Volkswagen e-Golf Test Drive Review


VW e-Golf Makes US Debut At Los Angeles Auto Show

VW e-Golf Makes US Debut At Los Angeles Auto Show

At the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen unveiled its 2015 e-Golf electric in full production trim.



The e-Golf will launch in Europe in Spring of 2014, but it won’t arrive in the US until some undisclosed time in 2015.

The five-door hatchback features a 24.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which VW claims will provide the e-Golf with up to 118 miles of range (NEDC) or around 80 miles in the real world according to our estimates.

VW e-Golf Under the Hood

VW e-Golf Under the Hood

Some additional specs for the e-Golf include the following:

  • 114 horsepower
  • 199 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 62 mph in 10.4 seconds
  • 87 mph top speed
  • Drag coefficient of 0.28
  • Three drive modes: Normal, Eco and ECO+
  • Four levels of regenerative braking: D1, D2, D3 and B
  • Optional CCS
  • 13-hour recharge on standard 230-volt socket or 8 hours with optional wall-box charger
  • Curb weight of 3,329 pounds

We suspect that the e-Golf will carry a US price tag of considerably less than $40,000, making it substantially cheaper than the BMW i3, but how does the e-Golf perform?

First reviews of the e-Golf are now coming in and, courtesy of Autocar, here’s what we should expect:

e-Golf Interior

e-Golf Interior

“Much of the e-Golf’s appeal lies in its familiarity, which is something Volkswagen is clearly banking on in its quest to become a force in the electric car ranks.”

“Performance wise, there’s little to complain about. With 199lb ft of torque available the moment you nudge the throttle in normal mode, the e-Golf bursts off the line with a strong and seamless surge of acceleration, hitting 37mph in 4.2sec…”

“Top speed varies depending on the driving mode, limited to 87mph in normal, 71mph in Eco and 56 mph in Eco Plus.”

In the ever-so important “Should I buy one?” category, Autocar says this:

VW e-Golf to Go On Sale in US in 2015

VW e-Golf to Go On Sale in US in 2015

“The answer to this depends largely on your motoring needs….for those who require a car exclusively for journeys under the claimed 118-mile maximum range — and have easy access to high power 40kW electric charging — it appears to be a genuine alternative to the current crop of petrol, diesel and even hybrid-powered hatchbacks.”

In all honesty, the VW e-Golf seems like it could easily outsell the BMW i3 two to one, provided that it’s priced right and that VW actually wants to sell it.

If its US price is in the low to mid-$30,000s, then the e-Golf may well become an immediate hit in the states.  If priced above $40,000, the e-Golf can’t compete with the i3, so it becomes a loser right out of the gate.

Source of full e-Golf review: Autocar

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17 Comments on "Volkswagen e-Golf Test Drive Review"

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The e-Golf will surely compete with the i3 in Germany, for people buying domestic.
Elsewhere though, I think it will be mostly pitted against the Leaf, given its almost-identical specs. Assuming that VW really wants to sell this car (something I’m not yet convinced of) and price it accordingly, the battle with Nissan could get interesting…

I honestly don’t see it selling well. It’s main drawback is that it looks just like a regular Golf. People who spend a lot of money on an EV want the world to know that it is an EV.

I would argue that many other people think the exact opposite: I want my EV to have no labeling what-so-ever, and not look odd in any way.

You seem to be in the minority. Honda followed this path with their Civic Hybrid, and it sold nowhere near as many copies and the Toyota Prius.

That’s exactly right. Even the first-gen Prius didn’t look much different than the Toyota Echo it was based upon. It never sold well. When the distinctive look of the 2nd-gen Prius was introduced, sales boomed.

The Civic Hybrid also sold less because it was less efficient than the Prius. Having to fight the friction of the ICE whenever the car is moving will always be less efficient. Fortunately, Honda learned that lesson and came up with a very efficient system in the 2014 Accord Hybrid.

This topic would make for an interesting survey. Although I would count myself among the “raving fans” of EVs, I purchased a Focus Electric because I liked its styling, among other things. I liked that it looked like an ordinary car.

Still waiting for the Bulli Microbus EV, or the E-Bugster…

IMHO, this needs a second motor, delivering twice the power through AWD. That would sell like hotcakes at $45K. As is, I still prefer the i3.

Glad to see DC fast charging option. It should be standard equipment.

To compete with the Leaf, VW is going to need CCS fast chargers deployed. The Golf also needs some EV features, like a heated steering wheel.


What does this mean?

“13-hour recharge on standard 230-volt socket or 8 hours with optional wall-box charger”

What is the voltage of a “optional wall-box charger,” and how would one get this installed in a home?

It would obviously need to be greater that what they call a “standard 230-volt socket” (nothing standard about that in the US).

Just foud this on their media website..hmmmm

“For a successful market launch of electric vehicles, the way that home chargers are handled is very important, along with easy access to public charging infrastructure. For the U.S., we also have to recognize the specific legal regulations as well as the different characteristics of the electricity supply: both the reduced 110-volt mains supply and the type of charging plugs.”

So are they saying they have some kind of 480V charger??? Can we even use this in the US????

Standard Euro household plug EVSE is limited to 10 A, 230 V for safety reasons, while with a dedicated type 2 plug charging box it will charge with 16 A, 230 V.

I’ve heard the e-Golf doesn’t have any significant battery intrusion into the cabin area. I would like to see more pictures of the interior (e.g., hatch area) to verify it doesn’t have a Focus EV-esque, Quasimodo-like battery hump.

I love my Focus, except for the bump. That bump is a pain in the rear…of the car that is

I really dislike the navigation system screen to be below the fan exhausts, you need to look too far away from the street to see your route (yes, there are voice commands and route indicators, but that’s not so comfortable as a real map view).

If it’s cheaper and better, then it will sell, but at 80 mile range it’s no different than the Leaf. And if it sells at more than $30K, then they won’t sell much at all.

Come on Volkswagen, can’t you do better than 80 miles range!!!

The performance spec is NOT impressive..