VW Electric Golf – Late But Not Last

This fall, Volkwagen will be joining a host of other all-electric car manufacturers in the States with the battery-powered version of their favourite child, the Golf. VW may be late to the electric party, but the most popular kids usually are, aren’t they? Almost every other big player has already sent its electric car into the US market, especially in California where a zero-emission vehicle is mandated (read also Fiat’s CEO Says, ‘Don’t Buy The 500e!’), but Lars Menge, VW’s General Manager of Product Strategy in America, said, ‘We’d rather do it right the first time…We came up with a much better car, so now all others have to stretch to follow us.’

This is a very bold side-swipe at manufacturers of the Leaf (Nissan), 500e (Fiat) and Fit (Honda), amongst others. Early reviews appear to support that claim; for instance, Top Gear reports that the vehicle ‘feels faster’ than the claimed top speed of 87mph, and the 4.2 seconds required to get from zero to 37mph and another six seconds to get to 62mph.

VW claims a maximum range of 118 miles, but with a 24.2kWh battery pack, it should achieve EPA driving ranges that are more or less on par with its fastest competitor; the rule of thumb is that each kilowatt-hour provides an average travelling distance of 3.5miles (3.5 miles x 24.2kWh = 84.7 miles); this should provide the e-Golf with about the same range as the Leaf which has an EPA combined driving range of 84 miles. The Focus EV has a rating of 76 miles and the Fit EV has a rating of 82 miles.

Despite the li-ion battery being a hefty 318kg, it is tucked cosily under the passengers’ feet without compromising legroom. In fact, the e-Golf is hardly discernible from its petrol-powered counterpart except for blue LED highlights on the marque’s logo, the ‘e-Golf’ name tag and the alloy wheels.

The e-Golf comes with four levels of regenerative braking as well, starting from none, which means the driver can choose how fast the car slows down when the foot is off the accelerator – the faster the vehicle slows down, the more energy is harnessed to power the battery pack; at the highest level, the driver does not even need to depress the brake paddle to stop the car.

The e-Golf is expected to come with a price tag of US$35,000, and as much as US$10,000 could be shaved off by state and federal tax incentives.

images: caranddriver.com

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