Exclusive: First Volkswagen e-Golf Delivered In US, Now 21 Major EVs On Sale In America

NOV 2 2014 BY JAY COLE 45

The First Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To America Ahead of Schedule...just

The First Volkswagen e-Golf Comes To America Ahead of Schedule…just

Earlier this year Volkswagen announced that the e-Golf (full details), an all-electric car with 83 miles of range, would be available in United States in November.

Volkswagen Is Currently Running a $299/month ($2,000 down) Lease Program On The e-Golf SEL - Retail $35,445

Volkswagen Is Currently Running a $299/month ($2,000 down) Lease Program On The e-Golf SEL – Retail $35,445

At the time we felt that the e-Golf could actually arrive in America ahead of schedule (unlike most new EV releases), given the car’s aggressive production schedule.

And we weren’t wrong…but only just.

Mike Sullivan, of LAcarGUY fame – and President/owner of 10 Los Angeles area dealerships, including Volkswagen Santa Monica (the dealership that started the family empire) let us know that his dealership delivered the first e-Golf in America on Halloween, Friday October 31st.

We are happy to announce that we have sold the first Volkswagen USA e-Golf in the U.S.!!!! – Volkswagen Santa Monica

Fun fact:  LAcarGUY was the first automotive dealer in the country to offer electric charging stations that are open to the general public

Volkswagen Santa Monica

Volkswagen Santa Monica

Interestingly, there was no VW fanfare about the first delivery (at least not yet), and as it turns out, this was the ONLY e-Golf delivered in October.

This might be because VW had put “the US’ First Ever Volkswagen e-Golf ” up for a charity auction a couple weeks ago – an auction that ended Wednesday afternoon, and as far as we know, a car that has yet to be delivered.

(The fine print suggests CharityBuzz doesn’t need to inform VW of the winner until Nov 5th, and there is a few days worth of paperwork potentially to do).

Update:  After speaking with VW, InsideEVs has learned an Oregon man indeed won the bidding last Wednesday (more details here) and will be receiving his e-Golf later this week.  Winning bid? $41,400

Regardless of the ‘who got what when’ debate, all that really matters is that the United States now has 21 different major models of plug-in vehicles on the road today!

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45 Comments on "Exclusive: First Volkswagen e-Golf Delivered In US, Now 21 Major EVs On Sale In America"

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I would have said that two of the new ones, the Kia Soul and this, are pretty strong contenders too.

For quite a lot of folk it should depend on how fast they can roll them out, although Kia only reckon they are going to produce around 5k in the first year.

I like the Soul EV, but then again I think that zip-off cargo pants are fashion wear…;-)

What the pants and the car have in common is that both can carry hamsters… 🙂

Pythons! 🙂

Will they be more than just compliance cars in volume and distribution…

Of course…

Of course it would go to Santa Monica…

But of course!

The People’s Republic of Santa Monica

“…all that really matters is that the United States now has 21 different major models of plug-in vehicles on the road today!”

Just curious how many of those are available in most states?

I count four (LEAF, Volt, 2 Ford Energis, and Tesla) as cars you can actually walk in and buy (Tesla needs to be ordered, and some states block their dealerships, but it’s available everywhere). In very limited numbers you may be able to find a SMART, Cadillac, or Focus Electric in most states.

To be clear – 21 vehicles is a huge improvement since the start of the decade – but these need to be rolled out to the whole country, not just California and – for some plug-ins – a few other coastal states.

LAcarGUY here. Yes they are more than just compliance cars. But to be fair they do start in small numbers. Cafe and carb rule the future, all will be moving towards major drivetrain changes. Just in my little group we have seven coming in the next year. Then in a year I will be the first , in Santa Monica of course:) with Toyota’s Hydrogen car…LACG

Mike, Congratulations on the first delivered eGolf. Just to be perfectly clear, VW is now required to provide a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) for model year 2015 and beyond in California, and optionally in other CARB states. This VW eGolf has virtually the same specifications of a 2011-2015 Nissan LEAF; battery size, range, etc., so the car itself is not exactly a leap forward, which makes it look like a compliance only offering. There’s nothing wrong with that, as any manufacturer could just buy ZEV credits on the market and pay the fines in order to continue selling their oil burning cars in California. The other VW cars you’re referring to will all be hybrids to my knowledge (meaning the cars will have both electric motive power and internal combustion gasoline burning engines). These cars won’t qualify for required ZEV status. Finally, I don’t know that this is the place to brag about hydrogen cars!!! Yes, Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai will all cease battery electric vehicle offerings in the USA and offer hydrogen fueled cars only starting in 2015 model year and later. In addition, other major manufacturers have announced their future hydrogen cars like VW and Mercedes by 2018… Read more »

Not sure that is a fair assessment. The Golf can accommodate pretty much any kind of powertrain, and that is not an easy feat. It’s the only kind, AFAIK, which can do that (without compromise like limited trunk space). I think VW is very smart and pragmatic in that way.

