Volkswagen to Launch All-Electric E-Golf and E-up! in September
Volkswagen will introduce two new EVs at the same time, at the Frankfurt motor show in mid-September. Both models will be available to order at the show, with deliveries of the E-up! beginning right after the show, and the E-Golf coming very early next year. Specifications for the E-Golf have finally been revealed, and it's obvious that Volkswagen wants to outdo the Nissan LEAF.
The E-Golf has a 24.2-kWh battery pack compared to the LEAF's 24-kWh pack. The E-Golf's 85-kW motor is also bigger than the 80-kW motor in the LEAF. Volkswagen announced a zero-to-62 mph acceleration time of 10.4 seconds—when Nissan Europe said the LEAF needs 11.5 seconds to cover the same ground. Pricing has not been revealed yet, but it's quite likely that the E-Golf will be more expensive than the Japanese electric car.
Like most EVs, the e-Golf will come with an economy driving mode. In addition, it will allow drivers to choose between four different regenerative braking modes (D1, D2, D3 and B). Fast charging will occur through the SAE combo cord. Range is advertised at 118 miles, which sounds promising, but a bit optimistic.
The E-Golf comes to the United States in 2014.
Are Germans Ready for EVs?
The arrival of the VW EVs will reveal, in the real-world marketplace, if Germany is really ready to go electric. A recent survey of German drivers conducted by Aral, the German oil company owned by BP, is worth noting. A question about fuel is of particular interest:
- 53% of Germans said they want their next car to run on gasoline
- 31% want a diesel
- 6% want a car running on LPG
- 6% want compressed natural gas
- 2% want a hybrid gas-electric car
- And 1% want to buy an electric car
In a country where new car registrations should be around 3.3 million this year, this indicates that there's a market for about 33,000 EVs. In another question on the survey, Germans said that EVs were the best solution to protect the environment in the next 10 years. This should encourage Volkswagen, which will next month begin selling an electric car for the first time.
Perhaps the E-Golf's greatest selling point is that it will be built in Germany. Results from the Aral survey were clear on this point. Only 9 percent of Germans said they would consider buying a Japanese car in 2013, which is quite shocking considering that the rate was 15 percent when Aral first made that same survey 10 years ago.
Selling Japanese EVs is a tough job in Germany. It will be easier selling an electric Volkswagen. The German company is the only one, besides Nissan, to build its EVs all by itself. Everything in the car—the motor, the battery and the electronics—is built by Volkswagen, in Volkswagen's own factories, in Germany. (Toyota has not yet built an EV with a propulsion system of its own design; Ford and GM get their batteries from an external supplier.)
Volkswagen is not a minor league player in the auto industry. It's a giant. The company has invested a lot in electric cars. It appears to be committed to EVs. The release of its first electric models will be the first tangible sign that it's serious about leading in the electric car market.
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