VW E-Golf Scores 116 MPGe Rating, But Does It Matter?

By · October 23, 2014

VW E-Golf

Volkswagen announced today that the 2015 E-Golf electric cars was rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 126 city, 105 highway, and 116 combined miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent. According to VW, these numbers make the E-Golf “the most efficient car in its class for the 2015 model year.” Yet, in the world of EVs, these efficiency numbers take a secondary role to the all-important range number: how far an EV can go on a single charge.

In this respect, the VW E-Golf’s EPA-estimated range is 83 miles—compared to 84 miles provided by the Nissan LEAF. It’s curious to see the LEAF rated at 114 MPGe, compared to the E-Golf’s 116 MPGe—while the LEAF gets an extra mile of estimated range from a 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack that is identical in size to the one in Volkswagen’s electric car.

The numbers are so close to one another as to be essentially identical in real-world driving. EV buyers are well advised to pay more attention to the size of an electric car’s battery pack—and the resulting driving range—rather than negligible differences in MPGe efficiency numbers. For example, the 2015 Kia Soul—which has a considerably lower EPA efficiency rating of 105 MPGe—nonetheless has a 28 kilowatt-hour battery pack providing 93 miles of estimated range (compared to the 83 miles offered by the E-Golf). Ten miles of extra range can come in very handy.

Volkswagen is also making a distinction about its “class” of vehicle. The BMW i3 is in a different class. It's smaller lighter and more expensive EV—beating the E-Golf by earning a combined EPA rating of 124 MPGe, making it the overall most efficient electric car on the market. Yet, the i3’s smaller 22 kWh battery pack means that the BMW electric car’s official driving range is 81 miles.

In addition, a battery-powered vehicle’s overall package—style, passenger and cargo room, and driving characteristics—are for many buyers more important considerations.

The E -Golf comes equipped with a standard Combined Charging System, which allows the car to use the SAE standard DC fast charging infrastructure, bringing the battery’s state of charge to 80 percent in about 30 minutes. The E-Golf, starting at $36,265, will go on sale at participating dealerships in select states in November.

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