I don’t think what I posted and what you posted are exclusive. Yes, VW made a car that can accomodate multiple drivetrains. Companies that sell electric cars, like Tesla, don’t bother… they won’t be offering hydrogen or gasoline burning cars anyway.

Tony, for someone so knowledgeable about their automotive terminology I’m surprised to see you twice refer to generic ICE powered cars as “oil burners”. That term is reserved for diesel powered vehicles, please be more specific with your ICE terminology in the future. Thanks

Congrats Mike and thanks for pitching in! I’m sure your driver experience report will be very welcome here by readers once you want to share it.

And VW’s BEVs (thus far, e-Up and e-Golf) are certainly not compliance cars. They are already selling them very well in Europe, esp. Germany and Norway.

I’m referring to the U.S. market. Yes, I’m aware that eGolf is sold in its home market of Germany, and heavily subsidized Norway. That makes sense. The e-Up is not even offered in the U.S.

For example, GM does offer the Spark EV in the “home country” of South Korea, and officially it’s available in Canada for fleet use only (I don’t even know if a single one has been delivered).

But, that doesn’t preclude GM from strictly limiting their Spark EV sales in the U.S. in absolute minimum numbers (about 50 per month) in only two CARB-ZEV states. That is the fundamental description of a compliance car.

You would seem to have strange definitions of what a ‘compliance car’ is.

I would have thought that it could only reasonably be used to refer to cars which are produced for the sole reason of complying with, presumably, Californian, regulations, although in fact far more cars are being produced to ‘comply’ with Chinese ZEV city car regulations of 50km NEDC.

If, as appears to be the case, you are in fact referring to Californian mandates, it is absurd to refer to cars which are already released in Europe as ‘compliance’ cars.

It is even more crazy to imagine that major companies have spent several billions on all new platforms to ‘comply’ with a fairly tiny market when they could have bodged a current car as Ford does with theirs.

VW are training personnel throughout the states to service and maintain their BEV and PHEV cars.

Companies like Toyota with their RAV4 and Honda with their Fit EV made no bones about the fact that they were Californian and other states with similar regulations compliance cars.

It would be a lot easier if you used the term in a relevant manner, instead of spraying it around as you do.

@DaveMart Tony is using the term in two ways: 1) Cars that fall under ZEV compliance. A lot of EVs do (including the Leaf), even ones sold in the US at high volume. 2) Cars sold in the US at a volume that only satisfies the CARB requirements and almost nothing more. #1 is not as relevant, but #2 is relevant for the US market as it tells you the availability of the car in the US. A “compliance car” would be extremely limited in US availability and what happens outside the US doesn’t change this. I think his point is that without the ZEV regulations, the car might not even exist in the US market (and maybe even in the world market). Perhaps the eGolf is an exception (we’ll see how the volume goes in the US vs. worldwide), but a car being sold outside the US does not exempt it from compliance car status. The Fit EV and Spark EV are the most obvious examples. They may be sold in their “home” countries (Japan and South Korea respectively) simply because it is easy to offer them there, but I don’t think anyone would oppose to calling them “compliance… Read more »


A ‘compliance car’ can only reasonably be called that if it were produced with the sole intent of compliance.

A car may be used for compliance, or cause and automaker to be compliant, but unless that were the only reason it reached production it is not a compliance car.

The term as used is some sort of paint brush to moan about if a car is not immediately released in all US markets.

Actually car makers have not been shy about telling us which ones they were making solely for compliance purposes, the Toyota RAV4 EV, the Honda Fit EV and the Fiat 500EV spring to mind, and seeking to confuse those with other cars which the automaker concerned has clearly told us is a car which will be widely distributed although the full roll out will take time, in this case the E-Golf is simply FUD.

CARB has been using the “compliance” moniker since 1990. VW *is* using the eGolf for CARB-ZEV compliance, and they likely will offer a hydrogen car for the same purpose by 2018.

The hybrids and other cars that are not purely electric or hydrogen quite obviously cannot be ZEV.

So, now we split hairs whether the car will be an absolute minimum effort to comply with those ZEV mandates, like Toyota Rav4 EV (discontinued), Honda Fit EV (will be discontinued and all crushed), and GM Chevy Spark EV (minimum quantity in qualifying states only)…

compared to…

Nissan LEAF, the world’s highest volume EV in history. Period. Nissan could not withdraw the LEAF from California without another ZEV to replace it, or stop selling cars altogether in California, or buy the ZEV credits and pay a fine of $5000 per credit not produced.

Most of the other cars produced fit somewhere between those two extremes.

