VW Tiguan GTE Active Concept debuts in Detroit

Volkswagen has come up with a plug-in hybrid concept car based on the new Tiguan. The Tiguan GTE Active Concept debuted at this week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A production version for the US market is expected next year.

The concept car has a 222 BHP drive system – a plug-in hybrid set-up with two electric motors and an engine, which can supply all four wheels with power – automatically or at the push of a button. On-board the Tiguan GTE Active Concept, the technology of the all-wheel drive system ensures that the SUV can offer off-road performance even in all-electric mode.

The five-seat concept car is based on the completely redeveloped second generation of the Tiguan. The Tiguan GTE Active Concept reflects the great technical range of the new SUV generation with its all-wheel plug-in hybrid system and an infotainment system that has also been redeveloped (9.2-inch touchscreen with gesture control and a high-end glass surface). It will arrive on the USA market starting in spring 2017 in a version with an even longer wheelbase and seven seats. For Volkswagen, the new Tiguan marks the kickoff of an SUV product offensive.

After starting, the concept car always drives at first as a zero emissions vehicle in the all-electric E-mode. Normally, it is driven by the rear wheels, but if there is a risk of traction loss, the front wheels are engaged too within fractions of a second. All four wheels are also activated when the driver selects 4MOTION Active Control of the all-wheel drive or off-road programs. Then too, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept starts up in all-wheel drive and with zero emissions (provided of course that the battery is sufficiently charged). The Volkswagen can cover up to 20 miles all-electrically. The vehicle’s driving range (based on a battery capacity of 12.4 kWh and a 64-litre fuel tank) is 580 miles.

The Tiguan is the first SUV to be based on Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB). Like the later production version of the new generation of SUVs, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is also equipped with safety systems such as Front Assist including City Emergency Braking and pedestrian monitoring, an active bonnet, Lane Assist and the automatic post-collision braking system.

Another highlight of the concept car is its infotainment system: in the Tiguan GTE Active Concept, Volkswagen is presenting the top system of a new-generation infotainment system with a 9.2-inch touchscreen. Also on-board: an Active Info Display (fully digital instruments) and a head-up display.

The all wheel drive system – known as 4MOTION at Volkswagen – is designed to boost traction and contribute to active safety. The transmission used in the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG) that was specially designed for hybrid use; the electric motor at the front is integrated into the transmission case. Other components include the lithium-ion high-voltage battery (energy capacity: 12.4 kWh) that can be charged either externally or via the TSI, power electronics for the front motor and a second power electronics module integrated in the electric motor at the rear.

Depending on the driving programme and drive modes, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept is either driven by the rear wheels or by all four wheels. As a default, the concept car always starts off electrically in the zero-emission E-mode. If the battery is sufficiently charged, the rear electric motor powers the car by itself. However, as soon as the driving situation demands it, or the driver manually activates a related mode, the front electric motor is also engaged. The Tiguan GTE Active Concept is now a zero-emission all-wheel drive vehicle whose electric motors are supplied with energy from a lithium-ion battery. The concept car can cover up to 20 miles before the petrol engine is needed. In Emode, the Tiguan has a top speed of 70 mph.

If the battery is no longer sufficiently charged, and the system requests that the electric motor on the rear axle be supplied with electricity by the front electric motor and gasoline engine, the TSI is started up and engaged (Hybrid mode). In this case, the front electric motor serves as a generator for the rear electric motor.

Since the energy for driving the rear axle flows “by wire” and not mechanically, Volkswagen describes this as an “electric propshaft”. In Hybrid mode, the Tiguan GTE Active Concept may automatically use the TSI and/or the electric motors, depending on the energy level of the battery.

Several different driving programmes can be accessed via a rotary/push-button switch: Onroad, Offroad, Snow, Charge and Battery Hold. There are also three drive modes: Hybrid, E-Mode and GTE. The E-mode and GTE mode are activated by separate buttons on the centre console. The GTE mode is a feature of all Volkswagen cars with a plug-in hybrid drive. The transmission, accelerator pedal and steering characteristics are made noticeably more dynamic, and the TSI engine’s tuning is also more performance oriented. The turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engine and the electric motors work together in the GTE mode and in kickdown/boosting, making the full system power of 222 BHP available, permitting 0-60 mph acceleration in 6.4 seconds.

As soon as drivers take their foot off the accelerator pedal, the engine and all motors are shut down and disengaged from the drivetrain, provided that the battery is sufficiently charged. This is known as “Coasting”. The Tiguan GTE Active Concept also has regenerative braking.

The show car also features the top system of Volkswagen’s next-generation modular infotainment platform (MIB) at its final production level. The two exceptional features of this system are a large 9.2-inch high-resolution touchscreen and gesture control. Via App Connect, the smartphone apps of Mirror Link, Android Auto (Google) or CarPlay (Apple) can also be integrated.

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