Plug-in hybrids are often considered the final stepping stone before taking the plunge into a pure electric car, and Volkswagen wants to help drivers along with the new Passat GTE. Powered by a 156 horsepower 1.4 liter engine and a 114 horsepower electric motor, the 2015 Passt GTE has a healthy 215 horsepower 295 lb-ft torque on tap to help convince drivers to go green.
While the 0 to 60 MPH time of under 8 seconds won’t light the world on fire, the top speed of 136 MPH is actually higher than even the mighty Tesla Model S. Under just electric power, the Passat GTE is good for a claimed 31 miles of driving per charge, though in America the real world range is probably closer to 20 miles. Fully charged and topped off with 13 gallons of gasoline, Volkswagen says the Passat GTE can travel up 1,000 km before recharging/refueling, or about 622 miles, which works out to about 47.8 MPG. The Toyota Prius better keep an eye out, because the Passat GTE is gunning for it.
Volkswagen is also equipping the Passat GTE with its “e-Remote” smartphone app, which allows you to operate the climate control system and even when to start or stop charging the lithium-ion battery. A standard 6.5-inch LCD touchscreen integrates many vehicle functions, including navigation, though buyers can opt up to a 8.0 inch touchscreen for those wanting a bigger centerpiece in their plug-in Passat.
Unfortunately for now, the Passat GTE, like its cousin the Volkswagen Golf GTE, is strictly for European buyers at the moment. It will, however, come in both sedan and station wagon flavors, for those of us longing to relive the epic road trips of National Lampoon’s glory days. Volkswagen is keen to offer more plug-in options to U.S. customers though, including the all-electric e-Golf. There’s good reason to believe the Passat GTE will make it to American Vdub dealerships before too long.