As part of the seventh-generation lineup of Golf, the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf will arrive on our shores in the fourth quarter of 2014 alongside the regular Golf, the GTI and the souped-up Golf R. With its size and capabilities, e-Golf is positioned to compete directly against the highest selling EV, Nissan Leaf. The only other competitor of the same size is the Ford Focus Electric. The shared design of the Golf, along with general expectations for German driving excitement, make the e-Golf an important contender in the EV subcompact category for the USA.
Probably the most exciting thing about a Volkswagen EV is that the car will look like a VW - in this case, a newly redesigned, seventh generation Golf. You'll have to wait to see this new design in showrooms, but what's in store is possibly worth the wait. All Golf variants share a platform with the latest Audi A3, but will be a few inches longer. Audi-like features appear on the inside too, which will pump up the desirablity of the e-Golf.
Beyond the existing Golf design, Volkswagen adds subtle, yet futuristic extras on the e-Golf, like energy-saving LED headlights. LEDs produce more light and consume less power while creating a cool 'C' shape on the front bumper. Aerodynamically optimized 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, unique to the e-Golf, have a low rolling resistance and give the car a more "techy" look.
Under the front and rear seats, you'll find e-Golf's liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack with the capacity of 24.2 kilowatt-hours and a weight of 701 pounds. A total of 115 horsepower (86 kilowatts) moves the car via the front wheels, at a less-than-impressive take off speed of 0-to-60 mph in 10.4 seconds.
Volkswagen says the range will be 70 to 90 miles, but the EPA has not yet rated the car. Of course, driving conditions and style have a lot to do with how much range will be found, but it looks like e-Golf will be in the same ballpark range-wise as the Nissan Leaf.
A cool feature not yet found on other EVs is e-Golf's three driving modes and three levels of regenerative braking. Three driving modes can be selected, each respectively reducing power-to-wheel outputs from "Normal" - 115 hp to 94 hp in "Eco" to a mere 74 horses in "Eco+" mode. There are also three choices of regenerative braking -- a feature that sounds like it would take some practice. The highest mode of regenerative braking is so strong that the brake lights come on automatically if you select it.
A touchscreen navigation system offers VW Car-Net connected services and the e-Golf has keyless entry, heated front seats, Bluetooth, satellite radio, rear-view camera and parking sensors. Of course, smartphone apps operate many of the car's functions like climate control, charging times, trip planning and GPS positioning of where the car was parked -- now that's handy!
Volkswagen has been working to launch this car for nearly three years when the "Blue E-Motion" prototype hit the auto show circuit. But with its new and improved name along with the body of a happily redesigned Golf, the e-Golf has one final test - can it maintain the driving performance of the Golf via an electric-powered motor? Stay tuned.
All Photos Courtesy of Volkswagen