Golf GTE Mk VII

THE GOLF GTE

Few cars have a history like that of the Volkswagen Golf, yet with global sales of over 30 million, in its seventh generation and having celebrated its 40th anniversary in March 2014, the Golf continues to offer buyers a car which sets benchmarks in comfort, practicality, safety and efficiency. It also established another ‘first’ in 2014, becoming the first car to be available with five power sources: petrol, diesel or CNG engines (not UK), a pure electric engine (e-Golf) and plug-in hybrid (Golf GTE).

Such flexibility is possible thanks to the MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix on which the Golf is built. This standardises many vehicle component parameters across brands and vehicle classes, and allows access to new powertrains and technologies.  As such the Golf GTE and e-Golf models are produced on the same factory line as the standard Golf. These electric and hybrid cars offer the same virtues of practicality, refinement and advanced technology as its multi-award winning and former European and World Car of the Year cousin, but with drastically reduced tailpipe emissions.

The Golf GTE plug-in hybrid made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014, and combines the benefits of electric mobility with the dynamics of a Golf GTI. Its name reflects its position in the line-up alongside the iconic petrol-powered GTI and the diesel GTD. Where ‘GT’ stands for ‘Gran Tourismo’, ‘I’ stands for ‘Injection’, ‘D’ for Diesel and ‘E’ for Electricity. 

The Golf GTE is driven by two engines: a 1.4-litre 150 PS TSI direct-injection petrol engine and a 102 PS electric motor. Together, they combine to produce power of 204 PS and a theoretical range of around 580 miles. Using the electric motor alone, the GTE is capable of speeds of 81 mph. With the TSI engine as well, the Golf GTE can sprint from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and on to 138 mph. Torque is a remarkable 350 Nm (258 lbs ft). Alongside this impressive performance, the Golf GTE offers impressive fuel efficiency, with a combined cycle figure of 166 mpg and CO2 emissions of 39 g/km.

In pure electric mode (activated at the press of a button), the Golf GTE can travel up to 31 miles, depending on conditions, and the electric power can also be saved – for example when driving to a zero-emissions zone. The 8.7 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged in three hours 45 minutes from a domestic mains outlet, or two hours 15 minutes from a domestic wallbox. The battery weighs 120 kg, giving the GTE a total kerbweight of 1,599 kg. 

The Golf GTE uses a six-speed DSG gearbox with a triple-clutch system specially developed for hybrid vehicles. The electric motor is integrated into the gearbox housing, while further hybrid components include power electronics and a charger. An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air conditioning compressor make for energy-efficient braking and air conditioning.

Visually, the Golf GTE combines elements of the look of the e-Golf and the GTI. The front bumper features C-shaped LED daytime running lights, like those on the e-Golf, as well as aerodynamic horizontal ‘fins’, like those on the GTI. Where the GTI features red, the GTE has blue accents, including across the radiator grille and into the headlights.

Inside as on the outside, the Golf GTE features blue highlights where the GTI has red. The 5.8-inch Discover Media satellite navigation system with DAB radio and Bluetooth is standard, and includes bespoke functions for electric vehicles, including the ability to identify potential destinations on electric range, and electric charging points. 

The GTE also features an e-manager which allows the driver to preset vehicle charging, as well as interior cooling or heating. These functions can also be operated remotely using the Volkswagen Car-Net e-remote app on a smartphone.

UK order books for the GTE opened in January 2015, with first deliveries in April 2015.

Summary

  • Name of Golf GTE reflects its position in the line-up alongside the petrol-powered GTI and diesel GTD.  ‘GT’ stands for ‘Gran Turismo’, ‘I’ stands for ‘Injection’, ‘D’ for Diesel, ‘E’ for Electricity
  • GTE is driven by two engines: a 1.4-litre 150 PS TSI direct-injection petrol engine and a 102 PS electric motor.  Together, they produce a maximum power of 204 PS and a theoretical range of 580 miles (NB combined power is less than theoretical maximum independently).  Torque is 350 Nm (258 lbs ft)
  • Six-speed DSG gearbox developed for hybrid vehicles is standard
  • The electric motor is integrated into the gearbox housing, while further hybrid components include power electronics and a charger.  An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air conditioning compressor make for energy-efficient braking and air conditioning
  • There are five operating modes: ‘E-mode’, ‘GTE mode’, ‘Battery Hold’, ‘Battery charge’ and ‘Hybrid Auto’.  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 up to 81 mph
  • With the TSI engine as well, the Golf GTE can sprint from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and on to 138 mph, yet returns a combined cycle figure of 166 mpg* and CO2 emissions of 39 g/km*  (*provisional data).  It is expected to be exempt from VED and the Congestion Charge
  • The 8.7 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged in 3 hours 45 minutes from a domestic mains outlet, or 2 hours 15 minutes from a domestic wallbox.  The battery weighs 120 kg, giving a kerbweight of 1,599 kg
  • The Golf GTE is available in five-door bodystyle only and in one specification (in the UK)
  • Visually, the Golf GTE combines elements of the e-Golf and Golf GTI, with C-shaped LED daytime running lights (e-Golf) and aerodynamic horizontal ‘fins’ (GTI).  Where the GTI features red, the GTE has blue accents, including across the radiator grille and into the headlights (which as on the e-Golf are LED).  In the UK, 18-inch ‘Serron’ alloy wheels will be standard
  • Inside too, the GTI’s red highlights are turned to blue – including the stitching on the steering wheel, gear lever gaiter and seats, and a blue stripe in the tartan pattern on the sports seats.  Touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio and Bluetooth is standard, while optional navigation includes bespoke EV features such as the ability to identify potential destinations on electric range, and charging points
  • 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 e-remote app on a smartphone; a three-year subscription is included as standard in the UK
  • The vehicle speedometer and tachometer are familiar, and the latter is supplemented by a power meter in the central display, which shows the status of the battery, whether or not power is being used and the intensity of any regeneration
  • UK order books for the GTE opened in January 2015, with first deliveries in April 2015
  • Golf GTE is the first electric vehicle from Volkswagen to be sold throughout its entire UK Retailer network.  Previous models (e-up! and e-Golf have been sold through a restricted network of 25 EV specialists)
  • Built in Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant in Germany 

HYBRID DRIVE SYSTEM

PLUG-IN HYBRID DRIVE SYSTEM

TSI, electric motor, DSG, battery

The drive units used in the Golf GTE are a 1.4-litre TSI 150 PS turbocharged petrol direct injection engine and an electric motor with 102 PS. The system power when the two drive units work together is 204 PS.

The electric motor is supplied with energy from a high voltage lithium-ion battery; the energy capacity of this battery, which features a liquid cooling system, is 8.7 kWh. The battery is charged via a socket behind the VW logo on the radiator grille. The gearbox that Volkswagen uses here is an automatic six-speed DSG with three clutches (dual clutch plus disengagement clutch) which was specially developed for hybrid use. Whenever possible, the disengagement clutch disengages the TSI from the driven front axle and shuts it off, for example during coasting; in this case, the Golf GTE makes use of the car’s kinetic energy and coasts without any added propulsive power. Volkswagen integrated the electric motor into the gearbox housing. Viewed from the front, the TSI is located on the left side of the engine compartment, the electric motor in the middle (in the DSG housing) and the dual clutch gearbox on the right.

Technical similarities between the Golf GTE and e-Golf

As in the e-Golf, additional components of the hybrid drive include the power electronics (converts DC power from the battery to AC power for the electric motor) and a charger. An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air conditioning compressor also ensure optimal and energy-efficient operation of the brakes and air conditioner in ‘e-mode’ when only the electric motor is powering the Golf GTE.

Compact powertrain elements

All components are compact and lightweight. The TSI weighs 102.8 kg, the electric motor 34 kg, the DSG 98.5 kg and the power electronics 12 kg. The high-voltage battery is located under the vehicle floor in front of the rear bench seat where it does not affect the car’s interior space. The battery weighs 120 kg, and with all of its components, the Golf GTE sold in the UK has an unladen weight of 1,599 kg.