Only Tesla and Mitsubishi offer ZEV’s in California that are purely NOT compliance cars (as those companies are exempt).


Instead of getting tense about the definition of the word “compliance”, we could devise a new metric tied to the actual sales, and that will be a clear signal which products to take seriously.

By that metric it should be clear that eGolf, i3 etc are being made in large numbers and sold in many countries so they are not compliance cars.

Similarly Spark EV is great product, but not one that GM is serious about.

This is something that I penciled together over a year ago: Ok, here it is. You’ve all been waiting for it. Which car(s) are most militant and hostile about California Air Resources Board – Zero Emissions Vehicle (CARB-ZEV) compliance, and which ones really want to sell battery electric cars? .. Manufacturer .. Model(s) …. A ……. B …… C …… D ….. E ….. F 1. Honda – Fit EV / FCEV ….. YES ….. YES … YES … YES … NO … YES (future FCEV) 2. Toyota – Rav4 EV / FCEV… NO ….. YES … YES … YES …YES … YES (future FCEV) 3. Chry/Fiat – Fiat 500e ……. NO ….. YES … YES … YES … NO … YES 4. GM – Spark EV …………….. NO ….. YES … YES …. NO … NO … YES (future DC charging) 5. Ford – Focus EV …………… NO ….. YES … NO … YES … NO … YES 6. Daimler – Smart/B-Class . NO ….. YES …. NO …. NO … NO … YES (future FCEV) 7. BMW – i3 …………………… NO ….. NO …. NO …. NO … NO … NO (future DC charging, future FCEV) 8. Nissan… Read more »

Well done indeed, Mike.
Are you Audi stokists and will you have the A3 Sportsback PHEV too?


I would say that the EV market is in much better shape than it’s ever been. To be fair, Lustuccc, the list you reference includes the Corbin Sparrow, Sinclair C5, Zap Xebra and other many other experiments whose commercial potential was… limited.

The cars you can go buy now are not only freeway capable and safe, but better by almost every metric than their ICE siblings and competitors. And 1/4 the cost to operate.

That’s the real progress. Greater public awareness is the current hurdle, and progress is still driven more by enthusiasts/activists than well financed marketing departments.

Exactly. Why people mention cars that aren’t even required to meet crash testing, many times aren’t even legal to drive on freeways, are obscure and hard to find, and are most definitely not “mass market”. I think it detracts from the EV message.

Here is my list of what’s current for Zero Emission Vehicles here in California. To be very clear, virtually none of these would exist without our California Air Resources Board (CARB):

BMW – i3

Fiat/Chrysler – 500e

Ford – Focus EV, possible hydrogen by 2018

General Motors – Spark EV, (coming, “200 mile EV” Sonic EV, possible hydrogen by 2018

Honda – Fit EV (to be cancelled), then hydrogen car only

Hyundai – hydrogen car only

Kia – Soul EV, several other models in near future

Mazda – Demio EV

Daimler/Mercedes – B-Class ED, Smart ED, hydrogen by 2018

Nissan – LEAF, eNV-2000, future Infiniti model by 2018

Toyota – Rav4 EV (production ended 8/28/2014), Scion iQ EV (92 delivered for fleet lease only), then hydrogen only

Volkswagen – eGolf, hydrogen by 2018

Auto manufacturers that are NOT subject to CARB-ZEV:

Tesla – Model S (Model X, Model 3 coming)
Mitsubishi – iMiev
Fuji Heavy Industry (Subaru) – none
Jaguar Land Rover – none
Volvo – none

See above.
Perfectly barmy.
You don’t release Californian compliance care in Europe.
They don’t count.

Europe is a completely different market. They can release the cars there and charge a really high price for them.

In the USA, they need CARB ZEV credits so they sell compliance EVs at loss in California. But they don’t sell them anywhere else because they don’t want to lose anymore than they have to. People would go nuts if they sold the exact same EV in non-California states for $5K to $10K more than the cost in California, so they don’t.

Did you say “to be fair” ?!?
Because you list the exceptions…

Chevrolet S10
Chrysler T-Van
Ford Ranger EV
Honda EV Plus
Nissan Altra
Toyota Rav4-EV

were not experimental cars and had a very good potential, three of them had a >125 miles range.
So when I answered to RedLeafBlueLeaf that 15 years later we did not saw a huge improvement in the BEV department, I was quite “fair”.

Where are the >125 miles now? Where is the progress?

Conservative estimates place the cost per EV1 at $80K. GM said that figure was actually $250K. So let’s go with the conservative figure- $80,000 (production cost) for a two door, two seater with a 18.7kWh or 26.4kWh pack, or more than $3000/kWh best case scenario. We are at around $1400/kWh with a Nissan LEAF (whole car, not just battery cost).

