Volkswagen has just announced that the 2015 VW E-Golf will be priced at $36,265 (including destination charge) when it launches in the U.S. in November. That's a premium to the Nissan LEAF ($28,980), the best-selling all-electric car in that price range, but that might not matter to those who are enamored with the distinctive feel of German cars and looking for something a bit more sporty.
Actual price after the $7,500 federal tax credit will be about $28,765, minus whatever additional incentives you can get at the state level. Factor in fuel savings compared to a gasoline car and the reduced maintenance from the fewer moving parts and fluids, and it's probably comparable to a low $20k-range gasoline vehicle, which isn't too bad.
Under the hood is a 115 hp, 199 lb-ft of torque electric motor driving the wheels through a 1-speed transmission (that's about 10 more horsepower and lb-ft of torque than the LEAF). Power comes from a 24.2 kWh lithium-ion battery that is good for a range between 70 and 90 miles, "depending on driving style and charging behavior", according to VW.
That might be a bit too low for those who frequently travel long distance, but for the rest, it could do just fine.
But if you do need to travel a long distance, there's a 7.2kW onboard charger and the ability to use DC fast charging (SAE Combined Charging System), which allows fast-charging the battery to 80% of capacity in 30 minutes. Still not ideal for long road-trips, but it'll do for the occasional longer trip.
VW is adding a nice green bonus: "Volkswagen has announced a collaboration with 3Degrees®, a renewable energy services provider, to invest in carbon reduction projects to help offset the emissions created from production, distribution and charging of the e-Golf for up to approximately 36,000 miles of driving."
It would be nice if all cars came with that kind of offset. Can you imagine how much additional money would be invested in renewable energy if that was the case?
Since the battery pack is tucked out of the way, interior space is the same as the regular Golf (93.5 cubic feet total volume, 22.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats; 52.7 cubic feet with seats folded).
The E-Golf comes with three different driving modes, with the goal of preserving energy when you don't need high performance. There's the 'normal' mode, the 'eco' mode, and the 'eco+', which provides maximum energy-efficiency.
Speaking of saving energy: The headlights are 100% LED and the front seats are heated (it uses less energy to heat the people directly than heat them through the air inside the car).