Five operating modes

Automatic switching to ‘e-mode’ and ‘Battery Hold’ mode

The Golf GTE can be driven in five different modes and which to choose is very intuitive; what’s more, the driver can always see which mode is active on the multifunction display in the instrument cluster. The car is started, by default, in zero-emission e-mode (the Golf GTE only starts with the TSI engine if there is insufficient battery charge or at very low outdoor temperatures). When a minimum battery charge state is reached or during very high power demand, the drive system automatically switches to Battery Hold mode, deactivating e-mode, and the Golf GTE behaves like a classic full hybrid. In this mode, the battery is regeneratively charged during braking or deceleration, and the car automatically uses the TSI and electric motor alternately or both units together, depending on the driving situation. The charge state of the high voltage battery is maintained at a constant average value in this mode. The driver can independently select the Battery Hold mode at any time from the Car menu in the infotainment system, for example if they want to maintain charge for driving later in a zero-emissions zone.

Variable intensity of battery regeneration

When the driver pulls the DSG gear shift grip back (switching from D to B), the intensity of battery regeneration can be increased, and the Golf GTE can be decelerated without the brakes even being used, eg when driving in the mountains. This style of driving, which is otherwise only possible in electric vehicles like the e -Golf, is also quite intuitive.

Switching to e-mode by push button

By pressing the e-mode button (to the left of the gear knob), the driver can manually switch to e-mode, making the Golf GTE a zero-emission vehicle. When powered electrically, the GTE reaches a maximum speed of 81 mph; the maximum range in e-mode is 31 miles (when battery is fully charged at the start and depending on outdoor temperature and driving style). When a predefined low battery charge limit is reached, the vehicle management system automatically engages the TSI engine.

Switching to GTE mode by pushbutton

By pressing the GTE button (also to the left of the gear knob), the driver can activate GTE mode to access the very sporty nature of this Golf; the GTE mode symbol now appears in the instrument cluster. The driver notices the following: the characteristics of the accelerator pedal, gearbox and steering are immediately made sportier, the tuning of the TSI is also more performance oriented, while a sound actuator is activated to give a sporty sound to match the performance. In addition, automatic headlight control and the adaptive cruise control are modified. If optional dynamic chassis control is fitted, the electronically controlled dampers are switched from the Normal setting to the Sport mode. In addition, in GTE mode the TSI and electric motor work together, in what is known as ‘boosting’, a situation which calls up the full system power of 204 PS and its maximum 350 Nm (258 lbs ft) of torque.

Switching to ‘Hybrid Auto’, ‘Battery Hold’ and ‘Battery Charge’ modes from menu

Other modes can also be set from a menu in the infotainment system: Hybrid Auto, whereby the energy stored in the high voltage battery is used to support the TSI thus minimising fuel consumption, and Battery Charge. From this menu level, the driver can also switch to e-mode or Battery Hold mode.

Petrol engine

The 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged direct-injection engine in the Golf GTE develops its maximum power of 150 PS at a relatively low 5,000 rpm. The maximum torque of the four-cylinder engine is 250 Nm, which is available between 1,600 and 3,500 rpm. This 16-valve engine is one of the highly advanced petrol engines of the EA211 series. Thanks to its ultra-rigid crankcase made of diecast aluminium, as well as various other technical refinements, the GTE’s 1.4-litre TSI is very lightweight at 102.8 kg.

As the Golf GTE can be driven all-electrically for long periods of time, there may be phases lasting weeks during which the combustion engine is not used at all. For this reason, the TSI was also configured specifically for this use profile. Modifications include a polymer coating which was applied to the main and connecting rod bearings; a coating of special hard materials on the piston rings; and modifications to the bearing shells and piston play.

Full integration of the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head lets the 1.4-litre TSI reach its optimal operating temperature very quickly after the engine is started. Another key aspect of the engine design is thermal management: Volkswagen engineers designed a two-loop cooling system for this TSI, whereby a low temperature loop flows through the intercooler and turbocharger housing, supplied by an electric pump with need-based control.

The passenger compartment is heated by the cylinder head circulation loop, so it warms up quickly like the engine. Moreover, thanks to the design of the exhaust manifold, Volkswagen was also able to utilise a compact single-scroll compressor in its turbocharger selection, one effect of which was to reduce the weight of the cylinder head and turbocharger unit. Numerous other internal engine modifications also improve the fuel efficiency of the TSI engine with its two overhead camshafts.

The intake camshaft was designed for variable valve timing to reduce emissions and fuel consumption further, and to improve drive-away torque in the lower rev range. There is also an exhaust camshaft adjuster which enables even more spontaneous response from low revs; at the same time, torque is improved at high engine speeds. The maximum injection pressure of the 1.4-litre TSI is 200 bar; state-of-the-art five-hole injection nozzles precisely deliver up to three individual injections to each of the cylinders via a stainless steel distributor bar. All of these technical details demonstrate how Volkswagen is not just implementing high tech solutions in the electric drive components of the GTE plug-in hybrid system, but in the combustion engine as well.

Electric motor

The 102 PS electric motor develops a substantial maximum torque of 330 Nm from a standstill (continuous torque: 170 Nm). The high-revving motor has a maximum speed of 7,000 rpm and forms a compact module together with the 6-speed DSG gearbox. The mechanical design of this motor – a three-phase permanent magnet synchronous motor – is very efficient. Specifically, the electric motor is mounted on the input shaft between the dual-mass flywheel of the disengagement clutch (to disengage the TSI) and the components of the 6-speed DSG. Power electronics regulate the motor's torque and speed.

The module, made up of the DSG and electric motor is produced at the German Volkswagen component plant in Kassel Baunatal.

6-speed DSG with integrated electric motor

The Golf GTE’s newly developed 6-speed gearbox incorporates, in a single compact assembly, the electric motor, disengagement clutch and dual clutch gearbox (DSG). In order to integrate the electric motor fully in the gearbox, engineers shifted the petrol engine 57.5 mm to the left – when viewed from the front. With the exception of the mechanically activated parking lock, the DSG is controlled entirely by an electro-hydraulic control module (mechatronics). Analogous to the 6-speed and 7-speed DSG for conventional drives, in the new DSG power flow is distributed via a coaxially split driveshaft, each with an upstream driving clutch, to two gear-train halves. The DSG executes shifts in fractions of a second without any interruption in propulsive power. The two drive clutches (K1 and K2) are configured for input torques of 400 Nm each; the maximum input torque for the disengagement clutch (K0) of the TSI is 350 Nm (258 lbs ft).

High-voltage lithium-ion battery

The lithium-ion battery located under the vehicle floor consists mainly of the cell modules, battery junction box (BJB) and battery management controller (BMC). Each of the eight modules contains 12 cells together with cell electronics. The cells themselves add up to a voltage between 250 and 400 volts, depending on the charge status.

The gross energy capacity of the battery is 8.7 kWh. In its non-operating state or in case of a crash, the Golf GTE is automatically switched to a de-energised state. The Battery Management Controller performs safety, diagnostic and monitoring functions, and it also regulates the temperature in the battery junction box (interface for supplying the motor with energy). The battery itself is liquid cooled; the cooling system is also controlled by the battery management controller, which continually acquires the temperature distribution within the battery and reports cooling needs to the thermal management system. Volkswagen provides a warranty on the high-voltage battery of eight years or 160,000 km (approx. 100,000 miles).  

Cooling system

The Golf GTE’s cooling system fulfils significantly more stringent requirements than solutions found in conventionally powered vehicles. The reasons for this are clear: in addition to the combustion engine, gearbox and car interior, the system must also maintain the electrical components of the hybrid system within an ideal temperature window. This requires innovative solutions: the components are incorporated into the cooling loops in a way that ensures, on the one hand, they reach their individual operating temperatures quickly and, on the other, certain maximum temperatures are not exceeded. In the five different operating states of the Golf GTE the circulation loops must always provide the optimal volumetric flow of coolant. This was achieved by using a system that has three separate cooling loops.

Power electronics

The power electronics system converts the direct current (DC) of the lithium-ion battery to three-phase alternating current (AC) for the electric motor via its high-power transistors. The system has the following interfaces: the traction circuit connection to the battery; the 3-phase connection to the e-motor; the plug connector from the DC/DC converter to the 12V electrical system and a connection for the high-voltage power distributor. Essentially, the module serves as a link for the flow of high-voltage energy between the electric motor and the lithium-ion battery.

