Here is our review of the Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE. Volkswagen have been quick to the PHEV market; their plug-in hybrid electric vehicles has been incredibly popular with both personal and business customers alike.
But is a PHEV an electric car?
Off the back of some pretty difficult scandals and corporate disasters, the VW group needed to move away from its diesel platforms and create engines which did more to build customer confidence and put them back into the forefront of the European automotive market.
There were two main developments – 1) PHEV technology via the Golf and Passat GTE; and 2) the introduction of the e-Golf. Both platforms have been relatively popular for VW, as they have been practical in their approach to design.
Their vehicles look exactly the same as their petrol/diesel equivalents. This is where some manufacturers go wrong in the UK lease market, is that they design novelty electric cars which look more like fanciful concepts than actual day to day cars you would operate.
The Volkswagen PHEV Story
So the Volkwagen Golf and Volkwagen Passat GTE are electric cars?
Well, not quite. This is where customer confusions can quickly result in incorrect decision being reach. A PHEV is a combination, or gateway, to electrification.
This is a petrol, or diesel, engine which is coupled with a lithium-ion battery which will either work independently of the engine or in collaboration with it to enhance the car’s MPG.
VW produced the PHEV to combat the stress they were encountering from their diesel product which was seen as inappropriate for shorter-mileages and which was perhaps not as clean or efficient as earlier thought.
Add to that an appetite in the UK’s company car market for CO2 leading options and you can see why this presented such a lucrative avenue for the German group.
What customers need to realise is that a PHEV and pure EV are very different
The way in which they operate and how you manage them day to day are not the same.
This is why the VW group introduced the e-Golf which is the BEV option.
The e-Golf and the Golf GTE are not the same! For customer’s wanting to go extra-eco and move towards a non-combustion engine, then the e-Golf or upcoming VW ID is a route you must take.
Do I have to charge it?
Both a PHEV and a pure EV do need to be charged. What do you mean “charged”?
What we don’t mean is you driving and braking in the vehicle to create energy for the battery.
While regenerative braking is a facet for all battery vehicles, this would not sufficiently charge a PHEV or pure EV; this is more of feature you will see in the “self-charging” and “mild” hybrid technologies.
It is the hybrid vehicle which driving style and behaviours charge the smaller battery.
For a PHEV and pure EV you need to connect it to an external source of power
– a standard plug, a home charge point or a charging facility at a service station, workplace or public place.
For a customer leasing an electric vehicle for the first-time, they are probably curious as to why some vehicles have cable attaching a car to a post/box of some sort!
The fundamental difference between the EV and PHEV is that in the case of the latter insufficient charge will lead to the vehicle relying on its combustion element thereby not being able to operating on electric-only or be able to achieve the stated MPG.
In contrast, if you don’t charge an electric car it will not operate. While you will often have some emergency energy to help get you to a charge point, if you don’t charge the car it just won’t work.
Does it get the same tax benefit as a pure EV?
The tax status for the PHEV and EV do also need consideration. The changes in April 2020 to company car tax is making many company car drivers ask their fleet managers and their directors to consider moving out of combustion vehicles and into electric ones.
For any electric car, which emits 0 g/km of CO2, there will be 0% BiK payable in 2020-21.
For the first-time, in a long-time, there will be drivers benefiting from a free company car.
A PHEV does produce emissions as the tailpipe, as it is coupled with a combustion element.
For any PHEV capable of 40-69 miles of electric range this will attract 6% BiK and a 30-39 range will attract 10% for 2020/21. These are not free company cars but they are significantly less than the 22% plus BiK rates for many other vehicles. This will result in considerable tax savings.
Standard equipment for the Volkwagen Passat Estate GTE Advance
In terms of the car shown, the Volkswagen Passat Estate 1.4 TSI PHEV GTE Advance 5dr DSG (PHEV – Petrol), this is based on the following configuration:
- Pure white Special Solid Paint
- Vienna leather upholstery – Titan black + heated front seats + heated windscreen washer jets
- 18″ Monterrey alloy wheels with sealing tyres + anti-theft wheel bolts
As standard the Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE includes:
- front and rear parking sensors
- ambient interior lighting
- 18” alloys
- heated rear window
- rain sensors
- leather upholstery
- heated front seats
- rear tinted glass
- post collision braking
- EDL, EDTC, hill hold function
- front and rear carpet mats
- adaptive cruise control with front assist/city emergency braking
- remote tailgate
- travel assist
- body coloured externals
- electrically and foldable heated door mirrors with puddle lights and auto dimming
- exterior e-sound, body coloured externals
- automatic headlights with dusk sensors,
- high matrix LED headlights with dynamic curve,
- LED rear lights
- climate control
- leather trimmed steering wheel
- two charging cables (one for a wallbox and another for the mains)
- LED interior lights
- discover navigation pack
- comfort seats with electric backrest
- keyless entry with start/stop
- immobiliser and alarm
In terms of additional options consider – dynaudio confidence soundpack and the XDS differential lock.
Technical data on the Passat Estate GTE
On the technical-side, company car and business users can note the P11d at £41,175.00 and CO2 at 37g/km. The 1395CC 6 speed auto petrol engine/13kWh lithium-ion battery delivers 218ps, 0-62 times of 7.6seconds, electric-only driving of 33 miles and combined MPG of 176 (WLPTP – FC Weighted).
Service intervals are set at every 24 months or 18,000 whichever lands sooner. In terms of charging times, a standard plug will charge the Passat GTE in 5 hours whereas a 7kW charge point will be circa 2 hours.
So is the Passat GTE a leading PHEV option? Or would you select a pure EV?