I hear a new version of the electric VW Golf could have an astonishing range of 300 kms.

Volkswagen is promising an electric future and teased some of the Canadian auto press recently with some seat time in an E-Golf.

A big update on its plans was hinted at recently at the Paris Auto show and it now seems it will come as early as mid-November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The E-Golf, sold only in 10 states at the moment, is an electric version of the successful Golf family and currently has a range of 140 kms on a full charge.

I hear a new version of the electric VW Golf could have an astonishing range of 300 kms. That’s a huge leap and would make it a real contender against the upcoming (arriving early 2017) Chevrolet Bolt with 383 kms of range. And it would be comparable to the Tesla Model 3 and its estimated 320km of range, which will likely follow many months later.

I had a chance to drive the current E-Golf in the United States and if this product is any indication of the future car, VW will be right in the thick of the emerging electric market.


Looks
The current E-Golf is built on the same platform as the regular gasoline car with room made for the front electric motor, in place of a conventional power plant, plus room for the battery pack. The only giveaway that this is an electric car is the bold LED signature lights on the front bumper along with subtle badging.

The second bit of news is that the car to be shown in L.A. will showcase the updated look for the VW Golf family. This is a company that makes very, very modest changes to its products; so expect tweaks to the front and rear bumpers and headlamps but not much else.

Inside
The interior of the E-Golf is almost exactly the same as the conventional car with the exception of the instrument cluster. There are special dials in the cluster providing the state of charge, if the driver is regenerating electric power or engaging the battery pack for power. This is helpful to the driver because modulating the accelerator, in bursts, can provide enough energy to propel the car and also regenerate power when the car is coasting.

The rest of the dash and cabin is fitted with the same high level of materials found in the current crop of VW products. There has been a major effort on VW’s part to improve the look and feel of its products and it shows. Unfortunately, the steering wheel does not have any radio controls or other quick adjustment buttons.

Drive
Having had a chance to drive several electric vehicles of the past few years I can see how electric vehicle owners might be reluctant to drive anything else. The vehicle is so quiet with only a slight whir from the electric motor. Electric cars also benefit from instant torque, providing sports car like acceleration and instant passing power.

The power from the electric motor is direct, there is no transmission, so the car will go as fast as the motor can spin. The output of the current E-Golf is 115hp and 200lb-ft. The torque is addictive and makes mid-range passing maneuvers a snap. Electric cars really are best suited for city driving where the driver can keep regenerating power to the battery under braking, unlike highway driving when the power drain is consistent.

Final words
This E-Golf will receive a new look when it hits the broader market. The current car is sold in the U.S. for $28,995 and or $35,595 for the fully equipped model and before any federal or state rebate.

I’m hoping we’ll learn about VW Canada’s plans for the vehicle in LA. After a year of bad publicity surrounding VW’s TDI cars, bringing in a modestly priced electric car would be a welcome distraction.

zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

The Lowdown
Power: 115hp
Economy: N/A
Sticker price: US$28,995-US$35,595

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