Charging concept

The Golf GTE’s battery can be charged in two different ways, but in both cases power is supplied via the charging socket behind the VW emblem on the radiator grille. Firstly, it can be charged by plugging into a standard 230 volt mains electrical socket, in which case the battery is charged by alternating current (AC) from the mains at a power level of 2.3 kW. When completely flat, the battery can be fully charged in 3 hours 45 minutes.

Alternatively the GTE can be charged via a garage or carport wall box or a public charging station at a power level of 3.6 kW. In this case, a full charge takes just 2 hours and 15 minutes.

The charging process can be started immediately by pressing a button on the charging socket behind the VW badge. Time-delayed charging is also possible, with the time preselected either via the infotainment system or via the ‘Car-Net’ app, a three-year subscription to which is provided for free to all UK customers. This app can be used to activate charging immediately or by remote control, while the interior can be cooled or heated at a preselected time.

Electro-mechanical brake servo

Volkswagen has developed an electromechanical brake servo (e-BKV) especially for its electric cars. It optimises the driver’s braking force in the Golf GTE in same way that brake servos do in conventional cars. With the electromechanical brake servo, this is supplemented by what is known as ‘brake blending’ – a process in which low levels of deceleration are accomplished solely by the e-motor’s braking torque. In this process, energy is recovered by regenerative braking and stored in the battery. Stronger decelerations, meanwhile, are achieved by the combined braking torque of the electric motor and the hydraulic brake system, and here too, kinetic energy is converted to electricity by regenerative braking.

INTERIOR

The interior of the Golf GTE matches its bespoke exterior as well as its innovative powertrain and technology.  Just as from the outside where the Golf GTI’s characteristic red has been switched to blue, so inside, blue highlights distinguish the GTE.

Standard features include sport seats in front (with lumbar support) in GTI style (GTE: blue ‘Clark’ tartan design for the seat and backrest surfaces), ‘Checkered Black’ decorative inlays in the dashboard, door and trim panels, leather-trimmed three-spoke  multifunction steering wheel with aluminium accents, gear knob in aluminium look, headliner and side trim in black, various controls with chrome surrounds or chrome accents (rotary light switch, mirror adjustment, window lift switches), Composition Media infotainment system with 5.8-inch display, mobile online services (e.g. traffic information), Car -Net e-Remote (smart phone app), 2Zone automatic climate control, blue ambient lighting in the decorative inserts of the door panels, LED reading lights and LED footwell illumination, ‘GTE mode’ (with e-Boost and Sport driving profile), stainless steel pedal caps and illuminated stainless steel door sill plates at the front.

Every Golf is equipped with a touchscreen. In the Golf GTE, the touchscreen function is provided by the standard high resolution 5.8-inch Composition Media radio system display.  The Discover Pro navigation system is available as an option.

Whichever system is fitted, in the GTE they had supplementary functions including a range monitor, energy flow indicator, zero-emission statistics, e-manager and – when optional sat nav is fitted – a 360 degree range feature.  All Golf GTE owners can also load Volkswagen’s Car-Net e-Remote app on their smartphones, subscription for which is provided as standard for three years in the UK.  This app lets them control functions and call up information, for example:

  • Range monitor: depicts the available electric driving range of the GTE; the additional range potential that can be achieved by turning off auxiliary consumers that might be active is also shown.
  • Energy flow indicator: this indicator utilises animated graphics to depict the energy flow when accelerating (blue arrows) as well as braking, i.e. regenerative braking (green arrows).
  • e-Manager: up to three departure and charging times can be programmed here. Heating or cooling of the interior by means of the stationary air conditioning that comes as a standard feature can also be activated during the charging process. During charging, air conditioning does not drain the battery; as a result, the Golf GTE can drive off with a full electric driving range.
  • 360 degree range: the momentary driving range in e-Mode is shown by the so-called 360° zone on the map of the surrounding area. The highlighted zone shows the one-way electric driving range of the car. Charging stations can be displayed and used in route calculation.

Using the app it is also possible to set elements and request information via a smartphone or the Car-Net website. Specifically, the app lets users access programming of the departure time, climate control of the car’s interior, battery charging and polling of vehicle data and vehicle status (e.g. location of the Golf GTE or whether all doors are locked).

On the left side of the instrument cluster the GTE’s power meter supplements the tachometer. It shows information such as whether the high-voltage battery is being charged by regeneration or whether – and how much – energy is being consumed. The speedometer remains on the right hand side. A colour display, which is located between the power meter and speedometer, continuously displays the electric driving range and the current operating mode. In a separate LED field in the lower segment of the multifunction display, the ‘READY’ message also appears after starting the e-motor, indicating that the car is ready to be driven. 

SAFETY

Safety features

Like all Golf models, the GTE has a host of standard safety features on board, a number of which are highlighted below.

Automatic Post-Collision Braking System

Studies have found that around a quarter of all traffic accidents involving personal injury are multiple collision incidents, in other words, when there is a second impact after the initial collision.

The Golf’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System automatically brakes the vehicle when it is involved in an accident in order significantly to reduce its residual kinetic energy and hence prevent or minimise the severity of a subsequent collision. 

Triggering of the system is based on detection of a primary collision by the airbag sensors.  Vehicle braking is limited by the ESC control unit to a maximum deceleration rate of 0.6 g.  This value matches the deceleration level of Front Assist and ensures that the driver can take over handling of the car even in case of automatic braking.

The driver can ‘override’ the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System at any time; for example, if the system recognises that the driver is accelerating, it is disabled.  The system is also deactivated if the driver initiates hard braking at an even higher rate of deceleration.  Essentially, the system applies the brakes until a vehicle speed of 10 km/h is reached, so this residual vehicle speed can be used to steer to a safe location after the braking process.

PreCrash preventive occupant protection

The Golf’s preventive occupant protection system is just one example of a technology that has been transferred from the premium to the compact class.

If the system detects a potential accident situation – such as by the initiation of hard braking via an activated brake assistant – the seatbelts of the driver and front passenger are automatically pre-tensioned to ensure the best possible protection by the airbag and belt system.  When a critical and ‘unstable’ driving situation is detected, for example through severe oversteer or understeer with ESC intervention, the side windows are closed (except for a small gap) and so is the sunroof.  This is because the head and side airbags offer optimal support and thereby achieve their best possible effectiveness when the windows and sunroof are almost fully closed.

Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist

Adaptive Cruise Control is standard on all but the entry-level S Golf trim.  The system uses a radar sensor integrated into the front of the car to detect distance from the car in front, maintain a preselected speed and automatically brake or accelerate in traffic.  ACC operates over a speed range from 30 to 160 km/h (approx. 18 to 99 mph) with a manual gearbox. 

Front Assist

Front Assist works like ACC with the radar sensor integrated into the front of the car, which continually monitors the distance to the traffic ahead.  Even with ACC switched off, Front Assist helps assists the driver in critical situations by preconditioning the brake system and alerting the driver to any required reactions by means of visual and audible warnings.  If the driver fails to brake hard enough, the system automatically generates sufficient braking force to help avoid a collision.  Should the driver, meanwhile, not react at all, Front Assist automatically slows the car so that under optimal conditions the speed of any impact is minimised.  The system also assists the driver by an alert if the car is getting too close to the vehicle in front.  The City Emergency Braking function is also part of Front Assist.

City Emergency Braking

The City Emergency Braking function, first seen on the up! model and now standard on Golf from SE upwards and on the Golf GTE is a system extension of Front Assist and scans the area in front of the car via radar sensor.  It operates at speeds below 30 km/h (approx. 18 mph).  If the car is in danger of colliding with a vehicle driving or parked up ahead and the driver does not react, the brake system is preconditioned in the same way as with Front Assist.  If the driver fails to intervene, City Emergency Braking then automatically initiates hard braking to reduce the severity of the impact.  In addition, if the driver is initiating braking, but fails to press the brake pedal sufficiently, the system will assist with maximum braking power.

Driver Alert system

It is estimated that a quarter of motorway accidents are caused by driver tiredness.  For this reason Volkswagen has introduced an innovative fatigue detection system, which is particularly valuable for company car drivers who may cover long distances without a scheduled break.  

