When it first went on sale last year in the U.S., the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf did so as a direct competitor to the established 2015 Nissan LEAF electric car. Offering an almost identical EPA rating to the LEAF at 83 miles per charge and 116 MPGe (the LEAF managing 84 miles per charge and 114 MPGe), the feature-full 2015 e-Golf was originally offered only in range-topping SEL Premium trim at a a total price of $35,445 before incentives or handling fees.
That price and premium features like LED headlights, leatherette interior, heat pump and 7.2 kilowatt-on-board charger, meant that the 2015 e-Golf cross shopped directly against the high-end 2015 Nissan LEAF SL, which retails from $35,010 before incentives or fees.
Now Volkswagen has detailed a second trim level for the 2015 e-Golf that lowers the entry-point for the five-seat plug-in to $33,450 before incentives and handling fees, making the all-electric Golf a far more competitive proposition in the plug-in marketplace.
Called the e-Golf Limited Edition, it will go on sale in the coming weeks at Volkswagen’s specialist e-Golf dealers in key markets. Volkswagen of America believes the new lower-spec option for the e-Golf will help encourage more people into a plug-in without compromising on the vehicle’s overall performance, quality or versatility.
Under the hood, there’s the same 85 kilowatt electric motor you’ll find in the higher-priced SEL Premium model, driven by the same 24.2 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Unlike its direct competitor the Nissan LEAF — which offers a lower, 3-kilowatt on-board charger for its entry-level models as standard — the entry-level e-Golf retains the 7.2 kilowatt on-board charger as the high-end e-Golf, meaning charging from empty to full from a dedicated 32A, Type 2 charging station should take no more than about four hours.
CCS DC quick charging functionality is also kept for the entry-level model, allowing owners to recharge their e-Golf’s battery pack from empty to 80 percent full in around 30 minutes from a dedicated CCS charging station, weather and conditions permitting.
In fact, the e-Golf Special Edition features the majority of things found in the more expensive e-Golf SEL Premium, including LED daytime running lights, automatic dual-zone climate control, electrically heated windshield and automatic headlights and wipers.
The only things missing? In place of the alloy-wheels found on the SEL Premium trim level, there’s 16-inch steel wheels instead. Instead of the SEL Preimum’s LED headlights, there are standard halogen bulbs instead. Cloth is used instead of leatherette, and the heating system uses a standard water-based immersion system rather than the heat pump found in the higher-spec car.
Of all of these substitutions, perhaps the heat pump is the most likely to impact everyday driving, since heat pumps are known to be far more energy-efficient at heating a vehicle’s cabin than any other heating system used today. That translates to using more of the e-Golf’s battery pack to heat the cabin in the winter if you opt for the Limited Edition over the SEL Premium model, which could reduce your winter range by a few percent on longer trips.
In fact, the trim level of the e-Golf Limited Edition is almost identical to the European-specification e-Golf we tested earlier this year.
If you’re mainly looking for a car to commute to and from work in however, that fact shouldn’t make a huge difference to everyday usability. With a headline lease starting at $229 per month for 36 months — and we presume a few thousand dollars at signing — the e-Golf Limited Edition should be worth a look.
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