In the world of plug-in cars, what does it take to be the first person to take delivery of a brand new electric car?
As urban folklore goes, Olivier Chalouhi from Redwood City, California — the first Nissan LEAF owner in the world — happened to be online one day when Nissan’s technical team happened to be carrying out a live test shortly before officially turning on the original online Nissan LEAF reservation system. Venture Capitalist, Tesla investor and Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson became the first Tesla Model S customer because he insisted on paying the full amount for a Model S after driving in one of the early prototype cars.
But the first Volkswagen e-Golf owner in the U.S. will be chosen not by their position on the official waiting list for the five-seat plug-in hatchback but by who bids the highest in a charity auction being held between now and October 29th.
Announced yesterday, the online auction to win the first U.S. market e-Golf has been organised between Volkswagen of America and Global Green USA. Despite only being live for a day, the current highest bid — already close to the list value of the car — shows there’s a high demand for this particular plug-in car.
The profits of the auction will go to Global Green USA, a national environmental non-profit dedicated to advancing smart solutions to climate change through projects involving affordable housing, schools, neighbourhoods and cities, rebuilding communities that have suffered from the impacts of climate change.
Painted in Volkswagen’s special ‘e-Golf’ shade of blue, the five seat Golf is a fully-loaded SEL trim model — the only e-Golf trim level offered in the U.S. — complete with on-board 7.2 kilowatt charger as standard, CCS DC quick charging capability, and LED headlights. While the action itself is open to any U.S.citizen who lives in the U.S., Volkswagen is careful to warn bidders that at the time of launch, only an e-Golf certified dealer will be able to service or maintain the plug-in Golf. Since the 2015 e-Golf will only be initially available in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, DC., those bidding will need to live in or near one of those launch-market states to ensure they can have their car properly maintained — or be willing to ship the car to one of those state in order to do so.
Of course, the e-Golf is already on sale elsewhere in the world, with sales in its home market of Germany already proving the car is popular with plug-in buyers. And with its legendary Volkswagen build quality, the e-Golf certainly matches the fit, finish and trim of Volkswagen’s gasoline and diesel-powered Golf models. In fact, save for a few tweaks to the interior and lack of engine noise, we’d say it’s hard to tell the difference between the e-Golf and any other 2015 Golf.
Interestingly, the e-Golf isn’t the first green car we’ve told you about this week which is being auctioned off for charity. Yesterday, we told you that Toyota is auctioning off its first U.S.-market hydrogen fuel cell sedan for charity, although the Toyota auction is due to close on Friday this week whereas the Volkswagen auction has another two weeks to run.
With two weeks left however, we suspect the winning bidder won’t be an average car-buyer looking to jump the queue: like the second Chevrolet Volt off the production line back in 2010 (the first went to General Motors’ fleet museum) the first 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf to be sold in the U.S. is likely to command a price far higher than its official list price. While we doubt the first e-Golf will sell for anywhere near the $225,000 paid for the the second-production Chevrolet Volt by motor racing mogul and auto dealer magnate Rick Hendrick (plug-in cars being far more common now than they were in 2010) we do expect the e-Golf to sell well outside of what most of us would consider ‘a fair price.’
The question is this though: what would you pay to be the first e-Golf owner in the U.S.? It’s for a good cause, after all.
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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