Volkswagen Says Electric Golf Not Coming Until 2014, Punts on Electric Jetta

By · November 11, 2010

Volkswagen E-Golf blue-e-motion prototype

Earlier this year, Volkswagen made a big splash when they announced that 2013 would bring three electric cars from them—the E-Up! city car, as well as an electric Golf and an electric Jetta. Even though VW will be entering the market much later than other competitors in the plug-in arena, the move seemed to put VW on a path to hit strong even with a late start.

But at the U.S. Media Launch for the E-Golf (with an official and rather awkward name of Golf blue-e-motion) in Germany this week, Volkswagen began to tone down the expectations a bit. At a media roundtable, Dr. Rudolf Krebs, VW's Group Chief Officer for Electric Traction, told the group of us that the E-Up! would likely not be sold in the U.S., and the E-Golf wouldn't make it to market until 2014. Furthermore, Dr. Krebs was reticent to even talk about the E-Jetta (officially known as the Jetta blue-e-motion) saying that it would come some time after the E-Golf.

When pressed on why VW has scaled back its plans, Dr. Krebs said, "To be quite straight, we did not change our timeline." However, if you read a VW press release from May 2, 2010, it says quite clearly, "The brand’s first electric car, launching in 2013, is the Up blue-e-motion (a new city specialist). Following in the same year are the Golf blue-e-motion and the technically closely-related Jetta blue-e-motion" (emphasis added for clarity). So either the press release was completely wrong, or VW has changed their plans.

The E-Up doesn't currently have plans for the U.S. because VW's "marketing guys feel that the car might be a little too small for the American market," as Dr. Krebs said—although he did leave the door open a bit by saying that the possibility is still under discussion. The good news for the U.S. is that the E-Golf looks like it will be coming to the States almost simultaneously with its introduction in Europe. "We are still in discussions about when we will introduce [the E-Golf], but normally we just have a delay of one or two months," said Dr. Krebs.

What do you readers think? Is this disappointing news, or is it to be expected?

You can also read a review of my brief time behind the wheel of a prototype E-Golf around the streets of Wolfsburg, Germany.

Disclosure: The author's trip was provided by Volkswagen

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