The Golf’s Driver Alert system does not work in the same way as those from other manufacturers which monitor eye movements.  Instead, for the first 15 minutes of a journey the system analyses the driver’s characteristic steering and driving behaviour.  Further into the journey the system continually evaluates signals such as steering angle, use of pedals and transverse acceleration.  If the monitored parameters indicate a deviation from the initial behaviour recorded at the beginning of the trip, then waning concentration is assumed and warnings issued.  The system warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds, while a visual message also appears in the instrument cluster recommending a break.  If the driver does not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated.  

This assistance system cannot detect so-called ‘microsleep’ but instead focuses on detecting early phases of lapses in concentration.  This means it is much less costly than an eye movement monitoring based system – and also still functions when the driver is wearing sunglasses or driving in the dark.

Electronic parking brake with auto hold function

All Golf models including the Golf GTE have an electronic parking brake which is operated via a switch between the front seats, as opposed to the ‘pull up’ handle from the previous generation.  This also incorporates a standard auto-hold function.  This is activated via a button near the gear lever and is useful when the car is regularly stopping for short periods, for example when driving in heavy traffic.  In this case, the parking brake is applied automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest on the footbrake, preventing it from rolling forwards or backwards.  The brake is then released as soon as the accelerator is pressed.  As it operates on all four wheels, the electronic parking brake can also function as an emergency brake.

Insurance

Thanks to its extensive security and safety features, the Golf GTE has been rated in insurance group 26E by the ABI (Association of British Insurers).

Servicing

The Golf GTE follows Volkswagen’s Fixed service regime.  This means an oil change at 10,000 miles or 12 months, then an inspection service after two years or 20,000 miles and thereafter every year or 20,000 miles.

Government grant

The Golf GTE qualifies for the government’s £2,500 electric vehicle grant.  The Retailer and customer are responsible for applying for the grant at the point of purchase and must fill in the necessary paperwork together.  More details at https://plugincargrant.dft.gov.uk

EQUIPMENT AND TRIM

The specification of the Golf GTE is based on that of the Golf GT, and as such it is already well-equipped, yet it adds a number of unique styling, technology and e-mobility and hybrid features.  Equipment highlights are shown below; for full details please see the price list.  

Safety and security

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist)
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control) including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (Traction Control); XDS+ (electronic differential lock for improved traction and handling)
  • curtain airbag system front and rear; front airbags with passenger’s deactivation switch; driver’s knee airbag; front seat side impact airbags
  • front active head restraints
  • immobiliser; remote locking; alarm
  • electronic parking brake with auto hold function
  • ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) including Front Assist, radar sensor-controlled distance monitoring system, city emergency braking system and cruise control
  • Driver Alert System; PreCrash occupant protection
  • automatic post-collision braking system
  • tyre pressure loss indicator
  • Isofix child seat preparation

Comfort and convenience

  • Driver Profile Selection including ‘GTE’ mode
  • battery regeneration (recuperation – energy recovery during braking)
  • Stop/Start function
  • multifunction computer including visual gear change recommendation for optimum fuel consumption
  • 2Zone automatic air conditioning; dust and pollen filter and automatic air recirculation
  • electrically adjustable and heated body-coloured door mirrors with puddle lights and integrated indicators
  • front centre armrest with storage, rear vents and cup holders
  • LED reading lights, front and rear
  • front sports seats with height and lumbar adjustment and under seat drawers
  • automatic coming/leaving home lighting function; dusk sensor – automatic driving lights; rain sensor and automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • electric windows, front and rear
  • height / reach adjustable steering wheel
  • progressive steering
  • parking sensors, front and rear
  • split folding rear seat backrest 60:40; load-through provision
  • Composition Media system with 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, DAB radio receiver, CD player with eight speakers, MDI (Multi Device Interface), SD card reader, music playback from MP3, WMA and AAC files, title and cover art display, aux-in socket for connection to an external multimedia source; four x 20 watt output, Car menu, Eco HMI
  • Car-Net e-remote mobile services app with three year subscription – remote battery charging management, remote pre-trip interior climatisation, vehicle status, vehicle trip statistics
  • Bluetooth telephone preparation
  • two charging cables – 16 amp AC cable for wallbox / chargepoints and 10 amp mains charge cable; socket AC type 2

Wheels and suspension

  • alloy wheels, 7½J x 18 ‘Serron’ with 225/40 R18 tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts
  • steel space-saver spare wheel
  • sports suspension, lowered by approx. 15 mm

Exterior design

  • ‘GTE’ styling pack – uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers and side sills
  • LED headlights, range adjustable with blue stripe
  • LED tinted rear light clusters
  • rear diffuser in ‘Black’ with chrome twin exhaust tailpipe
  • unique front ‘C’ shaped LED daytime running lights (in lieu of front fog lights)
  • unique ‘GTE’ radiator grille with blue stripe
  • ‘GTE’ badging
  • uniquely shaped rear roof spoiler with black glass underside

Interior design

  • blue stitching on leather trimmed multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift and ‘GTE’ logo and gear knob gaiter
  • ‘Chequered Flag’ decorative inserts in dash and door panels
  • stainless steel pedals – brake and accelerator
  • unique ‘GTE’ instrument cluster
  • upholstery – ‘Jacara Blue’ cloth
  • blue ambient lighting

Optional extras

A number of optional extras are available on the Golf GTE, despite its already comprehensive standard specification.  Highlights are shown below; for more details and up-to-date pricing information please consult the latest price list.

  • Vienna’ leather upholstery including heated front sports seats with manually adjustable lumbar support
  • Winter Pack: headlight washers, heated front seats, heated windscreen washer jets and low washer fluid warning light
  • advanced telephone connection: storage compartment in front centre armrest with integrated USB socket for telephone charging. Inductive connection to the vehicle’s external aerial for improved reception
  • Discover Navigation Pro touchscreen navigation/DVD radio system with integrated voice activation: eight-inch colour screen with 64 GB SD hard drive, preloaded European navigation data, 3D map view, three calculated routes, dynamic navigation based on TMC+, traffic sign display, photo display and 2x SD card reader (includes three years of navigation updates)
  • keyless entry, including start/stop button on centre console
  • panoramic sunroof
  • Dynamic Chassis Control
  • High Beam Assist
  • Lane Assist with Side Scan and Dynamic Light Assist
  • park assist
  • rear view camera
  • optional heat pump

Warranties

The Golf GTE comes with an eight year or 160,000 km (c.100,000 mile) high-voltage battery warranty.  In developing the battery, Volkswagen set the ambitious goal that the battery should still have 80 per cent of its original power after 10 years. This assumes a driving distance of 9,000 miles a year.

The battery warranty is on top of Volkswagen’s standard three year, 60,000 mile (first and second year with unlimited mileage manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty and the 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Roadside Assistance which provides vehicle home and roadside recovery in the event of a breakdown in the UK or Europe.  

CHRONOLOGY

Volkswagen and the history of electric cars

The Volkswagen Group has been working on electric cars since 1900, building up a wealth of experience and learning which now enables it to bring these cars to market with confidence.   

In 1976, Volkswagen researchers equipped a production Golf with an electric drive for the first time; its E-motor produced about 20 kW (25 PS) of power.  The electric Golf was driven over 20,000 km until 1986, serving as a test platform for various batteries and electric motors. Its top speed was 80 km/h, and its range was 70 km.

The best known electric car from Wolfsburg was the Golf CityStromer, based on Golf model series I through III.  Its starting gun sounded in 1981, once again as part of a joint venture with RWE. The second generation CityStromer had an electric motor with 15 kW (20 PS), which accelerated the 1.7 tonne car to 100 km/h in 13 seconds.

In the third model series, the car’s output was increased to 17.5 kW (24 PS) continuous power and 22 kW (30 PS) peak power.  The lead gel batteries with 11.4 kWh energy, arranged in the engine and luggage compartments, could handle a range of 70 km.  Top speed was 100 km/h, and the Golf CityStromer recovered energy during braking.

About 100 units were built at the Mosel Plant in Saxony, selling for 49,500 German marks.  Volkswagen’s intended customers were primarily electric utility companies.

