2015 Volkswagen e-Golf - Long-term test car [November 2015]Enlarge Photo
When it launched in fall 2014, the Volkswagen e-Golf electric car all but duplicated the Nissan Leaf in range and efficiency: 83 miles and 116 MPGe against the Leaf's 84-mile and 114-MPGe ratings.
Since then, the Leaf has gotten an upgrade to 107 miles, and an increase is en route for the e-Golf as well.
Now attention is turning to the next generation of the e-Golf, to be launched as part of the updated eighth-generation Golf lineup that will start to appear late in 2018.
While the Golf VIII will sit on a revised version of the current model's MQB architecture, the 2019 e-Golf will instead ride on the VW Group's dedicated MEB underpinnings meant just for battery-electric cars.
The e-Golf will continue to look virtually identical to conventionally powered Golfs, according to Autoblog--despite its considerably different platform.
The MEB architecture will also spawn at least one dedicated electric Volkswagen model, as previewed by the Budd-e Concept microbus revealed at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.
Volkswagen Budd-e ConceptEnlarge Photo
In addition, there will be a smaller dedicated electric VW that the brand claims will be the world's most affordable long-range electric car.
And, finally (for now), at least one Audi electric car will employ the MEB platform as well--smaller than the Audi Q6 e-Tron Quattro that will arrive during 2018 as well.
While today's e-Golf receives an 83-mile range rating from the U.S. EPA, its EU rating is 190 kilometers (118 miles).
In the real world, suggested Jocham Böhle, who leads small-car development for VW Group, the e-Golf delivers about 120 km (75 miles) of range.
But the next-generation version, he told Autoblog, will deliver 300 km (186 mi) of real-world "genuine" range.
Scaled up, that would indicate a U.S. EPA rating of about 215 miles--which would put a new Volkswagen e-Golf squarely up against the 200-mile 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
2016 Volkswagen e-GolfEnlarge Photo
By 2020, a host of new longer-range battery-electric cars will be on the market, including the Bolt EV, a second-generation Nissan Leaf, one or more BMW 'i' models, and--if it goes into production as planned--the Tesla Model 3.
The e-Golf competes more with the Chevy and the Nissan than with prestige brands like BMW and Tesla, but it will arrive at least a couple of years later than the earliest of those cars.
CHECK OUT: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf: What We Like & Don’t Like, After First Drive (Jun 2015)
On the other hand, the first e-Golf came four model years after the first Leaf, and it still sold at a surprisingly robust rate during 2015.
Moreover, the ongoing diesel-emission scandal is driving VW to do everything it can to accelerate and publicize its activities in zero-emission vehicles.
The next e-Golf (and also the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE, which is not sold in the U.S.) "may not be there right at the start of Golf VIII," Böhle said, but they will follow shortly afteward.
That sounds to us as if we'll see the next all-new model as the 2020 Volkswagen e-Golf.