This morning, we got all the details on the new Volkswagen e-Golf electric car, ahead of its debut next week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The E-Golf is a battery-electric version of the all-new seventh-generation VW Golf, which will go on sale in the U.S. next spring as a 2015 model.
The electric five-door hatchback is the first Volkswagen plug-in car designed for mass production, though the actual number to be built and sold remains unclear.
VW will launch the car "only at participating dealers in select states," and it will go on sale roughly a year from now, in the fourth quarter of 2014.
But the final specifications indicate that the E-Golf could pose viable competition for the high-volume Nissan Leaf, should VW choose to build it in quantity.
Volkswagen has said it intends to be "the world leader in e-mobility" by 2018, though the company considers that to include conventional hybrids as well as zero-emission plug-in vehicles.
The new Golf, slightly longer and wider than today's model, is expected to retain the good roadholding and fun-to-drive nature the German compact hatchback is known for.
The electric Golf's liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack has a capacity of 24.2 kilowatt-hours. It is located in the floor, under the front and rear seats, and in the tunnel down the middle of the car. It was developed in-house by VW engineers, using large-format prismatic cells.
The electric motor that powers the front wheels--also developed in-house--is rated at 86 kilowatts (115 horsepower) and 199 lb-ft of torque.
Acceleration from rest is given as 4.2 seconds to 25 mph, and 10.4 seconds for the 0-to-60-mph dash. Speed is limited electronically to a maximum of 87 mph.
Volkswagen quotes a range of 70 to 90 miles, depending on driving conditions and style, but the EPA has not yet rated the E-Golf's range.
Volkswagen e-Golf - 2013 Frankfurt Motor ShowEnlarge Photo
The onboard charger can operate at up to 7.2 kilowatts, meaning a completely discharged battery could be recharged in 4 to 5 hours. A full recharge on standard 110-Volt U.S. household current will take about 20 hours.
More interesting, Volkswagen will make DC fast-charging at up to 40 kW a standard feature, allowing an 80-percent recharge in about 30 minutes.
It's worth noting that the E-Golf will use the Combined Charging System (CCS) fast-charging standard, for which there are only a handful of U.S. charging stations today.
And VW is providing a roadside assistance plan to delivers cars whose batteries are discharged to nearby charging stations and transport the owners to home or work if they don't want to stay with the car.
The Volkswagen E-Golf has three driving modes: Normal, Eco, and Eco+, and also three different levels of regenerative braking that can be selected with the shift lever.