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Volkswagen’s newest green car is a plug-in hybrid Golf GTE

VW's new plug-in gasoline hybrid electric engine is the torque champion of the line as well as the clear green car buyer's choice.

Volkswagen has announced that the Golf will soon be offered with a plug-in gasoline hybrid drivetrain. The new drivetrain can propel the Golf from 0-60 MPH faster than the diesel engine, has more torque than the diesel, and will be dramatically lower in CO2 emissions. The new plug-in Golf can also drive for 31 miles on electric power alone according to VW.

Volkswagen in America has a problem. Sales are terrible by comparison to any of the major players and VW has historically tried to sell diesel as an alternative fuel. Alternative to what we are not sure. Diesel is made from the same crude oil that gasoline is, produces more CO2 per mile than equivalent gasoline powered cars, and the Golf diesel gets a relatively ho-hum 34 MPG combined EPA rating. With diesel costing roughly a dollar more per gallon in the part of the country in which I live, it is also in no way a lower cost means of propelling a car. VW’s newest engine for its biggest global seller may be proof that VW is starting to realize these facts.

The new VW Golf plug-in hybrid gets the suffix GTE. VW tried to create a matrix explaining its suffix system but I became lost after the second paragraph, subsection 11. GTE sounds very cool, so let’s call the name a success. The GTE will have impressive fuel economy numbers and very low CO2 per mile. VW likes to tell us what the European cycle MPG is, so we will play along. It is 157 Miles per gallon. Stop for a moment. In the US it will be dramatically lower than that. Europe has a weird way of calculating MPG that does not translate well to actual US miles per gallon. However, we can tell from this crazy high number that the US MPGe number will be impressive. VW also notes the car's total range will be 584 miles in case the diesel fans are starting their rebuttal.

The car has a turbocharged 1.4 liter gasoline engine with an impressive 148 horsepower. Coupled to that is a 101 horsepower electric motor. VW says that charge times of about 2 and a half hours are possible. We assume with a high amperage, 240 volt connection. The battery weighs a reasonable 265 pounds.

Golf diesel fans, and there are many, like the car for its torque. Although the car is not fast to 60, in normal driving it is quite satisfying to drive because off the mark it pulls strongly, one then gets to about 35 MPH and the car levels off. It feels good. The new GTE will have 258 ft-lbs of torque. That is about 9% more torque than the current 2014 diesel which has 236 ft-lbs. With more torque, better mileage by far on a much less expensive fuel, the ability to drive all- electric for a pretty significant 31 miles, and lower CO2, the new Golf GTE is clearly the new choice for VW shoppers looking for a green car that can be satisfying to drive.

The new Golf GTE will make its world debut at the upcoming Munich Auto Show in early March. Volkswagen has not yet announced the sale of the car in the US market, but we are confident it will be a US model in 2015. VW needs this car in California to meet emissions mandates. When prices are announced we will follow up.

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