Our writer Eric Branning and I were invited by Volkswagen to check out their current line of vehicles. With just under 24 hours to play around Middleburg, VA with their cars, we spent time in the 2015 Jetta, GTI, and e-Golf. Of course, the event’s primary showcase was their new, relatively inexpensive, electric car.
The e-Golf is built on the current MK7 Golf, similar to former models made by the German manufacturer. With the MK1 CityStormer model through the twinDRIVE Golf from 2008, VW has been experimenting with electric vehicles for years. And of course, VW’s famed designer, Ferdinand Porsche’s first car was an all-electric Egger-Lohner carriage featuring almost 2 tons of batteries. So while you may not see VW electric cars driving around on a regular basis, their experience with EVs is not limited to this car.
The e-Golf concept was presented three years ago with 500 test vehicles. This prototype featured a 26.5 kWh battery with a 114 HP motor which could hit 60 mph in just under 12 seconds. This compares with the current, serial production e-Golf which has a slighly smaller, 24.2 kWh battery paired to, again, a 114 HP motor. With an electric range of “between 70-90 miles,” the e-Golf should be useful for most commuters.
Perhaps more impressive is the pricing, with only one model available at $36,265, equivalent to a top-of-the-line Golf in terms of equipment. That price does not include the current US $7,500 tax credit for EV purchases.
Eric and I spent a few hours driving the e-Golf around and were impressed. With a decent entertainment system, LED lighting (different from other LED headlights I’ve seen before in terms of design), lots of interior space, and practical efficiency, the e-Golf left us feeling happy. What wasn’t so great was the battery life. Our “battery meter” which took the place of the fuel gauge was down to half after 30 miles.
In terms of performance, the e-Golf impressed us. Despite driving on low-rolling resistance tires, it still had loads of grip and thanks to the low placement of the battery, it took corners well too. I’m not saying it handles like a Porsche, but for a heavier-than-normal Golf, it did the trick. I’d even like to autocross in one and see how it does.
Eric and I were able to measure some performance data in the car. Equipped with a Passport G-Timer, we were able to gather some rough performance numbers, with multiple runs making up the data.
0-30: 2.52 seconds
0-60: 8.45 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.45 seconds at 82.5 MPH
60-0 Stopping Distance: 119 ft
With very reasonable straight-line speed, nimble handling, and high efficiency, the e-Golf beats out the Nissan Leaf by a long shot. But with the carbon fiber BMW i3 less than $5,000 more, maybe the VW e-Golf isn’t the German electric car to get. Still, for those looking for a modestly styled car that will get you to work and back comfortably, efficiently, and quickly, you can’t go wrong with the VW e-Golf.