(ends)

Golf GTE / KT 0415 / jl

THE GOLF GTE

Few cars have a history like that of the Volkswagen Golf, yet with global sales of over 30 million, in its seventh generation and having celebrated its 40th anniversary in March 2014, the Golf continues to offer buyers a car which sets benchmarks in comfort, practicality, safety and efficiency. It also established another ‘first’ in 2014, becoming the first car to be available with five power sources: petrol, diesel or CNG engines (not UK), a pure electric engine (e-Golf) and plug-in hybrid (Golf GTE).

Such flexibility is possible thanks to the MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix on which the Golf is built. This standardises many vehicle component parameters across brands and vehicle classes, and allows access to new powertrains and technologies.  As such the Golf GTE and e-Golf models are produced on the same factory line as the standard Golf. These electric and hybrid cars offer the same virtues of practicality, refinement and advanced technology as its multi-award winning and former European and World Car of the Year cousin, but with drastically reduced tailpipe emissions.

The Golf GTE plug-in hybrid made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014, and combines the benefits of electric mobility with the dynamics of a Golf GTI. Its name reflects its position in the line-up alongside the iconic petrol-powered GTI and the diesel GTD. Where ‘GT’ stands for ‘Gran Tourismo’, ‘I’ stands for ‘Injection’, ‘D’ for Diesel and ‘E’ for Electricity. 

The Golf GTE is driven by two engines: a 1.4-litre 150 PS TSI direct-injection petrol engine and a 102 PS electric motor. Together, they combine to produce power of 204 PS and a theoretical range of around 580 miles. Using the electric motor alone, the GTE is capable of speeds of 81 mph. With the TSI engine as well, the Golf GTE can sprint from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and on to 138 mph. Torque is a remarkable 350 Nm (258 lbs ft). Alongside this impressive performance, the Golf GTE offers impressive fuel efficiency, with a combined cycle figure of 166 mpg and CO2 emissions of 39 g/km.

In pure electric mode (activated at the press of a button), the Golf GTE can travel up to 31 miles, depending on conditions, and the electric power can also be saved – for example when driving to a zero-emissions zone. The 8.7 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged in three hours 45 minutes from a domestic mains outlet, or two hours 15 minutes from a domestic wallbox. The battery weighs 120 kg, giving the GTE a total kerbweight of 1,599 kg. 

The Golf GTE uses a six-speed DSG gearbox with a triple-clutch system specially developed for hybrid vehicles. The electric motor is integrated into the gearbox housing, while further hybrid components include power electronics and a charger. An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air conditioning compressor make for energy-efficient braking and air conditioning.

Visually, the Golf GTE combines elements of the look of the e-Golf and the GTI. The front bumper features C-shaped LED daytime running lights, like those on the e-Golf, as well as aerodynamic horizontal ‘fins’, like those on the GTI. Where the GTI features red, the GTE has blue accents, including across the radiator grille and into the headlights.

Inside as on the outside, the Golf GTE features blue highlights where the GTI has red. The 5.8-inch Discover Media satellite navigation system with DAB radio and Bluetooth is standard, and includes bespoke functions for electric vehicles, including the ability to identify potential destinations on electric range, and electric charging points. 

The GTE also features an e-manager which allows the driver to preset vehicle charging, as well as interior cooling or heating. These functions can also be operated remotely using the Volkswagen Car-Net e-remote app on a smartphone.

UK order books for the GTE opened in January 2015, with first deliveries in April 2015.

Summary

  • Name of Golf GTE reflects its position in the line-up alongside the petrol-powered GTI and diesel GTD.  ‘GT’ stands for ‘Gran Turismo’, ‘I’ stands for ‘Injection’, ‘D’ for Diesel, ‘E’ for Electricity
  • GTE is driven by two engines: a 1.4-litre 150 PS TSI direct-injection petrol engine and a 102 PS electric motor.  Together, they produce a maximum power of 204 PS and a theoretical range of 580 miles (NB combined power is less than theoretical maximum independently).  Torque is 350 Nm (258 lbs ft)
  • Six-speed DSG gearbox developed for hybrid vehicles is standard
  • The electric motor is integrated into the gearbox housing, while further hybrid components include power electronics and a charger.  An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air conditioning compressor make for energy-efficient braking and air conditioning
  • There are five operating modes: ‘E-mode’, ‘GTE mode’, ‘Battery Hold’, ‘Battery charge’ and ‘Hybrid Auto’.  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 up to 81 mph
  • With the TSI engine as well, the Golf GTE can sprint from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and on to 138 mph, yet returns a combined cycle figure of 166 mpg* and CO2 emissions of 39 g/km*  (*provisional data).  It is expected to be exempt from VED and the Congestion Charge
  • The 8.7 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged in 3 hours 45 minutes from a domestic mains outlet, or 2 hours 15 minutes from a domestic wallbox.  The battery weighs 120 kg, giving a kerbweight of 1,599 kg
  • The Golf GTE is available in five-door bodystyle only and in one specification (in the UK)
  • Visually, the Golf GTE combines elements of the e-Golf and Golf GTI, with C-shaped LED daytime running lights (e-Golf) and aerodynamic horizontal ‘fins’ (GTI).  Where the GTI features red, the GTE has blue accents, including across the radiator grille and into the headlights (which as on the e-Golf are LED).  In the UK, 18-inch ‘Serron’ alloy wheels will be standard
  • Inside too, the GTI’s red highlights are turned to blue – including the stitching on the steering wheel, gear lever gaiter and seats, and a blue stripe in the tartan pattern on the sports seats.  Touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio and Bluetooth is standard, while optional navigation includes bespoke EV features such as the ability to identify potential destinations on electric range, and charging points
  • 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 e-remote app on a smartphone; a three-year subscription is included as standard in the UK
  • The vehicle speedometer and tachometer are familiar, and the latter is supplemented by a power meter in the central display, which shows the status of the battery, whether or not power is being used and the intensity of any regeneration
  • UK order books for the GTE opened in January 2015, with first deliveries in April 2015
  • Golf GTE is the first electric vehicle from Volkswagen to be sold throughout its entire UK Retailer network.  Previous models (e-up! and e-Golf have been sold through a restricted network of 25 EV specialists)
  • Built in Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant in Germany 

HYBRID DRIVE SYSTEM

PLUG-IN HYBRID DRIVE SYSTEM

TSI, electric motor, DSG, battery

The drive units used in the Golf GTE are a 1.4-litre TSI 150 PS turbocharged petrol direct injection engine and an electric motor with 102 PS. The system power when the two drive units work together is 204 PS.

The electric motor is supplied with energy from a high voltage lithium-ion battery; the energy capacity of this battery, which features a liquid cooling system, is 8.7 kWh. The battery is charged via a socket behind the VW logo on the radiator grille. The gearbox that Volkswagen uses here is an automatic six-speed DSG with three clutches (dual clutch plus disengagement clutch) which was specially developed for hybrid use. Whenever possible, the disengagement clutch disengages the TSI from the driven front axle and shuts it off, for example during coasting; in this case, the Golf GTE makes use of the car’s kinetic energy and coasts without any added propulsive power. Volkswagen integrated the electric motor into the gearbox housing. Viewed from the front, the TSI is located on the left side of the engine compartment, the electric motor in the middle (in the DSG housing) and the dual clutch gearbox on the right.

Technical similarities between the Golf GTE and e-Golf

As in the e-Golf, additional components of the hybrid drive include the power electronics (converts DC power from the battery to AC power for the electric motor) and a charger. An electro-mechanical brake servo and an electric air conditioning compressor also ensure optimal and energy-efficient operation of the brakes and air conditioner in ‘e-mode’ when only the electric motor is powering the Golf GTE.

Compact powertrain elements

All components are compact and lightweight. The TSI weighs 102.8 kg, the electric motor 34 kg, the DSG 98.5 kg and the power electronics 12 kg. The high-voltage battery is located under the vehicle floor in front of the rear bench seat where it does not affect the car’s interior space. The battery weighs 120 kg, and with all of its components, the Golf GTE sold in the UK has an unladen weight of 1,599 kg.

