New Volkswagen Passat To Have Plug-in Hybrid

Volkswagen has revealed some of the features of the updated Passat, which will launch later this year. Among the technical updates are an upgrade to the plug-in hybrid system in the Passat GTE that extends the all-electric range to to up to around 55 km (34 miles) in the WLTP cycle (approximately 70 km (43.5 miles) in NEDC) and the introduction of features from the IQ.DRIVE suite of developing autonomous driving technologies.

Volkswagen will launch the new Passat GTE with an enhanced plug-in hybrid drive as both sedan and wagon models. The GTE models with their combination of electric drive motor and efficient turbocharged gasoline engine (160 kW / 218 PS system power) provide the benefits of a long-distance vehicle. On the other, they can be used as a zero-emission vehicle in the urban environment.

The new GTE is equipped with a larger battery: 13.0 kWh up from 9.9 kWh, a boost of 31%. The pure electric range was thus extended correspondingly. This is now up to approx. 55 km in the new, realistic WLTP cycle; this is equivalent to a range of around 70 km in the old cycle (NEDC).

In addition, a new operating mode configuration has made it much easier to reserve sufficient battery capacity for the target destination in a city. The Passat GTE always starts in E-MODE if the lithium-ion battery is sufficiently charged. The high-voltage battery in the Passat GTE models can be charged via the external electricity grid or via the internal TSI engine and recuperation during the journey.

In order to be able to travel in E-MODE in town at the end of a longer trip, Volkswagen has reconfigured the operating modes of the hybrid system and therefore simplified battery recharging during the journey. Instead of the previous five operating modes, there are now only three:

  • E-MODE (purely electric driving)
  • GTE (sporty driving with full system power)
  • Hybrid (automatic switchover between electric motor and TSI). The two previous modes Battery Hold (maintaining battery charge level) and Battery Charge (charge battery via TSI) were integrated into the Hybrid mode in the new Passat GTE.

The new Passat GTE is powered by a turbocharged stratified injection engine (1.4 TSI) and an electric motor. This TSI engine delivers 115 kW / 156 PS. The electric motor generates precisely 85kW / 115 PS. The new high-voltage battery—located in the vehicle floor in front of the rear axle—supplies the electric motor with power.

For power transmission, the Volkswagen is equipped with an automatic 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DQ400E) developed especially for use in hybrid vehicles. Other components of the hybrid drive include power electronics (this converts the battery’s direct current into alternating current for the electric motor) and the battery charger.

IQ.DRIVE is the new umbrella brand for Volkswagen assistance systems; the technologies involved in autonomous driving will be bundled under the IQ.DRIVE label. The new assistance systems in the Passat include Travel Assist, Emergency Steering Assist, and ACC with predictive cruise control.

The Travel Assist feature, which appears in a Volkswagen for the first time, allows for partially automated driving across practically the whole speed range up to 210 km/h.

Like with the predecessor system Traffic Jam Assist, the adaptive cruise control ACC is responsible for longitudinal guidance in Travel Assist, while the Lane Assist adaptive lane guidance system handles lateral guidance. While this automatic longitudinal and lateral guidance system was only available up to a maximum of 60 km/h in connection with Traffic Jam Assist, the Travel Assist option in the new Passat enables partially automated driving up to 210 km/h.