It’s a little-known fact that between the late 1970s and mid 1990s Volkswagen made a series of limited-run electric cars based on the VW Golf platform.
Thirty years later, VW’s latest offering, the 2013 Golf Blue-e-motion made its first appearance in the U.K, winning an eco-driving event in the process.
Unveiled earlier this year, the Blue e-motion is based on the 2011 VW Golf. Outwardly it appears just like its gasoline and Diesel powered siblings, but houses a 26.5 kilowatt-hour battery pack and a 85.5 kilowatt motor.
1985 CityStromer Volkswagen Golf Electric Vehicle
0-62 mph is achieved in 11.8 seconds and top speed is limited to 86 mph, a distinct improvement on the electric VW Golf of the 1980s. This author's example has a maximum range of 52 miles, a theoretical top speed of 62mph and wheezes to 43 mph in an agonising 27 seconds.
Hitching a ride at the end of the inaugural RAC Future Car Challenge, an event ran by the Royal Automobile Club in the U.K. to promote green vehicles and economical driving, we were able to travel a few blocks in the engineering prototype.
Unlike some prototype electric cars we’ve ridden in, however, the Blue-e-motion felt like a finished car.
Admittedly, our ride was only through a few city blocks, but the ride we experienced was smooth, quiet and without incident.
With a conventional VW Golf interior, there is little to differentiate the Blue-e-motion from a gasoline or Diesel Golf. Keeping the gear selector found in automatic models, forward or reverse is selected in a conventional manner - even if the gear lever only operates as an electronic switch.
2013 VW Golf Blue-e-motion prototype
With a range of over 90 miles per charge, the VW Golf Blue e-motion easily travelled 57 mile reverse-route reenactment of the vintage vehicle run open to pre-1906 cars that has taken place between London and Brighton for more than 100 years.
Unlike the traditional event, which showcases some of the most prized vintage cars in the world, the RAC Future Car Challenge focused on economic driving. Using data logging devices, participating cars were measured on their energy economy during the trip.
The route included a selection of driving, from city streets to country lanes and highway sections.
Piloted by the Jim Holder, Editor of What Car? Magazine, the VW Blue-e-motion beat hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, standard and plug-in hybrids and electric cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf, 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5 Sport to be crowned the Best Overall Entry As Chosen By The Event Judges.
It also won a prize as the Most Economic & Environment Friendly Regular Passenger EV.
While market plans have not been finalized yet, a world-wide test-fleet of 500 vehicles due to launch in 2011 will enable VW to fine-tune the car before bringing it to market in 2013. VW has set itself an ambitious task of becoming the world's leader in electric vehicles by 2020, no mean feat for a company which does not plan to produce an all-electric vehicle until 2013. We can only hope that world domination plan includes a U.S. version of this car.[Volkswagen]