A few years ago, electric vehicles appeared on our market with distinctive and radical designs. However, many of them are now based on "real cars."
It's the case of the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf, just like the Ford Focus Electric and the smart fortwo electric drive. The e-Golf was presented to the Europeans at the Frankfurt Auto Show earlier this year, and now it crossed the Atlantic dressed in the Golf's seventh-generation bodywork. Tagged as a 2015 model, it will be available in some U.S. states, but not in Canada for now, at the end of 2014.
The car shares most of its physical attributes with its ICE-powered sisters. Some details won't be instantly noticeable, such as the fake grille and the underbody shielding to improve its drag coefficient. What your eyes will see, however, is blue accenting spread throughout the cockpit. At Volkswagen, blue is the new colour of green mobility.
Different? Not really
The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf is equipped with an underhood electric motor that develops 115 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque. The 24-kWh battery pack can be fully charged in four hours with a 220-volt outlet, which is the norm among newly introduced EVs.
The manufacturer claims an estimated range of 112 to 144 km, a little less than in the Ford Focus Electric and the Nissan LEAF. The EPA has yet to test the vehicle, so for a more precise comparison, we'll have to wait. As is the case in all EVs, the range is always an approximate figure, since road conditions, heating and air conditioning use as well as the use of electrical accessories all influence how far these vehicles can travel.
Volkswagen also mentioned that they installed a heat transfer system that allows recuperation of lost energy – heat generation – during friction of differential and transmission components.
Keeping our fingers crossed
Although the 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf will arrive a little late on the market, the German brand is optimistic; it actually has the ambition to become one of the worldwide green mobility leaders by 2018. With already established rivals such as the Nissan LEAF, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the smart fortwo electric drive and the Ford Focus Electric, Volkswagen has its work cut out for it.
Here's hoping that very different weight distribution, due to the 701-lb battery pack, can be overcome and that the Volkswagen e-Golf can live up to the brand's legendary reputation of offering dynamic driving abilities.
At low speeds, an exterior sound system has been installed so that pedestrians can hear the e-Golf coming up. We didn't get a demonstration of this technology, so I can't really describe what it does. Let's hope it's not a high-pitched honking noise!
The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf's price hasn't been announced yet for the U.S. market, but as EVs go, should cost substantially more than its combustion-engined equivalents. There is, after all, a price to pay in order to avoid gas stations.