Five operating modes

Automatic switching to ‘e-mode’ and ‘Battery Hold’ mode

The Golf GTE can be driven in five different modes and which to choose is very intuitive; what’s more, the driver can always see which mode is active on the multifunction display in the instrument cluster. The car is started, by default, in zero-emission e-mode (the Golf GTE only starts with the TSI engine if there is insufficient battery charge or at very low outdoor temperatures). When a minimum battery charge state is reached or during very high power demand, the drive system automatically switches to Battery Hold mode, deactivating e-mode, and the Golf GTE behaves like a classic full hybrid. In this mode, the battery is regeneratively charged during braking or deceleration, and the car automatically uses the TSI and electric motor alternately or both units together, depending on the driving situation. The charge state of the high voltage battery is maintained at a constant average value in this mode. The driver can independently select the Battery Hold mode at any time from the Car menu in the infotainment system, for example if they want to maintain charge for driving later in a zero-emissions zone.

Variable intensity of battery regeneration

When the driver pulls the DSG gear shift grip back (switching from D to B), the intensity of battery regeneration can be increased, and the Golf GTE can be decelerated without the brakes even being used, eg when driving in the mountains. This style of driving, which is otherwise only possible in electric vehicles like the e -Golf, is also quite intuitive.

Switching to e-mode by push button

By pressing the e-mode button (to the left of the gear knob), the driver can manually switch to e-mode, making the Golf GTE a zero-emission vehicle. When powered electrically, the GTE reaches a maximum speed of 81 mph; the maximum range in e-mode is 31 miles (when battery is fully charged at the start and depending on outdoor temperature and driving style). When a predefined low battery charge limit is reached, the vehicle management system automatically engages the TSI engine.

Switching to GTE mode by pushbutton

By pressing the GTE button (also to the left of the gear knob), the driver can activate GTE mode to access the very sporty nature of this Golf; the GTE mode symbol now appears in the instrument cluster. The driver notices the following: the characteristics of the accelerator pedal, gearbox and steering are immediately made sportier, the tuning of the TSI is also more performance oriented, while a sound actuator is activated to give a sporty sound to match the performance. In addition, automatic headlight control and the adaptive cruise control are modified. If optional dynamic chassis control is fitted, the electronically controlled dampers are switched from the Normal setting to the Sport mode. In addition, in GTE mode the TSI and electric motor work together, in what is known as ‘boosting’, a situation which calls up the full system power of 204 PS and its maximum 350 Nm (258 lbs ft) of torque.

Switching to ‘Hybrid Auto’, ‘Battery Hold’ and ‘Battery Charge’ modes from menu

Other modes can also be set from a menu in the infotainment system: Hybrid Auto, whereby the energy stored in the high voltage battery is used to support the TSI thus minimising fuel consumption, and Battery Charge. From this menu level, the driver can also switch to e-mode or Battery Hold mode.

Petrol engine

The 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged direct-injection engine in the Golf GTE develops its maximum power of 150 PS at a relatively low 5,000 rpm. The maximum torque of the four-cylinder engine is 250 Nm, which is available between 1,600 and 3,500 rpm. This 16-valve engine is one of the highly advanced petrol engines of the EA211 series. Thanks to its ultra-rigid crankcase made of diecast aluminium, as well as various other technical refinements, the GTE’s 1.4-litre TSI is very lightweight at 102.8 kg.

As the Golf GTE can be driven all-electrically for long periods of time, there may be phases lasting weeks during which the combustion engine is not used at all. For this reason, the TSI was also configured specifically for this use profile. Modifications include a polymer coating which was applied to the main and connecting rod bearings; a coating of special hard materials on the piston rings; and modifications to the bearing shells and piston play.

Full integration of the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head lets the 1.4-litre TSI reach its optimal operating temperature very quickly after the engine is started. Another key aspect of the engine design is thermal management: Volkswagen engineers designed a two-loop cooling system for this TSI, whereby a low temperature loop flows through the intercooler and turbocharger housing, supplied by an electric pump with need-based control.

The passenger compartment is heated by the cylinder head circulation loop, so it warms up quickly like the engine. Moreover, thanks to the design of the exhaust manifold, Volkswagen was also able to utilise a compact single-scroll compressor in its turbocharger selection, one effect of which was to reduce the weight of the cylinder head and turbocharger unit. Numerous other internal engine modifications also improve the fuel efficiency of the TSI engine with its two overhead camshafts.

The intake camshaft was designed for variable valve timing to reduce emissions and fuel consumption further, and to improve drive-away torque in the lower rev range. There is also an exhaust camshaft adjuster which enables even more spontaneous response from low revs; at the same time, torque is improved at high engine speeds. The maximum injection pressure of the 1.4-litre TSI is 200 bar; state-of-the-art five-hole injection nozzles precisely deliver up to three individual injections to each of the cylinders via a stainless steel distributor bar. All of these technical details demonstrate how Volkswagen is not just implementing high tech solutions in the electric drive components of the GTE plug-in hybrid system, but in the combustion engine as well.

Electric motor

The 102 PS electric motor develops a substantial maximum torque of 330 Nm from a standstill (continuous torque: 170 Nm). The high-revving motor has a maximum speed of 7,000 rpm and forms a compact module together with the 6-speed DSG gearbox. The mechanical design of this motor – a three-phase permanent magnet synchronous motor – is very efficient. Specifically, the electric motor is mounted on the input shaft between the dual-mass flywheel of the disengagement clutch (to disengage the TSI) and the components of the 6-speed DSG. Power electronics regulate the motor's torque and speed.

The module, made up of the DSG and electric motor is produced at the German Volkswagen component plant in Kassel Baunatal.

6-speed DSG with integrated electric motor

The Golf GTE’s newly developed 6-speed gearbox incorporates, in a single compact assembly, the electric motor, disengagement clutch and dual clutch gearbox (DSG). In order to integrate the electric motor fully in the gearbox, engineers shifted the petrol engine 57.5 mm to the left – when viewed from the front. With the exception of the mechanically activated parking lock, the DSG is controlled entirely by an electro-hydraulic control module (mechatronics). Analogous to the 6-speed and 7-speed DSG for conventional drives, in the new DSG power flow is distributed via a coaxially split driveshaft, each with an upstream driving clutch, to two gear-train halves. The DSG executes shifts in fractions of a second without any interruption in propulsive power. The two drive clutches (K1 and K2) are configured for input torques of 400 Nm each; the maximum input torque for the disengagement clutch (K0) of the TSI is 350 Nm (258 lbs ft).

High-voltage lithium-ion battery

The lithium-ion battery located under the vehicle floor consists mainly of the cell modules, battery junction box (BJB) and battery management controller (BMC). Each of the eight modules contains 12 cells together with cell electronics. The cells themselves add up to a voltage between 250 and 400 volts, depending on the charge status.

The gross energy capacity of the battery is 8.7 kWh. In its non-operating state or in case of a crash, the Golf GTE is automatically switched to a de-energised state. The Battery Management Controller performs safety, diagnostic and monitoring functions, and it also regulates the temperature in the battery junction box (interface for supplying the motor with energy). The battery itself is liquid cooled; the cooling system is also controlled by the battery management controller, which continually acquires the temperature distribution within the battery and reports cooling needs to the thermal management system. Volkswagen provides a warranty on the high-voltage battery of eight years or 160,000 km (approx. 100,000 miles).  

Cooling system

The Golf GTE’s cooling system fulfils significantly more stringent requirements than solutions found in conventionally powered vehicles. The reasons for this are clear: in addition to the combustion engine, gearbox and car interior, the system must also maintain the electrical components of the hybrid system within an ideal temperature window. This requires innovative solutions: the components are incorporated into the cooling loops in a way that ensures, on the one hand, they reach their individual operating temperatures quickly and, on the other, certain maximum temperatures are not exceeded. In the five different operating states of the Golf GTE the circulation loops must always provide the optimal volumetric flow of coolant. This was achieved by using a system that has three separate cooling loops.

Power electronics

The power electronics system converts the direct current (DC) of the lithium-ion battery to three-phase alternating current (AC) for the electric motor via its high-power transistors. The system has the following interfaces: the traction circuit connection to the battery; the 3-phase connection to the e-motor; the plug connector from the DC/DC converter to the 12V electrical system and a connection for the high-voltage power distributor. Essentially, the module serves as a link for the flow of high-voltage energy between the electric motor and the lithium-ion battery.

