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PHOTO CAPTION: 2012 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid could be basis for plug-in version.

Volkswagen Developing Electric, Plug-in Hybrid

Plug-in hybrid powertrain will be installed in a 'mass segment' vehicle.

Published: 16-Jan-2012

Volkswagen is working on a plug-in hybrid for the U.S. market, we’ve learned. The car is still in development, but it should be ready for sale relatively soon.

Although the company is quiet about all of the details, we have been told that the car will pair an electric motor with the 150-hp, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the new Jetta hybrid (and headed for nonhybrid Jettas in the near-ish future). A battery pack of unknown capacity will allow for an electric-only range of between 30 and 35 miles.

The system should be very similar to the setup in the Jetta hybrid, with the obvious addition of a plug for recharging and a larger-capacity battery. A company exec says the plug-in hybrid powertrain will be installed in a “mass segment” vehicle; we think a plug-in version of the Jetta hybrid might make the most sense. Other possibilities include the Passat—its larger size and price tag might carry the dual burdens of a plug-in better—or the Beetle, which would give the powertrain a more stylish package.

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