Visitors to theGadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham were the first in this part of the world to see the new Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrid, which marries the dynamics of a GTI with the emissions and economy of an electric car.
Also on display on the Volkswagen stand at the show, which covers the very best in tech from some 200 exhibitors, was the record-breaking 313 mpg XL1 super-efficient vehicle and the fully electric e-up. What’s more, show-goers had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the e-up, which was available for short, accompanied test-drives.
The Golf GTE, which made its world debut just last month at the Geneva Motor Show, combines petrol and electric motors to produce 204 PS and giving a theoretical range of 580 miles. It is driven by two engines: a 1.4-litre 150 PS TSI direct-injection petrol engine and a 102PS electric motor. Together, they produce power of 204PS and torque of 350Nm (258 lbs ft). Using both engines, the Golf GTE can sprint from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and on to 138mph, and it can still hit 81 mph on electric power alone. Yet it returns a combined cycle figure of 188 mpg and CO2 emissions of 35g/km (both are provisional data).
In pure electric mode (activated at the press of a button), the Golf GTE can travel up to 31 miles. Electric power can also be saved – for example when driving to a zero-emissions zone. In electric mode, the GTE is capable of speeds of 81 mph.
Visually, the Golf GTE combines elements of the fully electric e-Golf and Golf GTI, with C-shaped LED daytime running lights and aerodynamic horizontal ‘fins’. Where the GTI features red, the GTE has blue accents, including across the grille and into the headlights.
The GTE also has an e-manager which allows the driver to preset vehicle charging, as well as interior cooling or heating. These functions can be operated remotely using the Car-Net app on a smartphone.
With its low, sleekly aerodynamic teardrop shape, the Volkswagen XL1 looks like a vision of the future, yet it is entering limited production. From a combination of its two-cylinder turbodiesel engine and electric motor, the XL1 returns a simply staggering 313 mpg, and emits just 21 g/km. Its bodywork and structure consists largely of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer. The XL1 does not have door mirror, instead using wind-cheating pencil-thin cameras, and the doors to its two-seater cabin open upwards, like those of a supercar.
The e-up is every bit as practical as its petrol-powered city car siblings, yet its fully electric drivetrain means it produces no tailpipe emissions, and operates smoothly and silently. The e-up is packed with technology, from a removable navigation and entertainment system to a laser-operated city emergency braking system.
These, like the luxurious heated seats, heated front windscreen, electronic climate control and DAB radio all come as standard.