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The Green Car of the Year Award 2015 goes to… the Volkswagen Golf GTE

BusinessGreen Car of the Year 2015Beating Spirit Editor Paul Clarke teamed up with comedian Miles Jupp to present the BusinessGreen Car of the Year Award 2015, with the winner being… the Volkswagen Golf GTE.

The BusinessGreen Leaders Awards took place in London on 1 July 2015 with an audience of 500 of the top UK individuals who are making a difference in the area of sustainable business.

Paul Clarke led a judging team for the Green Car of the Year Award. The shortlist for the Award comprised of the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW i8, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Volkswagen Golf GTE.

The judges voted for the Volkswagen Golf GTE as the winner of this Award because it offers all the practicality of a Golf combined with an excellent driving experience and the potential for electric, zero tailpipe-emission driving for up to 30 miles – all in a cost-effective package. The judges also approved of the Golf looking like a desirable car rather than an ‘eco-special’! All these factors combine to make the Golf GTE an attractive proposition for business users.

The Volkswagen Golf GTE is a plug-in hybrid, with a 150PS 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a lithium-ion battery and electric motor. There’s also a six-speed DSG gearbox specially developed for hybrid vehicles. The two powertrains result in a healthy combined torque figure of 350Nm.

The Golf GTE does a very good job of combining a GTI-like driving experience with an ability to enjoy 100mpg+. It has all of the benefits of the regular Golf including that it’s a spacious yet compact quality product.

It’s more expensive than the average Golf, however this car can also save you money. The more you drive on electric power, the cheaper the fuel costs will be. It’s exempt from VED and from the London Congestion Charge. For business users, the BIK rate of 5% is likely to save significant money in tax.

The Golf GTE has the same issue that is common to all plug-in hybrids: you may come close to enjoying 166mpg – and the official 31 mile electric range – if all your driving matches the NEDC test cycle – ie. short distances and very gentle acceleration. It’s very unlikely that the average person will have such a driving cycle, but if you are able to recharge the car and mainly drive the GTE on electric power, as well as using the car for occasional longer journeys, then you’ll get the best out of the vehicle and its technology.

The vast majority of cars are likely to adopt plug-in hybrid technology over the coming years because it’s currently the most effective technology to bring emissions down – so the Volkswagen Golf GTE is the future; and because the future is so promising to drive, the judges felt it deserved the BusinessGreen Car of the Year Award 2015 accolade.

The Audi A3 e-tron is virtually identical to the Golf GTE underneath, and it was awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ in the voting. However the judges felt that the Golf was better to drive, and it represented better value for money as it’s around £2,000 cheaper than the Audi.

Read Beating Spirit’s review of the Volkswagen Golf GTE