Volkswagen is beginning an electric car sales push they claim will make the company the world leader in e-mobility by 2018. The step VW recently announced is to begin sales of the 2015 VW e-Golf in the U.S., in the 4th quarter of 2014, in selected markets. Going by the press release the car sounds like it will be a very good electric car, but we have the nagging suspicion it will be another compliance car sold in limited quantities in one or two states.
It's a VW Golf, built on the Golf A7 platform. VW has sold over 30 million Golf's world-wide, making the e-Golf immediately familiar. So let's focus on the electric car story.
It has a 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack, and VW claims the driving range (not EPA certified) will be between 70-90 miles. The 7.2 kilowatt on-board charger supports a sub-four-hour charging time. Further, it supports fast charging (80% recharge in about 30 minutes) using the SAE Combo Charging System. CCS is incompatible with the CHAdeMO fast charging system that's already widely deployed.
The 115 horsepower electric motor gives a 0-60 miles/hr time of 10 seconds, which is respectable. The driver can configure the car for two ECO modes that limit acceleration, turn down the air conditioner, and otherwise try to extend the driving range. Also the three regenerative braking modes help the driver recover energy while driving, and should create the "one pedal driving" style that some other EV's have offered.
The e-Golf is already on sale in Europe. The price in Germany is close to $50,000, which seems atypically high for a normal family car like the Golf. VW hasn't announced U.S. pricing but if they want to compete with the Nissan Leaf the price had better be a lot lower.