Charging concept

The Golf GTE’s battery can be charged in two different ways, but in both cases power is supplied via the charging socket behind the VW emblem on the radiator grille. Firstly, it can be charged by plugging into a standard 230 volt mains electrical socket, in which case the battery is charged by alternating current (AC) from the mains at a power level of 2.3 kW. When completely flat, the battery can be fully charged in 3 hours 45 minutes.

Alternatively the GTE can be charged via a garage or carport wall box or a public charging station at a power level of 3.6 kW. In this case, a full charge takes just 2 hours and 15 minutes.

The charging process can be started immediately by pressing a button on the charging socket behind the VW badge. Time-delayed charging is also possible, with the time preselected either via the infotainment system or via the ‘Car-Net’ app, a three-year subscription to which is provided for free to all UK customers. This app can be used to activate charging immediately or by remote control, while the interior can be cooled or heated at a preselected time.

Electro-mechanical brake servo

Volkswagen has developed an electromechanical brake servo (e-BKV) especially for its electric cars. It optimises the driver’s braking force in the Golf GTE in same way that brake servos do in conventional cars. With the electromechanical brake servo, this is supplemented by what is known as ‘brake blending’ – a process in which low levels of deceleration are accomplished solely by the e-motor’s braking torque. In this process, energy is recovered by regenerative braking and stored in the battery. Stronger decelerations, meanwhile, are achieved by the combined braking torque of the electric motor and the hydraulic brake system, and here too, kinetic energy is converted to electricity by regenerative braking.

INTERIOR

The interior of the Golf GTE matches its bespoke exterior as well as its innovative powertrain and technology.  Just as from the outside where the Golf GTI’s characteristic red has been switched to blue, so inside, blue highlights distinguish the GTE.

Standard features include sport seats in front (with lumbar support) in GTI style (GTE: blue ‘Clark’ tartan design for the seat and backrest surfaces), ‘Checkered Black’ decorative inlays in the dashboard, door and trim panels, leather-trimmed three-spoke  multifunction steering wheel with aluminium accents, gear knob in aluminium look, headliner and side trim in black, various controls with chrome surrounds or chrome accents (rotary light switch, mirror adjustment, window lift switches), Composition Media infotainment system with 5.8-inch display, mobile online services (e.g. traffic information), Car -Net e-Remote (smart phone app), 2Zone automatic climate control, blue ambient lighting in the decorative inserts of the door panels, LED reading lights and LED footwell illumination, ‘GTE mode’ (with e-Boost and Sport driving profile), stainless steel pedal caps and illuminated stainless steel door sill plates at the front.

Every Golf is equipped with a touchscreen. In the Golf GTE, the touchscreen function is provided by the standard high resolution 5.8-inch Composition Media radio system display.  The Discover Pro navigation system is available as an option.

Whichever system is fitted, in the GTE they had supplementary functions including a range monitor, energy flow indicator, zero-emission statistics, e-manager and – when optional sat nav is fitted – a 360 degree range feature.  All Golf GTE owners can also load Volkswagen’s Car-Net e-Remote app on their smartphones, subscription for which is provided as standard for three years in the UK.  This app lets them control functions and call up information, for example:

  • Range monitor: depicts the available electric driving range of the GTE; the additional range potential that can be achieved by turning off auxiliary consumers that might be active is also shown.
  • Energy flow indicator: this indicator utilises animated graphics to depict the energy flow when accelerating (blue arrows) as well as braking, i.e. regenerative braking (green arrows).
  • e-Manager: up to three departure and charging times can be programmed here. Heating or cooling of the interior by means of the stationary air conditioning that comes as a standard feature can also be activated during the charging process. During charging, air conditioning does not drain the battery; as a result, the Golf GTE can drive off with a full electric driving range.
  • 360 degree range: the momentary driving range in e-Mode is shown by the so-called 360° zone on the map of the surrounding area. The highlighted zone shows the one-way electric driving range of the car. Charging stations can be displayed and used in route calculation.

Using the app it is also possible to set elements and request information via a smartphone or the Car-Net website. Specifically, the app lets users access programming of the departure time, climate control of the car’s interior, battery charging and polling of vehicle data and vehicle status (e.g. location of the Golf GTE or whether all doors are locked).

On the left side of the instrument cluster the GTE’s power meter supplements the tachometer. It shows information such as whether the high-voltage battery is being charged by regeneration or whether – and how much – energy is being consumed. The speedometer remains on the right hand side. A colour display, which is located between the power meter and speedometer, continuously displays the electric driving range and the current operating mode. In a separate LED field in the lower segment of the multifunction display, the ‘READY’ message also appears after starting the e-motor, indicating that the car is ready to be driven. 

SAFETY

Safety features

Like all Golf models, the GTE has a host of standard safety features on board, a number of which are highlighted below.

Automatic Post-Collision Braking System

Studies have found that around a quarter of all traffic accidents involving personal injury are multiple collision incidents, in other words, when there is a second impact after the initial collision.

The Golf’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System automatically brakes the vehicle when it is involved in an accident in order significantly to reduce its residual kinetic energy and hence prevent or minimise the severity of a subsequent collision. 

Triggering of the system is based on detection of a primary collision by the airbag sensors.  Vehicle braking is limited by the ESC control unit to a maximum deceleration rate of 0.6 g.  This value matches the deceleration level of Front Assist and ensures that the driver can take over handling of the car even in case of automatic braking.

The driver can ‘override’ the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System at any time; for example, if the system recognises that the driver is accelerating, it is disabled.  The system is also deactivated if the driver initiates hard braking at an even higher rate of deceleration.  Essentially, the system applies the brakes until a vehicle speed of 10 km/h is reached, so this residual vehicle speed can be used to steer to a safe location after the braking process.

PreCrash preventive occupant protection

The Golf’s preventive occupant protection system is just one example of a technology that has been transferred from the premium to the compact class.

If the system detects a potential accident situation – such as by the initiation of hard braking via an activated brake assistant – the seatbelts of the driver and front passenger are automatically pre-tensioned to ensure the best possible protection by the airbag and belt system.  When a critical and ‘unstable’ driving situation is detected, for example through severe oversteer or understeer with ESC intervention, the side windows are closed (except for a small gap) and so is the sunroof.  This is because the head and side airbags offer optimal support and thereby achieve their best possible effectiveness when the windows and sunroof are almost fully closed.

Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist

Adaptive Cruise Control is standard on all but the entry-level S Golf trim.  The system uses a radar sensor integrated into the front of the car to detect distance from the car in front, maintain a preselected speed and automatically brake or accelerate in traffic.  ACC operates over a speed range from 30 to 160 km/h (approx. 18 to 99 mph) with a manual gearbox. 

Front Assist

Front Assist works like ACC with the radar sensor integrated into the front of the car, which continually monitors the distance to the traffic ahead.  Even with ACC switched off, Front Assist helps assists the driver in critical situations by preconditioning the brake system and alerting the driver to any required reactions by means of visual and audible warnings.  If the driver fails to brake hard enough, the system automatically generates sufficient braking force to help avoid a collision.  Should the driver, meanwhile, not react at all, Front Assist automatically slows the car so that under optimal conditions the speed of any impact is minimised.  The system also assists the driver by an alert if the car is getting too close to the vehicle in front.  The City Emergency Braking function is also part of Front Assist.

City Emergency Braking

The City Emergency Braking function, first seen on the up! model and now standard on Golf from SE upwards and on the Golf GTE is a system extension of Front Assist and scans the area in front of the car via radar sensor.  It operates at speeds below 30 km/h (approx. 18 mph).  If the car is in danger of colliding with a vehicle driving or parked up ahead and the driver does not react, the brake system is preconditioned in the same way as with Front Assist.  If the driver fails to intervene, City Emergency Braking then automatically initiates hard braking to reduce the severity of the impact.  In addition, if the driver is initiating braking, but fails to press the brake pedal sufficiently, the system will assist with maximum braking power.

Driver Alert system

It is estimated that a quarter of motorway accidents are caused by driver tiredness.  For this reason Volkswagen has introduced an innovative fatigue detection system, which is particularly valuable for company car drivers who may cover long distances without a scheduled break.  

