– Mathias Reinartz –
Director Business Unit Electric Vehicles Groupe PSA
Mr. Reinartz, you’re the expert and discussion partner for the journalists who have recently tested the driving characteristics of the Grandland X Hybrid4 in Freiburg, Germany – why there?
It’s no coincidence that the city has a reputation as a green region shaped by consistent environmental policies: e-mobility is a top priority in the “Green City,” as demonstrated by its extensive network of public charging stations, for example. At the same time you can reach the Feldberg, the highest peak of the Black Forest, within an hour. It is the ideal habitat for our new Stromer with all-wheel drive technology.
How is this plug-in hybrid car able to demonstrate its plus points in that area?
It gives off zero emissions when driving in city traffic, while the winding roads leading up to the Feldberg’s summit offer ample opportunity to show off its system performance of up to 221 kW/300 hp. And if the roads are slippery, the all-wheel drive powered by the electric engine steps in.
“The Hybrid4 is driven primarily via the rear axle in electric mode.”
What is this system made up of exactly?
The drive system consists of a 147 kW/200 hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged gas direct injection engine and an electric engine for both the front and rear axle drives, which have power outputs of 81 kW/110 hp and 83 kW/113 hp respectively. One of the electric engines powers the front axle via the eight-speed automatic transmission, while the other powers the rear axle directly. The latter is important since the rear electric engine works efficiently – there are no transmission losses. That’s why the Hybrid4 is driven primarily via the rear axle in electric mode.
How can I ensure that I’m always driving in the right mode?
We deliberately decided not to overload the vehicle with a multitude of modes. There are four precisely tailored options: hybrid, electric, sport, and all-wheel. In hybrid mode, you can sit back and relax – the SUV drives itself automatically using the drive system that is most efficient for the situation. The driver can switch to electric mode and cruise through city traffic with zero emissions. The maximum speed when using just the electric drive system is 135 km/h. Sport mode adds a boost to the driving dynamics, while activating all-wheel mode gives the driver the best traction.
If all-wheel mode is electric, isn’t there the risk that the AWD will malfunction if the battery power is too low?
No, we always leave enough energy in the battery so that you can boost your way out if you find yourself stuck in the snow. Plus, the starter generator is used to push electricity from the combustion engine into the battery. One nice side effect of the electric all-wheel mode that will please hunters is the fact you’re silent while you’re stalking for deer.
Here’s another scenario: If I’m driving the other way from the countryside to the city, then the battery might already be depleted before I merge into the city traffic …
We thought of that, too, so we came up with the “e-Save” feature. This enables enough energy to be stored until it’s needed. So that means, if the Grandland X Hybrid4 is heading from the Feldberg towards the city, you can reserve as much energy as you like for driving through the downtown traffic emission-free. You can choose to save between 10 and 20 kilometers or the maximum battery capacity.
“We deliberately decided not to overload the Grandland X Hybrid4 with a multitude of modes.”
Is the Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 actually an electric vehicle?
Yes, ultimately it travels up to 59 kilometers running purely on electricity according to the WLTP driving cycle. Plus, it fulfils all the criteria for eligible electric vehicles. Customers can take full advantage of the environmental bonus. On top of that, Grandland X Hybrid4 drivers benefit from the 50 percent reduction to the company car tax for electric vehicles.
Mr. Reinartz, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.