VW unveils e-Golf at LA Auto Show
Automaker will offer roadside assistance plan to counter "range anxiety."
Volkswagen's first battery-electric vehicle to enter the U.S. market made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, an event that showcased a wide range of zero-emissions vehicles.
After a slow start, the German automaker has been making an aggressive push into battery technology with hybrids, plug-ins and full battery-electric vehicles. VW promises that the e-Golf will boast one of the fastest recharge times in the industry.
The Volkswagen e-Golf is set to go on sale during the fourth quarter of 2014 in "select states," which will likely mean California and other states with similar zero-emissions mandates. The new model will be powered by a 24.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack paired with a 115-horsepower motor capable of launching the car from zero to 60 in 10.4 seconds, with a top speed rated at 87 mph.
The e-Golf is expected to deliver between 70 and 90 miles on a charge, though final Environmental Protection Agency numbers aren't yet available. But to counter potential "range anxiety," the German maker will offer a new Roadside Assistance Plan, in which it says, "if the customer runs out of charge and is within 100 miles of their home, Volkswagen ... will deliver the car to a nearby and convenient source for charging and will even pay for the customer to take a taxi home or to work if they decide not to travel with the car. The plan covers unlimited events."
The 7.2 kilowatt charger will handle as much as twice the current of many other current EV charging systems and can reduce recharging time on a 220-volt circuit to less than four hours, though using 120-volt current would raise that to 20 hours. On the other hand, one of the new 440-volt DC quick-charger stations can give the e-Golf an 80% recharge in around 30 minutes, VW claims.
The vehicle's batteries will account for a significant portion of the VW e-Golf's mass, 701 pounds out of a total curb weight of 3,090 pounds. The maker has taken a number of steps to reduce overall mass, however, and has also adopted features such as full LED lighting to minimize battery drain.
To increase the fun-to-drive factor, VW says it will offer three driver-selectable regenerative braking modes, as well as three driving profiles that can increase range.
Weight is only one of many factors that can influence range. VW designers also attacked wind resistance with a number of aerodynamic tweaks unique to the e-Golf, including radiator shutters, new underbody panels, a rear spoiler and air vanes around the C-pillars.
Safety features will include the new Automatic Post-Collision Braking System designed to slow the vehicle after an accident to prevent a secondary collision.
The e-Golf is one of several advanced battery vehicles VW is planning to bring to market. The maker will also launch a battery version of its Up! microcar, as well as the new plug-in diesel hybrid XL1, which will deliver fuel economy in excess of 200 mpg. Neither of those models are expected to make it to the U.S market, however.
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You see, they have a diesel hybrid, it gets great eMPG, but they won't bring it to the US market. Shame on you VW! Why are the manufacturers afraid to bring this technology? We all know the answer, no economic freedom.