2015 Volkswagen e-Golf Details:
- All-electric zero emissions Think Blue vehicle
- 115hp electric motor and EEM-85 synchronous permanent-magnet AC motor develops 199 lb-ft of torque
- 0-60mph in 10.4sec, limited top speed of 87mph
- Curb weight is 3090 lb, battery is 701 lb
With the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show just around the corner, Volkswagen has announced the North American debut of the 2015 e-Golf, an all-electric zero emissions vehicle that will provide US consumers with an attractive and environmentally friendly package.
VW recently stated its aim to be the world leader in e-mobility among automakers by 2018. The debut of this new Think Blue (VW's approach to sustainability) vehicle will help move them to closer to that goal.
The e-Golf is powered by a 115hp electric motor and from a standing start the EEM-85 synchronous permanent-magnet AC motor develops 199 lb-ft of torque. From a stop, the e-Golf reaches 25mph in approximately 4.2sec, while 60mph is reached in around 10.4sec. Top speed is electronically limited to 87mph.
If these numbers don't impress you try and remember that this car is really meant for those who want to reduce their impact on the planet rather than visiting the nearest race track. But for comparisons sake let's introduce another all-electric vehicle of a different class. Previously named Motor Trend Car of the Year, the Tesla Model S is a whole other breed of electric-powered muscle with an available 362hp and 325 lb-ft of torque (performance version offers 416hp and 443 lb-ft) and can reach 60mph in a quick 5sec (4sec with the performance version). Yes, this probably isn't a fair comparison but interesting nonetheless.
Back to the e-Golf. The 12,000rpm motor and single-speed EQ270 transmission form a compact unit. The integrated differential and electro-mechanical parking brake incorporated into the EQ270 help save space. Its compact nature lends itself to the e-Golf's curb weight of 3090 lb - 701 lb for just the battery.
Range is also on the limited end. e-Golf owners can expect between 70-90 miles before recharging is required. But remember this is set to be an affordable urban commuter vehicle. To lessen 'range anxiety' is VW's Roadside Assistance Plan. If an e-Golf owner runs out of charge and is within 100 miles of their home, VW will deliver the car to a nearby charging source and will even pay for the owner to take a taxi home or to work if they decide not to travel with the car. This covers unlimited events.
There are several ways to charge the e-Golf's battery via the standard 7.2kw onboard charger including: charging via a 220-volt wallbox in less than four hours (most optimal), plugging into a 110/120-volt electrical socket in about 20 hours (easiest and most cost-effective), or with the Combined Charging System (CCS) plug that takes advantage of the DC Fast Charging infrastructure. At a CCS-equipped DC fast charge station charging the battery up to 80 percent takes around 30 minutes. For even more flexibility, the charging process can be activated immediately or programmed for later via a button next to the charging socket under the 'fuel cap' or through an available smart phone app.
The e-Golf features a plethora of electric vehicle technologies. For instance, the newly developed heat pump (standard) uses both ambient air and heat from the drive system components to heat the cabin without relying solely on the heater. In turn this reduces the onboard electrical consumption especially in winter driving. To further ensure efficiency is the power electronics module. This controls the flow of high-voltage energy between the electric motor and the lithium-ion battery, depending on battery voltage, which runs between 250 and 430 volts.
The Driver Assistance Systems help to improve safety. It assists the driver in reducing the residual kinetic energy as the result of a collision. This happens thanks to the automatic Post-Collision Braking System (APCBS), which automatically slows the vehicle in the event of an accident. While this system is most beneficial in the event of a collision, the driver is able to override the system at any time via acceleration or by the initiation of hard braking at a higher rate of deceleration.
Three drive modes help maximize energy or performance as well. Modes include Normal, Eco, and Eco+, which work in conjunction with three levels of regenerative braking: D1, D2, and D3/ B.
Driving profiles can be achieved via 'Normal' mode, which is the default setting upon start. But to extend the range, Eco mode pares back the electric motor's maximum power output to 94hp and starts torque at 162 lb-ft. The electronics also reduce the output of the air conditioning system and modify the response curve of the accelerator pedal. Top speed is also limited to 72mph and 0-62 time is increased to 13.1sec. Eco + mode further limits the power to 74hp and 129 lb-ft, while the accelerator pedal response curve is further flattened and air conditioning is switched off. Top speed is reduced to 56mph and 0-62 time is further increased.
To switch between the three regenerative braking levels the driver can tap the 'shift' lever to the left once, twice or three times. Tapping to the right moves sequentially back to the standard D level. If the lever is pushed to the right and held briefly the electronics switch straight back to D level as well. By pulling the lever backwards the driver can activate B level, which is the same as D3. D1 level slows the car down the least while regenerating energy, while B level has the strongest effect. Levels D2, D3 and B are so strong that brake lights come on automatically, however if the battery is fully charged no energy regeneration takes place.
To the exterior, the team at VW has worked to optimize the aerodynamics of the e-Golf in order to lower the coefficient of drag (Cd). This was achieved thanks to a reduction in the volume of cooling air via a radiator shutter and partially enclosed radiator grille, new underbody paneling, rear spoiler and C- pillar air vanes to better manage airflow at the tail. Airflow around the wheels was also cleaned up ensuring they are flush with the wheel arches.
The e-Golf will be the first Volkswagen vehicle with LED headlights as standard. These are more energy efficient than Bo-Xenon and produce more light. The signature C-shaped design LED daytime running lights will also be present on the e-Golf along with some Think Blue styling features.
The interior also houses some technological goodies such as the touchscreen navigation system (with range monitor, energy flow indicator, and e-manager for pre-programing departure and charging times), VW Car Net connected services, keyless entry and push button start and more. The instrument cluster has also been revamped thanks to a new layout featuring a power-display (indicating if the motor is ready, if the battery is being charged via regenerative braking etc.) where the tach usually lives. To the right is a conventional speedo, which features a charging indicator.
Be sure to look for this new all-electric vehicle in the fourth quarter of 2014 in select US states. Although MSRP has not yet been announced we are sure to find out more details come next week's LA Auto Show.