VOLKSWAGEN DELIVERS AN AFTERSHOCK
2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, Feb 19, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Story and pictures by Roy Nakano
Leave it to Volkswagen to arrive fashionably late to the electric car party. It was one of the last of the major manufacturers to offer a hybrid (choosing to equip the Jetta Hybrid with a turbocharger). The same was true with its SUV line (choosing to partner its Touareg with Porsche’s Cayenne). For its new e-Golf, Volkswagen had plenty of time to think about how it should be designed. It also had the time to work off of a new platform—one that’s designed from the ground up to be an electric car. The result is the Volkswagen e-Golf, and it’s one of the best electric cars in its class.
The most noticeable difference between the e-Golf and the other electric cars hovering in its price category is its level of quality. Everything from the fit and finish of the interior, to the way the doors close, to the way the switches and controls all work speak “luxury car”. Never mind that the leather interior is mostly something called V-Tex leatherette. Or that the soft touch doors were executed without sacrificing any animal skins. This is a quality product you take notice of once you get behind the wheel.
Electric Glide in Blue
The second thing one notices about the e-Golf is that it looks like a blue label version of the GTI. The GTI has a red strip running across it’s grille and over its headlights. The e-Golf has a blue strip doing the same. The GTI has red-stitching throughout its interior. The e-Golf is stitched in blue. And for good measure, all the badging on the e-Golf is accented in blue. Like the GTI, the e-Golf is light on its feet, nimble around corners, and offers gobs of low-end torque. Unlike the GTI, the e-Golf delivers that torque with ultra smooth linearity—smoother than any turbocharged car, and even smoother than a V6 or V8.
Once you’re on the road, you’ll be struck by how quiet the car glides along. It’s a quality it shares with other electric vehicles. The e-Golf has the added benefit of delivering that quietness it in a solid, equally quiet cabin. And because the new Golf’s MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) platform was designed with electrification in mind, the battery pack gives up no interior volume to other Golf hatchbacks. The e-Golf does have the requisite low-speed sound system to help alert pedestrians (particularly sightless pedestrians) to the approaching vehicle. Thankfully, it’s a more appealing sound than some of the other vehicle proximity notification systems out there on the market (hello, Toyota).
And now a word about electric car range.
The e-Golf is rated at 83 miles on a single charge, with an MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) rating of 126 miles in the city and 105 on the highway. That makes the e-Golf among the better performing electrics in the range department. We should mention, however, that the EPA does not regularly test these vehicles any more. Instead, it relies on the manufacturer to do its own testing—and it audits the results of 10-15 percent of the vehicles. The EPA audited Hyundai, and ended up sanctioning the company for inflating its results on a number of vehicles.
We mention this because our time with the car leads us to believe Volkswagen played it conservative on the EPA ratings. We’ve evaluated electric cars with higher EPA ratings that didn’t fare as well as the e-Golf in regular, day-to-day driving. Driving on the freeway from Monrovia to Santa Ana and back to Monrovia (an 80-mile round trip) left us with 30 miles to spare. Of course, it did help that we stayed out of the fast lane. An identical trip with another, 87-mile rated electric car left us with less than 10 to spare. This bodes well for the e-Golf. In real driving, we think you can easily surpass the ratings.
As an added measure against range anxiety, the e-Golf comes with Volkswagen’s Roadside Assistance Plan. If the car runs out of charge within 100 miles of the home, Volkswagen will arrange for the car to be delivered to a nearby source for charging, as well as pay any taxi or transportations fees the owner. If you’re in Monrovia, California, 100 miles is like a trip to Palm Springs.
The Electric Crystal Ball
As a showing that the car company is committed to the future of electrification, VW has teamed up with BMW and ChargePoint to create electric car corridors on both the west and east coasts of the USA. ChargePoint says it already has around 20,000 chargers throughout the country. The new initiative calls for close to 100 DC fast chargers to be built, allowing drivers to travel from San Diego to Portland, and from Washington DC to Boston. Right now, very few of these fast chargers exist, but the e-Golf is fast charger-ready. With a Level 3 DC charger, it’s capable of reaching 80 percent charge in 30 minutes.
Whether all this is enough for you to take the electric plunge depends on you and whether you have a back-up vehicle for those occasions, however rare, when you need to go beyond the electric blue yonder. For now, it appears that the e-Golf represents the state of the pure electric car art in the under $30,000 (net) class.
For more information about the Volkswagen e-Golf, go to vw.com/models/e-golf
Name of vehicle:
2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium
Level 3 DC charging capability (80 percent in 30 minutes), VW Car-Net connected services, VW Roadside Assistance Plan, ChargePoint access, LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, 7.2 kW onboard charger, 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, heat pump, touchscreen navigation and 8-speaker infotainment system with CD, MDI and iPod integration, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Media Device Interface, V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel and shifter knob, heatable front seats, Climatronic dual zone automatic climate control, front and rear Park Distance Control, rearview camera, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
$35,445 (plus $820 destination and delivery charge)
Up to $7,500 Federal tax credit (purchased vehicles only)
Up to $2,500 California cash rebate (lease or purchased cars)
Synchronous AC permanent magnet electric motor with 24.2 kWh lithium-ion battery
EPA mileage estimates:
EPA-rated 83 miles per charge
126/105 city/highway MPGe
Horsepower: 115 Torque: 199 at zero rpm Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Transmission: Single gear Suspension Front: Strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar Rear: Multilink with coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar Wheels and tires: 16 x 6.5J aluminum alloy wheels and 205/55 R16 all-season tires Brakes Power assisted, dual circuit, 11.3 x 1.0-inch vented front discs and 10.7 x 0.4-inch solid rear discs, four-wheel, three-channel anti-lock braking system with electronic brake pressure distribution, Electronic Stability Control and electric parking brake. Dimensions Overall length: 168.1 inches Overall width: 70.8 inches Overall height: 57.1 inches Curb weight (lbs.): 3391 pounds