Volkswagen Tiguan GTE concept debuts in Frankfurt with solar roof (images)

The redesigned Volkswagen Tiguan crossover debuted this week at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and alongside the production-ready gasoline and diesel models, Volkswagen showed a concept plug-in hybrid version of the small utility vehicle.

The Volkswagen Tiguan GTE gets the same suffix as production VW plug-in hybrids like the Golf GTE and Passat GTE. It uses a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch transmission with an integrated electric motor, which are rated at a combined 214 horsepower. A 13-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack provides enough capacity for up to 31 miles of electric-only driving, VW says, as measured on the European testing cycle.

Top speed in electric mode is limited to 80 mph. The Tiguan GTE can also be driven as a hybrid using both power sources, and in a special GTE mode that emphasizes performance. In this mode, the gasoline engine and electric motor work together to produce maximum power, and various vehicle parameters like throttle response, steering, and shifting are sharpened up for a more responsive feel. In GTE mode, the Tiguan will do 0 to 62 mph in 8.1 seconds, and reach a top speed of 124 mph.

The Tiguan GTE actually has three ways of being charged. In addition to using its gasoline engine or an electrical outlet, the crossover benefits from a solar roof panel. VW says this can add up to 621 miles of electric range annually, depending on where the car is driven. In Germany, the carmaker estimates a more conservative 310 miles.

While the Tiguan GTE will remain a concept model for now, other versions of the redesigned crossover will go on sale in Europe soon. If it ever does enter production, don’t expect the GTE to be sold in the U.S. Volkswagen hasn’t seen fit to import any of its other plug-in hybrids, and that stance probably won’t change with any possible Tiguan GTE production model.