Video: Volkswagen Shows Off e-Golf at 2013 LA Auto Show – Somehow It’s Cargo Area Isn’t Consumed by Batteries


Sometimes automakers are so dramatic about the smallest of things, and sometimes you practically miss a bombshell within a whole pile of technical specs.

Volkswagen’s presentation last week at the LA Auto Show undersold a breakthrough feature, that only us EV nerds get excited about.

The video below details all you’d want to know about what VW has been working on, and what it will be working on bringing to market in the next year or two. VW calls on us to “Think Blue” when thinking of their green initiatives.

We promise car is more exciting than the name!

We promise the car is more exciting than the name!

One of the most promising projects is the e-Golf hatchback that is nearly ready to unplug from the factory and enter the mean streets of L.A..  But it’s what you don’t see is what sets this vehicle apart from the herd. And by herd we mean existing, conventional ICE platforms, reconfigured to work as EV’s (Ford Fusion, Ford Focus Electric, Chevrolet Volt,  Chevrolet Spark EV and the Fiat 500e.)

How did VW stuff all the batteries under it without lifting the car 3" to compensate?

How did VW stuff all the batteries under it without lifting the car 3″ to compensate?

So, what magic has VW accomplished that no automaker before has managed? Zero intrusion EV packaging in a conventional platform. Somehow they stuffed 24.2 kWh of lithium ion batteries under the body and all the other do-dads under the hood. In fact, with the vehicle shut off, I bet your mom (or your boss) can’t tell it apart from a “regular Golf.” Come to think of it, that might be a bad thing.  Only time will tell.

The dash looks nearly the same, the conventional shifter is there, the grill looks the same and it’s just a plain ol’ hatchback. From the outside, the only tip off I see are the special wheels and couple  little “e-badges.” Is it possible the platform was just that good? Our hope is that the car needed very little re-work to become the car you saw at the LA Auto Show last week.

You’ll also like the Cross Blue Concept Coupe, but I won’t spoil the details of that one for ya.  Take a look

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18 Comments on "Video: Volkswagen Shows Off e-Golf at 2013 LA Auto Show – Somehow It’s Cargo Area Isn’t Consumed by Batteries"

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The Rav4EV has zero intrusion into the passenger compartment. There is even space for storage of the third row seat which is just empty now.

Sorry to say, I don’t like this car for TWO reasons.. First is that the instrument cluster looks too much like an ICE vehicle. One of the things that attracted me to cars like the Leaf and Volt were the high-tech instrument clusters. Second thing is that the car is nearly identical to the regular Golf. I’m sure a certain percentage of people prefer being inconspicuous. But I want my car to stand out in a crowd and say “Look at me! I’m an electric car” or something like that.

That’s because you and me are selfish attention-mongers…or something like that, (=

That might be part of it. But the truth is, I want people to recognize an EV driving down the road. I want people to see them and notice them. The more people see them, the more likely they will be to consider one. If all EVs look exactly like gas cars then most people will have no idea there are EVs on the road even if 50% of the cars driving by them were EV.

I agree with you 100% – a purpose-built/unique EV is much better for the “greater good” of when it comes to adoption. That and early anecdotal evidence says EVs sell better as their own product.

You could get a car wrap company to put a replica of that giant plug thingie that Mini put on their EV. Don’t let the company’s choices restrict your own personal expression. =)

I prefer to think that we are “spreading the good word” that EVs are real, EVs are here, and EVs are great! 😉

To each his own. Conventional (and handsome) good looks, and analog display are two reasons I like the e-Golf. I wouldn’t care if nobody knew it was an EV. And I agree with the author that VW deserves credit for getting a 24kWh pack to disappear in the Golf without stadium seating as in Mercedes B-Class or Honda Fit EV, or lost utility as in Ford Focus Electric.

The difference with the e-Golf is that it is a brand new platform and frame for the 2014 Golf, which was designed with the battery pack in mind. The older Honda Fit EV and Focus Electric are using older high volume ICE platforms and frames to ‘retrofit’ batteries into their 2 and 3 year old first gen electric vehicles.

But a new Fit is launching next year MY2015, along with a new Focus that launches for MY2016/17 that will better contains the battery pack.

I was waiting for these pictures! I’m glad this isn’t another Ford Focus Electric.

Ford’s EV efforts are about as half-assed as they come.

They needed to consume 5 cubic feet of cargo space in their Energi models for just 6kWh of additional battery capacity. Tesla’s pack density is 5-10x as high. Here’s VW stuffing 4x that amount of battery without compromising trunk space.

As much as conversions get a bad name, the i-MiEV and Fiat 500e both do an excellent job of fitting the battery into the given space without any cabin intrusion or changes in ride height (a’la Honda Fit EV).

It’s my hope they will use this platform for an E-Beetle…

Under the rear storage, where the spare wheel goes, on their new MQB Platform would seem like a good place to stuff a battery, and perhaps they are using a more compact formula? (Just my uninformed speculation.)

Well, I believe this is a new chassis platform that has been design to handle multiple drivetrains . . . gas ICE, diesel ICE, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric.

I certainly appreciate the effort to keep the space. The weird thing about the Golf, is that it seemed to be the most comfortable back seat all the Audi/VW products I’ve sat in. (I’m over 6 foot tall, fyi)

Our local Audi dealership is right next to our VW dealership. A couple of years ago while I was having my car serviced, I went around sitting in back seats of every different model of Audi and VW I could find. I set the front seat to my normal driving position, and then hopped into the back. I was surprised when the Golf came out the clear winner for my dimensions. The surprisingly large interior has definitely put the Golf on my list for my next car, so it is good to hear they are keeping that space for the e-Golf.

With VW coming so late to the plug-in game, they were able to engineer their new 2014 ICE Golf platform and frame to better contain the battery pack for a hybrid or plug-in vehicle. Unlike Ford, GM who are using existing ICE platforms that were initially developed as early as 2009 for ICE vehicles, and later used in 2012/2013/2014 for their first generation battery vehicles. But next gen Ford (Focus Electric, Fusion/MKZ Hybrid/Energi, C-Max Hybrid/Energi) platforms/top hats being designed today, and due MY2016/17 will no longer have battery intrusion, with the shell designed to better contain a battery pack. VW has the right idea. From a business perspective, it’s a much better option to use a flexible high volume ICE platform/body for a low volume battery electric vehicle. For comparison, Ford Focus sold over 1 million units globally for 2012, and 245k in the US alone. For 2013 Fusion will sell 300k units. Which enables profitability in the first year for the low volume battery vehicle based on those high volume platforms and ‘top hats’. The economies of scale are staggering. It’s the only way to see a return on investment with the short 4-5 year life of the vehicle.… Read more »

Wow, Ford needs this technology and FAST!!!

Their current design intrudes into the trunk WAY too much.

Hopefully they can jump into the skateboard design ASAP, not 2-3 years from now!