2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SE Gets Lower $29,815 Sticker Price to Cross-Shop Against Nissan LEAF

When it comes to mid-sized electric hatchbacks, the Nissan LEAF electric car is the current choice for most new car buyers thanks to its established place in the plug-in marketplace, its practical EPA-approved 84 miles of range per charge, and its spacious interior.  Since its launch in late 2010, more than 83,00 Nissan LEAFs have been sold to date, cementing its place as America’s number one electric car by a considerable margin.

The new entry-level 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf does away with the LED lights of the SEL Premium model.

The new entry-level 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf does away with the LED lights of the SEL Premium model.

With more electric cars on offer now than there was back in 2010, the Nissan LEAF is now facing far more competition than it once was, with cars like the Volkswagen e-Golf keen to steal some of its market share. In some European markets, the Volkswagen, offering similar specification and range to the LEAF, has won over buyer with its conventional looks and established family name.

But in the U.S., a higher sticker price over the LEAF has seen Volkswagen sell just 2,188 e-Golf since sales started there late last year. For an automaker keen to establish itself in the plug-in marketplace, those figures are far from satisfactory.

Which is why Volkswagen has chosen to drop the entry level price of the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf by introducing a new trim level that’s priced $4,500 lower than last year’s cheapest e-Golf.

Called the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SE, the new lower-specification trim level starts at $29,815 inclusive of destination and handling charges and excluding any Federal or state incentive schemes.

CCS quick charging is also removed for the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SE -- it's standard on the e-Golf SEL Premium.

CCS quick charging is also removed for the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SE — it’s standard on the e-Golf SEL Premium.

That’s far lower than the $36,415 price listed for the SEL Premium version of the 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf, and $4,500 lower than the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf Limited Edition. Introduced earlier this year in an attempt to buoy sales, the Volkswagen e-Golf Limited Edition did away with the alloy wheels, heat pump, LED headlights and leatherette interior of the SEL Premium model, but kept the same battery pack and drivetrain, as well as on-board telematics, 7.2 kilowatt on-board charger and CCS fast charge capabilities.

Offered as a limited-edition model, it has now been replaced by the cheaper 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf SE.

Yet while the 2015 e-Golf Limited Edition kept the 7.2 kilowatt on-board charger and CCS fast charge capability, Volkswagen has given the 2016 e-Golf SE just a 3.3 kilowatt on-board charger and deleted CCS fast charging as standard. The deletion of these two important features on top of the trim reductions found in the outgoing 2015 e-Golf Limited Edition makes the Volkswagen e-Golf less practical for long-distance trips, but does allow Volkswagen to undercut the entry-level 2015 Nissan LEAF S.

Priced at $29,860 before incentives, the entry-level LEAF offers an almost identical specification to the 2016 e-Golf SE, but offers a slightly larger load bay area.

Volkswagen expects the 2016 e-Golf SE to arrive at dealerships in the next few weeks, although it’s worth noting that unlike the LEAF, the e-Golf is still something of a limited-market car, with only ten key market areas currently offering the e-Golf at all.

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