VW PHEV SUV Concept Shown In Detroit

The Detroit show is underway for 2015 and Volkswagen is showcasing  the Cross Coupe GTE PHEV concept.

At the end of 2016, Volkswagen will start production of a new model in Chattanooga, Tennessee: a seven-seater mid-size SUV.

As a preview to this vehicle, Volkswagen is now showing the five-seater Cross Coupe GTE at the North American International Auto Show.

This comcept is said to be powered by a plug-in hybrid system with a maximum output of 355 horsepower and an all-wheel-drive system that uses an “electric driveshaft”. The hybrid has a manufacturer-estimated fuel economy rating of 70 MPGe.

“The Cross Coupe GTE is the ambassador of a new design language developed by Volkswagen for the U.S.,” said Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at Volkswagen. “The concept car has a commanding presence; it is powerful with a look that could almost be described as aggressive. Numerous details hint at how we envision a future production SUV model for North America. The underlying concept combines German engineering and design with a vehicle that suits the American lifestyle. That means high efficiency, clear and powerful design, logical operation and supreme quality—combined with lots of space, superior performance, and outstanding comfort.”

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The GTE acronym, with E as in Electric, generally applies to all sporty Volkswagen models with a high-tech plug-in hybrid drivetrain and they also offer some form of zero-emissions driving.

According to VW, the Cross Coupe has a zero-emissions range of up to 20 miles and can reach 60 mph from rest in 6.0 seconds. The car has various operating modes: E-Mode, GTE, Hybrid, Off-road and Battery Hold/Battery Charge.


The Cross Coupe GTE is the third concept car presented by Volkswagen on the way to the production version of the 2017 mid-size SUV. All three concepts—the CrossBlue presented in Detroit in January 2013, the CrossBlue Coupe most recently shown in Los Angeles in November 2013 and the Cross Coupe GTE—are said by VW to represent just a part of the wide spectrum of SUV variants that can be produced off Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) architecture.

Here is how Volkswagen has explained the powertrain found under the glacier blue bodywork of this concept:

The SUV concept is powered by a 3.6-liter VR6 gasoline engine and two electric motors. The six-cylinder direct-injection engine (FSI) delivers 276 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The two electric motors produce 54 hp and 162 lb-ft (front) and 114 hp and 199 lb-ft (rear). They are powered by a compact lithium-ion battery housed in the center tunnel, which is rated at 14.1 kilowatt-hour. The total output of the drive system adds up to 355 hp and 280 lb-ft, enough to power the Cross Coupe GTE onto a top speed of 130 mph and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.0 seconds.

The Cross Coupe GTE features a number of driving profiles: On-road (with Comfort and Eco sub-modes), Off-road (with Rocks, Sludge & Sand and Gravel), Sport and Snow. The profiles change the setup of the SUV. There are also five drive modes: E-Mode; Hybrid; GTE; Off-road; and Battery Hold / Battery Charge.


Thanks to the lithium-ion battery, the Cross Coupe GTE can travel up to 20 miles as an EV. In E-Mode, the 114-hp rear electric motor drives the vehicle and the VR6 engine is shut down and decoupled from the drivetrain by disengaging the clutch. As soon as the gasoline engine needs to be restarted due, for instance, to the battery charge status, it re-engages smoothly in a fraction of a second. Power electronics manage the flow of high-voltage energy from and to the battery and to the electric motors. The 12-volt electrical system is supplied by a DC/DC converter. The battery is charged via external power sources or while driving.


The concept car starts in Hybrid Mode by default. The Cross Coupe GTE is then a classical full hybrid that charges the battery via regenerative braking and automatically uses the VR6 engine and/or the electric motor depending on the drive situation. In this mode, the battery state of charge is kept constant; the driver can actively influence this by using the battery hold function.

  • Coasting: As soon as the driver takes his or her foot off the accelerator and the battery is sufficiently charged, the gasoline engine and electric motors are shut down and disengaged from the drivetrain.
  • Recuperation Mode: If the driver removes his or her foot from the accelerator or brakes when the battery is not sufficiently charged, both electric motors work as generators and feed the energy generated during braking to the lithium-ion battery. In this case, too, the VR6 engine is shut down and disengaged.
  • Driving with the VR6 engine: When the gasoline engine alone is powering the vehicle, the concept car is purely front-wheel drive to achieve excellent fuel economy.

The driver uses the GTE button to switch to the most dynamic side of the vehicle. This makes the throttle, transmission and steering characteristics even sportier. In addition, the VR6 engine and the electric motors work together to deliver the full system output and the maximum system torque.


All four wheels are powered as soon as the driver activates this mode. In this case (and when the battery charge is low), the front electric motor is employed exclusively as a generator that is driven by the gasoline engine in order to provide the power for its counterpart at the rear axle. As the power to drive the rear axle flows electronically, the all-wheel-drive system is referred to as an “electric driveshaft”. Since the VR6 engine drives the rear electric motor via the front motor in Off-road Mode, all-wheel drive is available even when the battery has a low state of charge and the car is running as a plug-in-hybrid

Battery Charge/Battery Hold.

The dual-mode Battery Hold (energy content of the battery stays constant) and Battery Charge (battery is charged whilst driving) is activated via a sub-menu in the infotainment system. It serves to hold the vehicle in E-Mode, for example, when the driver knows they are about to enter an urban area.