2013 LA Auto Show: US Reveal of the Volkswagen e-Golf

This week Volkswagen unveiled the electric version of their iconic Golf to US audiences at the LA Auto Show. While a lot of information about this car has already been confirmed, it is good to see that VW is getting this car out there. Although there is still no word on pricing.

With VW finally entering the electrified car market in 2014, we at Transport Evolved wonder if we will see a big bump in sales. Over the past couple of years VW has been holding back, allowing others to make the first steps into the world of electrified transportation and refining their offering based upon what they see.

The new Golf will be available in multiple drivetrains allowing the customer to choose what is right for them: From eco petrol, through diesel, hybrid and all the way to fully battery electric the Golf is a car for anybody. What makes this so special is the ability to ‘eco-upsell’ the car to the next model. Whereas someone coming in asking for a standard petrol Golf could be sold a Bluemotion version, someone coming in for a Bluemotion could be offered the e-Golf.

Making the electrified version of the car just part of the standard range, just an option to choose, it normalises the technology. Making it less of a scary jump for many.

Of course, we’re most interested in the e-Golf, the fully electric version of the car.

The VW e-Golf

The VW e-Golf

As we said above, no new information was forthcoming about the car, but we still know a fair amount about it. The e-Golf comes with a 24.2kWh battery pack allowing claimed travel of up to 190km (118 miles) – this, we think, translates to a ‘real world’ range of about 80 miles.

It is powered by a 115kW electric motor and comes with a 7kW onboard charger that uses the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard. 0 – 62 mph will take 10.4 seconds and the top speed is limited to 87mph.

So all in all, it’s pretty much par for the course. A Leaf by any other name… to paraphrase The Bard.

But this car has at least two factors which could make it a real boon for the EV world.

Inside the VW e-Golf

Inside the VW e-Golf

The Name

Volkswagen has a good reputation. Take a quick look at any road in Europe and you’ll see Golf after Golf drive past. The Golf, and it’s smaller sister the Polo, are pretty much ubiquitous with the hatchback market. The power of this can’t be underestimated.

As of August this year, the Golf was the fifth best selling car model in the UK. If just a fraction of those sales can be converted, or eco-upsold, to the e-Golf both VW and the wider EV world will be on to a winner.

The Flappy Paddles

Giving a driver control over the way their car drives is still a relatively rare feature in the wider automotive world. However VW is heading that way with their Flappy Paddle regen system. The paddles, which on a petrol car would control the gears, have been repurposed to control the level of regen power the motor can apply.

Having experienced this in the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, we at Transport Evolved love it. The ability to switch regen off completely at the tap of a hand to coast when needed or to switch it to maximum for those long drives down hill gives us greater control over power management. This all comes together to increase the possible range of the car or, just make it fit your preferred driving style.

We’re really looking forward to the release of this car. What about you? Would you buy an electric Golf?


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  • vdiv

    Out of context “Giving a driver control over the way their car drives is still a relatively rare feature in the wider automotive world.” sounds funny. Yeah, we’ve never had manual transmission cars, ever ;)nn2014 is panning to be the German EV year. So far there has been a glaring hole with the Germans, arguably the automotive leaders, missing from this market. They have a lot to offer in terms of vehicle dynamics, interior quality, attention to details, and as the saying goes, it is better to be late than not show up at all. Once they are in, we can more conclusively say that EVs have become mainstream.nnI am certainly looking forward to the e-Golf and Audi A3 e-tron as well.nnNow for the negative sides. Unfortunately there are many. The Germans are not known for reliable automotive electrics. This has always been a mystery to me. Maybe this is their chance to improve. The vehicles they will be offering are not bringing anything ground-breaking in the world of EVs. 20 some odd kWh batteries with below 100 mile range is what the Nissan LEAF had over three years ago.nnThe offers will initially be geographically limited (read compliance) and the prices remain a barrier to adoption especially in the less affluent parts. Given the choice most people would rather get a 3-year old LEAF that costs half as much than a new and unproven e-Golf, B-Class ED or i3. The Germans are also not currently planning to expand production in other continents the way Nissan did from the beginning.nnLastly the German automakers continue to be cautious and naysayers. There is little investment in charging infrastructure and they are “supporting” a DC nfast charging standard that does not exist, rather than embracing and expanding on the deployed and widely used CHAdeMO.

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