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2015 Volkswagen e-Golf Overview

They’re kind of pokey, they take forever to charge, range is still fairly limited and the typical MSRP is considerably higher than the average gasoline-burning compact family automobile's, but the all-electric commuter car is, like it or not, the wave of the future. A sure sign of this trend is the U.S. debut of Volkswagen’s e-Golf for the 2015 model year. This 5-seat, 5-door all-electric compact hatchback is touted by Vee Dub, not to mention most reviewers, as an eco-friendly complement to the regular-carbon-footprint-toting Golf lineup. Additionally, both the automaker and the media tout not only similar handling attributes to the ordinary Golf, as well as the expected boatload of standard appearance bling and creature comforts, but also the instantaneous acceleration of an all-electric vehicle (EV).

For 2015, the new e-Golf will be delivered in a single trim, labeled, appropriately, the SEL Premium, and it’s slated to be delivered only in front-wheel-drive (FWD) configuration. Cabin room is touted to be similar to that of the gas- and diesel-burning Golf iterations, as is the e-Golf’s 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks and its fairly hefty 52.7 cubes of acreage with said rear seatbacks folded.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, look for the new-wave-ready e-Golf to pack an 85-kilowatt AC synchronous electric motor capable of 115 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with a single-speed direct-drive transmission, this electrified and electrifying hatchback is claimed to have a range of 70 to 90 miles on a full charge of the 24.2kWh (kilowatt/hour) lithium ion battery. The transmission setup, meantime, offers a pair of driver-selectable settings, Eco and Eco Plus, that feed either your need for speed or your craving for range. Additionally, 4 selectable regenerative braking modes—D1 to D3, and B—played in combination with the Eco and Eco Plus settings can, according to VW, allow an impressive 100 miles of driving before your next full charge. But, and there’s always a but, while this new automotive technology gathers momentum, this 100-mile range is tempered by the fact that your top speed using the Eco Plus mode and the max braking regeneration setting is limited to 56 mph with the electric motor running at 74 hp, max.

Meanwhile, the 2015 e-Golf carries its own onboard 7.2-kilowatt charging system that can be plugged into a DC fast-charging station for an 80% charge in about a half-hour. However, a further caveat now comes into play in that these fast-charge stations are few and far between. For this reason, among governmentally instigated others, the e-Golf’s availability is currently limited to 10 states plus Washington DC. It is, however, to be hoped that as the popularity of EVs increases, so will regulations be relaxed and the number of charging stations be expanded.

In any case, like others of its ilk, the 2015 e-Golf can be plugged into either standard 120-volt household current or, for some added cash, an available 240-volt outlet, but recharging a fully depleted battery takes some 20 hours using the former system and at least 4 hours with the latter system. Better hope you didn’t leave anything important at the office.

Summing up, all this propulsion posturing leads to mathematically challenging fuel-efficiency figures of 120 MPGe city/105 MPGe highway, according to Volkswagen.

Features-wise, the new e-Golf is, as mentioned, equipped just a bit better than, for instance, the average gasoline- or diesel-burning Golf SEL. Profile bling in the plug-in version includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and heated, body-colored power-adjustable mirrors. Inside, look for leatherette upholstery, heated power-adjustable front seats, full power accessories, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering. Then there’s the distinctive EV trip computer and Smartphone-interfaced vehicle monitoring system (VW Car-Net), along with a standard rear-view camera, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone auto climate control and Bluetooth hands-free calling with audio streaming capability.

Further standard techno-goodies include GPS navigation and a single-CD player boasting 8 speakers, satellite radio and auxiliary audio input, with all of the above interfaced via a 5.8-inch color display.

Optional equipment, alas, presently remains on VW’s e-Golf “to do” list.

Finally, standard safety stuff aboard the debuting e-Golf includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, automatic post-collision braking, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm. Additionally, the latest EV from VW also boasts standard LED headlights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors and LED daytime running lights.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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