The Golf’s Driver Alert system does not work in the same way as those from other manufacturers which monitor eye movements.  Instead, for the first 15 minutes of a journey the system analyses the driver’s characteristic steering and driving behaviour.  Further into the journey the system continually evaluates signals such as steering angle, use of pedals and transverse acceleration.  If the monitored parameters indicate a deviation from the initial behaviour recorded at the beginning of the trip, then waning concentration is assumed and warnings issued.  The system warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds, while a visual message also appears in the instrument cluster recommending a break.  If the driver does not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated.  

This assistance system cannot detect so-called ‘microsleep’ but instead focuses on detecting early phases of lapses in concentration.  This means it is much less costly than an eye movement monitoring based system – and also still functions when the driver is wearing sunglasses or driving in the dark.

Electronic parking brake with auto hold function

All Golf models including the Golf GTE have an electronic parking brake which is operated via a switch between the front seats, as opposed to the ‘pull up’ handle from the previous generation.  This also incorporates a standard auto-hold function.  This is activated via a button near the gear lever and is useful when the car is regularly stopping for short periods, for example when driving in heavy traffic.  In this case, the parking brake is applied automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest on the footbrake, preventing it from rolling forwards or backwards.  The brake is then released as soon as the accelerator is pressed.  As it operates on all four wheels, the electronic parking brake can also function as an emergency brake.

Insurance

Thanks to its extensive security and safety features, the Golf GTE has been rated in insurance group 26E by the ABI (Association of British Insurers).

Servicing

The Golf GTE follows Volkswagen’s Fixed service regime.  This means an oil change at 10,000 miles or 12 months, then an inspection service after two years or 20,000 miles and thereafter every year or 20,000 miles.

Government grant

The Golf GTE qualifies for the government’s £2,500 electric vehicle grant.  The Retailer and customer are responsible for applying for the grant at the point of purchase and must fill in the necessary paperwork together.  More details at https://plugincargrant.dft.gov.uk

EQUIPMENT AND TRIM

The specification of the Golf GTE is based on that of the Golf GT, and as such it is already well-equipped, yet it adds a number of unique styling, technology and e-mobility and hybrid features.  Equipment highlights are shown below; for full details please see the price list.  

Safety and security

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist)
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control) including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (Traction Control); XDS+ (electronic differential lock for improved traction and handling)
  • curtain airbag system front and rear; front airbags with passenger’s deactivation switch; driver’s knee airbag; front seat side impact airbags
  • front active head restraints
  • immobiliser; remote locking; alarm
  • electronic parking brake with auto hold function
  • ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) including Front Assist, radar sensor-controlled distance monitoring system, city emergency braking system and cruise control
  • Driver Alert System; PreCrash occupant protection
  • automatic post-collision braking system
  • tyre pressure loss indicator
  • Isofix child seat preparation

Comfort and convenience

  • Driver Profile Selection including ‘GTE’ mode
  • battery regeneration (recuperation – energy recovery during braking)
  • Stop/Start function
  • multifunction computer including visual gear change recommendation for optimum fuel consumption
  • 2Zone automatic air conditioning; dust and pollen filter and automatic air recirculation
  • electrically adjustable and heated body-coloured door mirrors with puddle lights and integrated indicators
  • front centre armrest with storage, rear vents and cup holders
  • LED reading lights, front and rear
  • front sports seats with height and lumbar adjustment and under seat drawers
  • automatic coming/leaving home lighting function; dusk sensor – automatic driving lights; rain sensor and automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • electric windows, front and rear
  • height / reach adjustable steering wheel
  • progressive steering
  • parking sensors, front and rear
  • split folding rear seat backrest 60:40; load-through provision
  • Composition Media system with 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, DAB radio receiver, CD player with eight speakers, MDI (Multi Device Interface), SD card reader, music playback from MP3, WMA and AAC files, title and cover art display, aux-in socket for connection to an external multimedia source; four x 20 watt output, Car menu, Eco HMI
  • Car-Net e-remote mobile services app with three year subscription – remote battery charging management, remote pre-trip interior climatisation, vehicle status, vehicle trip statistics
  • Bluetooth telephone preparation
  • two charging cables – 16 amp AC cable for wallbox / chargepoints and 10 amp mains charge cable; socket AC type 2

Wheels and suspension

  • alloy wheels, 7½J x 18 ‘Serron’ with 225/40 R18 tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts
  • steel space-saver spare wheel
  • sports suspension, lowered by approx. 15 mm

Exterior design

  • ‘GTE’ styling pack – uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers and side sills
  • LED headlights, range adjustable with blue stripe
  • LED tinted rear light clusters
  • rear diffuser in ‘Black’ with chrome twin exhaust tailpipe
  • unique front ‘C’ shaped LED daytime running lights (in lieu of front fog lights)
  • unique ‘GTE’ radiator grille with blue stripe
  • ‘GTE’ badging
  • uniquely shaped rear roof spoiler with black glass underside

Interior design

  • blue stitching on leather trimmed multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift and ‘GTE’ logo and gear knob gaiter
  • ‘Chequered Flag’ decorative inserts in dash and door panels
  • stainless steel pedals – brake and accelerator
  • unique ‘GTE’ instrument cluster
  • upholstery – ‘Jacara Blue’ cloth
  • blue ambient lighting

Optional extras

A number of optional extras are available on the Golf GTE, despite its already comprehensive standard specification.  Highlights are shown below; for more details and up-to-date pricing information please consult the latest price list.

  • Vienna’ leather upholstery including heated front sports seats with manually adjustable lumbar support
  • Winter Pack: headlight washers, heated front seats, heated windscreen washer jets and low washer fluid warning light
  • advanced telephone connection: storage compartment in front centre armrest with integrated USB socket for telephone charging. Inductive connection to the vehicle’s external aerial for improved reception
  • Discover Navigation Pro touchscreen navigation/DVD radio system with integrated voice activation: eight-inch colour screen with 64 GB SD hard drive, preloaded European navigation data, 3D map view, three calculated routes, dynamic navigation based on TMC+, traffic sign display, photo display and 2x SD card reader (includes three years of navigation updates)
  • keyless entry, including start/stop button on centre console
  • panoramic sunroof
  • Dynamic Chassis Control
  • High Beam Assist
  • Lane Assist with Side Scan and Dynamic Light Assist
  • park assist
  • rear view camera
  • optional heat pump

Warranties

The Golf GTE comes with an eight year or 160,000 km (c.100,000 mile) high-voltage battery warranty.  In developing the battery, Volkswagen set the ambitious goal that the battery should still have 80 per cent of its original power after 10 years. This assumes a driving distance of 9,000 miles a year.

The battery warranty is on top of Volkswagen’s standard three year, 60,000 mile (first and second year with unlimited mileage manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty and the 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Roadside Assistance which provides vehicle home and roadside recovery in the event of a breakdown in the UK or Europe.  

CHRONOLOGY

Volkswagen and the history of electric cars

The Volkswagen Group has been working on electric cars since 1900, building up a wealth of experience and learning which now enables it to bring these cars to market with confidence.   

In 1976, Volkswagen researchers equipped a production Golf with an electric drive for the first time; its E-motor produced about 20 kW (25 PS) of power.  The electric Golf was driven over 20,000 km until 1986, serving as a test platform for various batteries and electric motors. Its top speed was 80 km/h, and its range was 70 km.

The best known electric car from Wolfsburg was the Golf CityStromer, based on Golf model series I through III.  Its starting gun sounded in 1981, once again as part of a joint venture with RWE. The second generation CityStromer had an electric motor with 15 kW (20 PS), which accelerated the 1.7 tonne car to 100 km/h in 13 seconds.

In the third model series, the car’s output was increased to 17.5 kW (24 PS) continuous power and 22 kW (30 PS) peak power.  The lead gel batteries with 11.4 kWh energy, arranged in the engine and luggage compartments, could handle a range of 70 km.  Top speed was 100 km/h, and the Golf CityStromer recovered energy during braking.

About 100 units were built at the Mosel Plant in Saxony, selling for 49,500 German marks.  Volkswagen’s intended customers were primarily electric utility companies.

(ends)

Golf GTE / KT 0415 / jl

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