Volkswagon Rolls Out Its New Electric Car
Volkswagen is a shining example of a modern car company embracing this multi-pronged approach. VW has long been the leader in the diesel segment. Year-to-date, over 23% of all Volkswagen sales in the U.S. have featured clean diesel technology, a much higher percentage than overall industry sales for diesel, which make up barely 3% of the total U.S. market. But in the last two years the German automaker has displayed a flurry of activity around plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, including the revolutionary XL1 and the new all-electric 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf.
The all-new 2015 Golf is one of two early vehicles built off the new MQB platform and already on sale in the U.S. (the 2015 Audi A3 is the other one). Because of this system Golf production, including body styles and drivetrain configurations, can be shifted almost instantaneously. However, production capacity and flexibility is only half the battle. One of the main hurdles Volkswagen’s new e-Golf will face is an electric car market saturated with vehicles offered at the same price and touting the same battery range.
Like most all-electric cars it will apply regenerative braking whenever your foot comes off the accelerator pedal. It can be disconcerting at first, but it’s actually pretty convenient once you get used to the automatic braking that starts as soon as you lift off the throttle, especially during city driving. The driver can select from multiple levels of regeneration, with noticeable changes in the e-Golf’s ‘braking without braking’ effect. The e-Golf also comes with 3 driving modes: Normal, Eco, and Eco Plus. Again, the changes in driving dynamics between each mode are noticeable, especially with the Eco Plus mode limiting top speed to 71 mph.
Volkswagen hopes to evolve battery technology and achieve greater range and even more advanced features in the future while saving costs through the modular toolkit system. According to Michael Franke of Volkswagen’s Group Technology Communications, “With the MQB we have the opportunity to transfer technologies from the premium segment into the smaller segments. That means, that we make these technologies, such as driver-assists and safety systems, available for everybody. We call it democratization of technologies.” That sounds great, but for now the e-Golf’s volumes will be as limited as its 83-mile range. It’s clearly a city car, but it’s a fun city car that lives up to the Golf name.