want to drive up to around 50 kilometers purely electrically in the city or in everyday life to the office and thus locally without emitting exhaust gases. I repeat myself: the best thing about the Passat plug-in: to use the 50 km battery, you don't even have to charge electricity at a charging station in an emergency. In my opinion, the ideal solution for electrified driving or the ideal “transition” to e-mobility.
We were still very economical on the road in eco mode without external charging current. We used a maximum of 6,5 liters of petrol per 100 kilometers. This is absolutely appropriate for a car as large, comfortable and up to 225 km / h as the Passat GTE and its 218 system horsepower. This is also evident in the “A +” efficiency rating. The stated NEDC consumption of 1,6 liters of petrol and 15,1 kWh of electricity per 100 kilometers is certainly only a theoretical, but physically achievable value. In this context, VW points to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute that researched the reservation that most plug-in drivers would mostly not charge their batteries (as we did) as obsolete. “Plug-in hybrid vehicles with a real electric range of around 60 kilometers drive just as much electrically as pure battery vehicles, namely up to 15.000 kilometers per year. That's why your CO2-Reduction potential just as great as that of electric cars with pure battery drives. Thus, plug-in hybrids are a good addition to pure battery vehicles in order to reduce greenhouse gases. "
The list of extras is quite long and expensive
A plug-in is of course most efficient with charging current from the socket. There are plug-in owners who constantly cope with their 100-kilometer everyday life with a full battery and never have to fill up with petrol. You charge at home overnight and at work during the day, so you have two charges on board. That would be enough in the Passat GTE for around 100 kilometers of purely electric drive. In fact, the average daily driving distances are far less. VW sums up our test drive findings aptly: “Hybrid technologies simplify the switch to e-mobility. Customers can try out the handling and charging without having to forego large overall ranges.
The Passat GTE Variant also impressed us beyond its plug-in technology. The excellently equipped interior, the space at the front and rear, the large loading area, the ergonomically designed controls and high-quality, very well-crafted materials lift the Passat well above the upper middle class. Also in terms of price. The basic price of our test car of 45.810 euros sounds quite modest. It is remarkable that the sum of the extras in the amount of around 20.000 euros drive the price up to 65.910 euros. The list of optional equipment can certainly be shortened, but we only wanted to do without a few extras.
Numerous assistants ensure comfort and safety
The automatic distance control with stop & go function: indispensable. It relaxes when you are automatically kept at a distance on the motorway up to 210 km / h. The abundance of assistance systems is almost endless. In this case, detailed advice is useful when buying. Technologically everything is offered here that is possible today and that makes driving more comfortable and safer. In any case, all important and less important add-ons were installed in our test car. We were enthusiastic about Travel Assist, a system that also reacts to speed limits and gently brakes the vehicle. The many setting options enable the driver to perfectly customize assistants and driving characteristics. Whether he wants to drive purely electrically or wants to savor the alternating interaction of gasoline engine and electric motor: every setting is up to the driver.
Because GTE also suggests a certain sportiness, the “GTE” button ensures maximum system performance. 400 Newton meters of torque make the car of reason a thoroughly sporty vehicle. With the finely tuned 6-speed dual clutch transmission (DSG), the Passat GTE accelerates to 7,4 km / h in just 100 seconds. The Variant is about two tenths “slower” due to its extra weight. Both versions can reach speeds of up to 225 km / h, which is always sufficient to shine on the motorway. In pure electric mode, it reaches the recommended speed of 130 km / h.
Incidentally, the Passat GTE is subsidized with a premium of 4.500 euros. Company car drivers in Germany no longer have to pay one percent, but only 0,5 percent per month. That also speaks in favor of the plug-in hybrid.
Conclusion: the VW Passat GTE drives as its name sounds: fast and yet economical. The overall quality raises it far beyond the middle class, technologically at the highest level and with excellent practicality in everyday life. Whether as a company vehicle or a family van: its features are its elegant design, its sporty driving characteristics and its economical consumption. And best of all: around 50 kilometers can be covered purely electrically even without a charging station.