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A big increase in the number of people buying a plug-in hybrid is expected next year, as our survey elsewhere today outlines in detail.

So it is a timely juncture for a manufacturer to bring in a PHEV that has dropped considerably in price.

That is what Volkswagen claims it has done with its new Passat GTE, which is just going on sale.

It will start from €42,495 for private customers. But what does that mean? Well, the brand tell us it has contrived to reduce the price of the large-family/fleet plug-in to a pre-grant price of €49,995.

That is down from the substantial €54,095 previously priced level.

Volkswagen says it means private customers can now get the car for €42,495 after the available grants of €7,500. That’s a good few thousand off as far as I can see.

From a buying perspective it needed to be closer to diesel prices.

In this instance, it is much more in line with the Passat 2-litre TDi DSG 150hp (from €41,095). Realistically the latter is a €42,500-priced car as Volkswagen tells us that 95pc of Passats come with the Tech Pack – which just happens to be standard on the GTE.

And there’s more. The new price brings it closer in expenditure terms to the ŠKODA Superb iV plug-in hybrid model, which arrives in early 2020 and costs from €40,350 after grants. However, Volkswagen says that in GTE trim the Passat is more a rival for Škoda’s €45,850 (after grants) Superb iV Sportline version.

Technically the Passat PHEV summons a combined output of 218 PS. And it is claimed to be able to cover up to 56km on electric power only.

Used properly (charged for maximum battery power on commutes) you should enjoy substantially improved fuel economy from the combination of the 156PS 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and 115PS electric motor; CO2 emissions are just 29g/km.

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