A few months back Volkswagen revealed its intentions to enter the race to build and market ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid vehicles with the unveiling of the original Golf TwinDrive. The concept car, based on the Mark V Golf, featured a twin powerplant design with an electric motor designed for city driving and an internal combustion engine for longer trips.

The carmaker has now showed of a second-generation design, this time in the newMark VI Golf. In the latest version, the car develops a combined output of 176hp (130kW) and can automatically switch between electric-only, petrol-only, or a combination of both, with an intelligent operating system picking the optimal operating mode depending on individual route conditions.

While a typical hybrid vehicle uses an electric motor to supplement its internal combustion engine, "the exact opposite is true on the TwinDrive: here the diesel or gasoline engine supplements the E-motor," explained VW CEO Martin Winterkorn.

No independent tests have been conducted yet but VW claims the vehicle averages about 94mpg (2.5L/100km) in fuel-economy and drive up to 50km on electric power alone.

VW will trial a fleet of 20 TwinDrive Golfs early next year together with the German government under a new scheme investigating the future of personal mobility. To ensure the cars are true zero-emissions vehicles, the electrical energy required to charge the batteries under the trial will be generated from renewable resources such as wind and hydro power.