Volkswagen is conducting a trial among fleet users in Germany of its new Golf hybrid model.
The TwinDrive, which was shown in concept form at the launch of the sixth-generation Golf, uses an electric motor to provide zero-emission driving in town centres, combined with a TSI petrol or TDI diesel engine for longer distance driving.
Volkswagen has hinted that a production version could be on sale by 2010, joining the low-emission Golf BlueMotion which will go on sale next year with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km.
The fleet trial in Germany is backed by the federal government and involves Volkswagen, energy giant E.ON (which has provided the plug-in recharging infrastructure), research and development organisations, the German Centre for Aerospace Technology and two universities.
Twenty TwinDrive models are being used in the trial, which uses electricity from renewable sources such as wind farms and solar panels.
Dr Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board of Volkswagen AG, said: “The future will most certainly belong to electric motors.
“For us, the TwinDrive represents an elementary step along the path towards the completely electrically-driven car.”