I'm conflicted. I love my 2017 VW GTI. Yet I also love our one and only planet Earth and want to do my part to reduce the carbon emissions that are fueling dangerous global warming.
Last Thursday I avidly watched streaming video of the rollout of the eighth generation Golf in Wolfsburg, Germany. Externally it looks pleasingly like the seventh generation Golf, with the same clean lines.
Five hybrid drives for the new Golf
With the new Golf, Volkswagen has started a hybrid offensive. As the first model of the brand, the eighth Golf will be available in no less than five hybrid drive versions. Its debut also celebrates 48V technology: a belt starter generator, 48V lithium-ion battery and the latest generation of efficient TSI engines form a new mild hybrid drive in the eTSI. Tangible benefits: consumption has been cut by up to 10% (on the basis of WLTP) and the vehicle is extremely agile and comfortable when moving off. Volkswagen will offer the Golf in three eTSI output stages: 81 kW / 110 PS, 96 kW / 130 PS and 110 kW / 150 PS.
The eighth generation of the best-seller will also be available as two plug-in hybrid drive variants. A new efficiency version generates 150 kW / 204 PS while the very sporty GTE delivers 180 kW / 245 PS. Both Golf versions with plug-in hybrid drives will launch with a new 13 kWh lithium-ion battery on board that enables larger electrically powered ranges of approximately 60 kilometres, and temporarily turns the Golf into a zero-emissions vehicle.
My wife and I have leased three Chevy Volts, a plug-in hybrid that had about 50 miles of range in its most recent version. (Chevolet has discontinued the Volt, sadly.)
I didn't like the Volt nearly as much as my wife did, preferring my VW GTI, but the idea of being able to drive on pure electric power around town, then have a limitless gasoline range for occasional longer trips really appealed to both of us.
VW says in the media release that the Golf plug-in hybrids will have a 60 km range, which is 37 miles. I'd buy either an eighth generation regular Golf or a Golf GTI instantly if it was a plug-in hybrid. Problem is, VW has only announced that the GTI and high performance R models will be sold in the United States.
And so far as I know, there's been no announcement of whether any of the five hybrid drives will make it to this country. I sure hope so. The only glimmer of hope I've been able to discern in my Googling of Golf Mk8 is a Green Car Reports story, "VW Golf unveiled: no more EV, more plug-in options, but diesel remains."
The gas-powered models—a 1.0-liter, 1.5-liter, or 2.0-liter—will be the most popular among buyers around the world, and only the 2.0-liter is slated to reach U.S. shores officially. VW hinted that a plug-in hybrid version of the Golf could make it to the States—potentially a GTE version—but hasn't yet confirmed any plans.
...The plug-in hybrid powertrains pair a 1.4-liter turbo-4 to an electric drive motor and 13-kwh lithium-ion battery. Although a range-focused version will be sold overseas, a performance-minded GTE will be sold alongside those versions—and perhaps the U.S.
Well, at least the story says "potentially" and "perhaps" in regard to a plug-in hybrid Golf being sold in the United States. I sure hope this happens. So much so, yesterday I sent this email to a media relations person in Germany whose name and email address appeared in media releases that popped up in my VW twitter feed.
Mr. Schroeder, I’m a happy owner of a 2017 GTI (Autobahn trim) who lives in the United States and follows the VW Twitter account. I watched the rollout of the Mk8 Golf last Thursday with avid attention.