Volkswagen brought a pair of electric compacts to the floor of the 2013 Frankfurt auto show. The first is the E-Up, an electrified version of its Euro-market subcompact. The other is the E-Golf. Let's start with the smaller EV.
The E-Up's electric motor produces 60kW (about 80 horsepower) and generates its maximum torque of 155 pound-feet instantly from 0 rpm. The front-wheel-drive four-seater reaches 62 mph in about 12.4 seconds and has a top speed of about 80 mph.
The E-Up features three "intuitive" driving modes (Normal, Eco, and Eco+) and four levels of regenerative braking (D1, D2, D3, and B) that VW claims will help drivers to get the maximum range out of each charge. By comparison, the Fiat 500e has just one mode: Drive. I think that is even simpler and more intuitive.
Drivers will be able to connect to their car via the Web through Volkswagen's Car-Net E-Remote service and app. From a smartphone, they'll be able to check the battery and charging state, monitor the climate control system, and push routes to the navigation system.
The E-Up's 18.7kWh lithiumion battery is located in the vehicle's floor; its 17 modules each contain 12 cells and weigh in at a total of 507 pounds. That's a lot of weight, but by keeping it low to the ground, the E-Up should retain reasonably good handling.
Volkswagen states that driving 100km in the E-Up will cost the driver about 3.02 euros. Converting kilometers to miles and euros to dollars, that works out to about 6 cents per mile at current German power rates.
Under the E-Golf's hood, you'll find a larger 85kW electric motor that outputs 199 pound-feet of torque and hits 62 mph in 10.4 seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 87 mph. The E-Golf's lithium ion battery pack has also been upsized to 24.2kWh.
Like the E-Up, the E-Golf features three driving modes and three regen levels to choose from. Thanks to its bigger battery, drivers can expect 118 miles of roving on a full charge.
Both the E-Golf and the E-Up are equipped as premium models, with automatic climate control, remote controlled parking heating/ventilation, navigation, heated windscreen, alloy wheels, and LED daytime running lights. The upmarket e-Golf further differentiates itself from its smaller sibling with all-LED headlights.
VW will offer two charger options for the E-Golf: plugging the 2.3kW charger directly into Germany's 230-volt wall outlets will charge the battery from flat in about 13 hours. There's also a 3.6kW charger box available that will shorten that time to 8 hours. If you can find a 40kW combined charging system (CCS) quick charging station, the battery can be rapidly charged to 80 percent in about 30 minutes.
The larger, heavier E-Golf comes with a slightly higher operating cost estimate by VW. Keeping the hatchback charged will cost around 3.28 euros per 100 km. Working the same conversions, the Golf's 7 cents per mile driven is a mere penny more than the E-Up. Of course, these converted numbers are based on German power rates and are subject to change when the E-Golf reaches other markets.
Like all new Mk7 Golf models, the E-Golf will come standard with touch-screen infotainment. On this 8-inch touch-screen system, the 360-degree driving range can be overlaid on a map, the power usage can be monitored, and charging stations can be searched and navigated to. Like the E-Up, drivers will also have standard access to the automaker's Car-Net E-Remote services.
The E-Up and E-Golf will be available in European markets in early 2014. Other markets will follow in late 2014/early 2015. However the E-Golf will be making the trip over the pond to the US market alone; we won't be getting the E-Up here.