Volkswagen’s highly-anticipated Golf GTE Plug-in Hybrid has been designed to offer a compromise between the long heritage of performance-oriented petrol hot hatches of days gone by and the eco-friendly future of electric drivetrains.
We had a chance to get behind the wheel of a Golf GTE engineering prototype at a recent Volkswagen press event in Berlin, Germany, but in just over a week the plug-in family hatch will make its UK debut at The Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham.
Running from April 9 to April 13, the live version of the popular gadget-oriented TV show is known for featuring the great and good of the gadget world, covering everything from the latest gaming technology to home automation, robotic technology and automotive tech.
Giving the Volkswagen Golf GTE its UK debut at the event not only ensures the plug-in hybrid family hatch is given a high-visibility launch but that it is promoted to the very people who are most likely to buy one: gadget-oriented early-adopters who most importantly, aren’t afraid to try new technology.
With a 1.4 litre turbocharged stratified fuel injection engine, an 80 kilowatt electric motor and a seven-speed DSG gearbox, the Volkswagen Golf GTE promises to offer an all-electric range of 30 miles on the NEDC test cycle, and a theoretical combined petrol + electric range of 580 miles in ideal conditions. While that’s likely to be reduced in the real world, Volkswagen says the GTE will leap from 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds and achieve the kind of fuel economy that will rival other plug-in hybrids on the market.
Volkswagen’s stand at Gadget Show Live will join an estimated 200 other exhibitors from the tech, gaming and consumer electronics world. In addition to displaying the production version of its GTE plug-in hybrid, Volkswagen will also display its XL1, an ultra-efficient, futuristic two-seat plug-in hybrid.
Unlike the GTE, which is expected to enter mass production later this year, Volkswagen will produce just 250 of its XL1 diesel-sipping plug-in hybrids. When we say sip, we really mean it: VW claims a fuel economy of 313 mpg imperial on the NEDC test cycle.
Also present on the stand will be the Volkswagen e-Up!, VW’s all-electric minicar. Designed for life in the busy urban jungle, the all-electric e-Up! is surprisingly fun to drive in town or country, thanks in part to its torquey 60 kilowatt electric motor and 18 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
In contrast to the Golf GTE and XL1 which will only form part of VW’s official Gadget Show Live booth, the e-Up! will also be available to test-drive at the event. If you’re going, we really recommend you try and give the diminutive e-Up! a spin.
Strangely absent from the event is Volkswagen’s all-electric e-Golf, which the German automaker officially launched two weeks ago in Germany. Similar in appearance to the Golf GTE, the all-electric e-Golf is fitted with a 26 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and an 85 kilowatt electric motor. Slower to 62 mph than the GTE, we prefered its all-electric drivetrain and grown-up driving experience to the prototype GTE, although we should note the version of the GTE we drove was still very much ‘in development.’
We’re glad to see Volkswagen, like other automakers, is treating electric and plug-in cars like gadgets, intersecting the world of high-tech cars and consumer electronics at what we hope is the right place to encourage more people to make the switch from gasoline to electric.
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