Volkswagen begins testing of its first electric car, based on the Golf, this year. Volkswagen's European media refers to it as the Golf blue-e-motion, but the staff at the Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab (ERL) in California simply refer to it as the eGolf.
This eGolf, at ERL, is the first of 20 that will be tested in the United States. Volkswagen is constructing a fleet of 500, with the majority used for testing in Germany. The German government set a goal of 1 million electric cars on its roads by 2020, which is spurring Volkswagen's development of the car.
Instead of building a new vehicle from the ground up, Volkswagen used the existing Golf for manufacturing efficiency. Structurally, the vehicle is very similar to the current Golf, though the engine and transmission have been replaced with an electric motor driving the front wheels and a lithium-ion battery pack.
The specifications for the eGolf are fairly typical for modern electric cars. The lithium-ion battery pack has a 26.5 kilowatt-hour capacity, giving the car a range of 93 miles. Drivetrain power of 85 kilowatts, and an electric motor that produces 199 pound-feet of torque, gets it to 62 mph in 11.8 seconds.
Though part of a test fleet, the eGolf has a cabin with a very finished feel. Volkswagen adapted its head unit to show screens about the car's energy consumption, and even included a power flow animation.
A button in front of the shifter includes different driving modes, such as Range, which maximizes driving range by reducing all auxiliary energy usage. The shifter also has a B setting, which maximizes regeneration. When engaged, lifting off the accelerator will quickly slow the car down. Paddle shifters also let the driver select from three intensities for the B mode.