In other words, not only has the capacity of the car more than doubled (from 2 seater to 5 seater), but the price has been cut in half, and we still have a 24kWh battery (we either gained 5.3kWh or lost 2.4kWh, depending on which EV1 battery we are talking about).

$80,000 got you a 2-passenger car with FWD and 125 miles of range. Now $80,000 will get you a premium 7-passenger sedan with AWD and 225 miles of range. You don’t think that’s progress?

Many People are misinformed.
Herés a quote from GM in 2000
“The M.S.R.P. for the EV1 ranged from $33,995 to $43,995, depending on the model year and the battery pack. The monthly lease payment ranged from $349 to $574. ”

And the EV1 was equipped with state of the art security features and options.

There were only ~1500 built.

If Built massively, the price tag would have fallen under 30k for sure.

The MSRP of the EV1 has no basis in reality since it was a lease-only car. Plus it has no relevance to GM’s cost to build; the EV1’s aluminum frame was light years ahead of its time and extremely expensive. I’m not talking about the how expensive the batteries were either. While the EV1 is looked upon with much nostalgia as a potential huge seller, it was a niche design similar to the original Honda Insight.

Again you take the only car in my list that was custom made.

The MSRP is the best indicator of what a car is worth.

Of course, if you produce the Leaf (or any car) at 1500 copies only, it will cost you a serious bundle.

My point is that 7 cars, including 6 ordinary electric adapted cars were available in 2000 and some of them went passed 125 miles of range.

Now, 15 years later we have 12 all electric cars available, and 10 of them are compliance only. Among them only Tesla’s have a decent range.

So where is the progress?

21 … Jay, please list them.

Tony lists only 15. I cannot figure out the others. Also, does eNV200 count as “on sale in America”?

“Plug-in” cars are not necessarily ZEV cars. Only pure battery electric and hydrogen fit that mandate.

The GM Volt / Ampera does not, because it has a gasoline engine. There have been cases of Volts that have been turned in on lease AND NEVER PLUGGED IN. They just drove them like any other gasoline car (and likely enjoyed the HOV lane).

I ordered the E-Golf in Norway February 27th with heat-pump, almost a year ago. Apperantly they have major issues with the heat-pump and still NO car with heat-pump is released. VW has the worst delivery record held by any car manufacturer.

Please define the following:

I’m curious to see the list.

An EV is a car that run exclusively on electricity.

That narrow the list… and the progress.
Who killed the electric car? The car companies, the oil companies and George W.

Now It seems that the car makers have a rule to never provide ranges of 100 miles or more. From the introduction of the iMieV and Leaf : zero improvement.

They are not killing it again, they just make sure it stays moribund.

Patience. GM, Nissan, & Tesla are working on longer range EVs at lower prices.

Tesla is making his best. It is the only one not protecting gas car$…

Last note for me. Tony, I did not mean to seem bragish about Hydrogen. (I realize this forum.) I merely was pointing out the numerous options that people will ‘really have’, soon… For me, the golf is more of a Real car than a lot of the list… Tesla without selling credits, might not exist… My job is to truly ‘effect’ change. So j am excited about all the options. Hell I even lost $2m, being the biggest Fisker dealer:) I will keep pushing ahead. Thanks.

Ouch on Fisker!!! Best wishes, Tony

Tesla made $63 million on CARB-ZEV credits. Elon Musk alone is worth many billions of dollars.

I’m confident that those credits were not the difference between success and complete failure of Tesla. It plays well with the Tesla “short” sellers, though!!! Any 11 year old company that can successfully compete in the world auto business against 100 year old auto company giants that are entrenched into national identities like VW, Daimler Benz, GM, Ford, Toyota, et al, should be celebrated !!!

As to a VW eGolf being a “real car”, I know that I’ve had all the 80 mile range cars that I plan to have in my lifetime. Compared to the range of the Rav4 EV (142 miles at 65mph) and the Kia Soul EV (101 miles at 62mph), and the Mercedes Benz B-Class ED (about 115 miles at 65mph), I find great value in greater range.

That might not be what you mean by “real” car, but in the EV world, range is king.

For the E-Golf VW have laid out a clear path to increase the battery density from 25-36Ah with better than commensurate range increases out to 2017.

In addition both they and Audi are releasing a host of PHEVs and BEVs in the coming years, including the Crossblue which they are employing another 2,000 people in Tennessee to build.

To service them they have laid out that they will certify dealers and train personnel in their maintenance in every state in the Union.

To pay for that both the dealers and the company are going to want to cover all their electric vehicles, including their mainstay Golf.

The last thing this should be confused with is a compliance car.
It is VW’s assault on the market currently held by the Nissan Leaf, including the 150 mile range version whenever that appears, which will mean it competing in a much larger market segment with many more cars than today.