Volkswagen is intent on becoming the world's leading automaker by 2018 and that means being top dog in every segment, including hybrid and electric cars. Previously, the German auto giant announced plans to start building its own electric powertrains
and even opened a battery research lab
at Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, California.
Since then, we've been treated to the unveilings of a host of hybrid and electric car prototypes, the most famous of which was the E-Up concept car
, which is destined to be Volkswagen's first mass-produced electric car and should be rolling off the factory floor in 2013. Unfortunately, the chances of this model being sold in the U.S. are very slim.
There remains, however, hope on the horizon for electric car fans here in the U.S. that also appreciate German engineering. Volkswagen's second electric car, the Golf blue-e-motion, will likely be offered for local sale, and the first prototypes, like the one you see here, should be hitting our shores by February of next year.
Volkswagen will be shipping over a small fleet of about 20 Golf blue-e-motion prototypes for trial use by fleets and government agencies over the course of next year. No locations have been confirmed as yet but expect the usual early adopter states--California and New York--to be included. Trials in Europe have already commenced.
If the trials prove successful, production of the electric Golf will start in 2014. Note, by then, Volkswagen will have already started building its MkVII Golf so the design of the cars will be very different to the prototype you see here, which is based on the current MkVI Golf.
The technology, too, especially in regards to the batteries and charging systems, should also be significantly advanced by the time production starts. Some of the things that are likely to change include the size, weight and power density of the batteries, as well as the charge time and range.