Originally published on CleanTechnica.
Volkswagen Group is planning to invest around €4 billion in conjunction with its joint venture partners in China in 2016, according to a recent press release. The investment funds will be used primarily to support the company’s focus on the SUV and “new energy vehicle” markets in the country.
The investment funding for the market is forthcoming owing to the company’s expectation that the positive sales trend seen over the two previous quarters in the market will continue, according to the company’s head of Chinese operations, Jochem Heizmann.
On that note, the company recently unveiled its new T-Prime Concept GTE — a full-size, all-wheel-drive, plug-in hybrid electric SUV — at the Beijing Auto Show.
Here’s more from the press release:
Volkswagen debuted the T-Prime Concept GTE in a world premiere at Auto China 2016 in Beijing today. The concept car previews the future Volkswagen SUV. The T-Prime Concept GTE is a full-size sport utility vehicle with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive.
…In the future, Volkswagen wants to offer an exciting SUV in every relevant market segment. The product campaign starts this Spring with the global market launch of the new Tiguan which will also be offered with an extended wheelbase in certain markets. Following in car classes above it are a new mid-size SUV (for the USA and China), the successful Touareg and a vehicle in the style of the T-Prime Concept GTE.
…The concept car is powered by a 375 horsepower plug-in hybrid drive, incorporating an electric motor, turbocharged gas engine, and battery, which can charge externally or during the drive. With a sufficiently charged battery (14.1 kWh energy capacity) this SUV — like all Volkswagen GTE cars — always starts in the practically silent electric E-Mode. It permits up to 31 miles of zero-emission driving in metropolitan areas. GTE mode forms an efficient alliance between the electric motor that is integrated into the housing of the 8-speed automatic gearbox and the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine (TSI). The electric motor develops a power of 134 hp and a maximum torque of 258 lb-ft; the TSI has an output of 248 hp and 273 lb-ft. In boosted GTE mode (kickdown), the full system power and an impressive 516 lb-ft of system torque are available. The T-Prime Concept GTE is equipped with 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive, which distributes power to the front and rear wheels via the limited-slip differential, which is also integrated into the 8-speed automatic gearbox.
Considering the current state of the market, I’ll say that all of that actually sounds a bit underwhelming. I really have to wonder lately what the leadership at companies such as Volkswagen are thinking.