Long Termers: Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE
So the Passat has been regularly and dutifully plugged in (once I worked how how to get the fiddly grille flap open) and batteries replenished often. This gives about 20 miles of battery-only operation in these wintry conditions.
This would be excellent and would save fortunes if the office was just down the road and I could recharge there. Unfortunately, my commute is about 80 miles and that means the car has to eke out this battery in the best way possible. You have the opportunity to hold the battery life manually until you think its best deployed (probably in traffic jams), put it in hybrid mode, GTE mode (sporty-ish) or battery charge mode.
I tried to manage the various systems myself but in the end felt like Lieutenant Sulu trying to drive the Enterprise, such was the variety of buttons to poke and menus to access, so left the thing to its own devices.
The results have been interesting: it’s clearly a very clever set-up that constantly assesses what is best at any given time and it runs pretty smoothly too, but for all the brains and activity, I’m getting about 45mpg, which a Passat diesel would easily beat. Very much a car for the right person and driving profile, then.For more of the latest industry news, click here.