You’ve seen the cool Volkswagen E-Bugster earlier, now here’s something less exciting but nearer to the showrooms, the Jetta Hybrid. The Jetta’s zero-flair bodyshell now houses a hybrid powertrain which marries a 150 PS/250 Nm 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine to a 20 kW electric motor.
Together, the combo delivers around 20% better fuel consumption over an equivalent petrol-powered Jetta (19 km/l) and decent performance – 0-100 km/h takes less than nine seconds.
Like the Touareg Hybrid, the Jetta is a parallel hybrid, using a decoupling clutch that can disengage the petrol motor for pure electric drive (or when coasting or braking), disengage the electric motor (for higher speeds or when the battery charge is low), or combine the two units for maximum power. Power is directed to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch DSG gearbox
Using electric power alone, the Jetta Hybrid can be driven at speeds of up to 70 km/h and over a distance of 2 km, depending on conditions. For maximum performance, both the TSI engine and the electric motor combine for peak power of 170 PS.
A lithium-ion battery supplies energy to the electric motor. It is located behind the rear seat bench, making no compromises on interior space. The 38.5 kg pack is made up of 60 individual cells, and together they produce a nominal voltage of 220 V and an energy capacity of 1.1 kWh.
Cooling is provided by an integrated fan, operated by the battery’s own management system that performs diagnostic, monitoring and safety functions, including disconnecting itself in an accident.
If the battery has enough juice, the Jetta Hybrid is switched to electric drive mode either automatically (at speeds of up to 60 km/h) or at the press of a button next to the gear lever (up to 70 km/h).
When the driver releases the gas pedal at higher speeds (up to 135 km/h) the TSI engine is decoupled, reducing drag torque losses. Under braking, it switches to battery regeneration mode. At higher speeds, or when the battery is depleted, the engine provides extra power to recharge the battery.
Despite the extra weight of the battery, motor and extra safety mods to the vehicle structure, the Jetta Hybrid weighs only 100 kg more than the non-hybrid sedan at below 1,500 kg. Externally, the Jetta Hybrid can be identified by aero mods including a new front spoiler, a rear diffuser and a rear spoiler that help to improve the car’s Cd value by 10%.
With a 1.4-litre engine, the Jetta Hybrid qualifies for Malaysia’s tax incentives for hybrid cars – will this be the first non-Japanese hybrid player in our market? Read our review of the Jetta 1.4 TSI here.