2015 Volkswagen e-Golf: Quick Preview Drive Of All-Electric Hatchback

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Volkswagen has bet very heavily on diesel, with its TDI models; yet it's preparing to bring its all-electric Golf, called the e-Golf, to the U.S. later this year. And we took another short drive in it this past week—this time on U.S. shores.

The e-Golf, as it will be sold beginning this November, in California, Oregon, and a few other 'select markets,' uses a 115-hp synchronous permanent-magnet AC motor that will deliver up to 199 pound-feet of torque, enabling acceleration to 25 mph in 4.2 seconds or to 60 mph in about ten seconds, and top speed is limited to 87 mph.

ALSO SEE: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf Vs. Golf TDI: Back-To-Back Test Drive

Its 24.2-kWh lithium-ion battery, using Panasonic automotive-grade prismatic cells, puts it on the same level as the Nissan Leaf—and real-world driving range should be comparable, if not a bit better. Charge times with the 7.2-kW onboard charger, using a 240-volt wallbox (installed through the official partner, Bosch), are just four hours, or about 20 hours on 120-volt AC. DC fast charging (CCS/SAE combo socket) is standard and can bring the state of charge to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes. 

Total weight of the battery pack is just 701 pounds, and the e-Golf's base curb weight is just 3,090 pounds. The pack has been designed to operate at cooler temperatures than some other performance-oriented packs, even at peak load, and since the emphasis of the e-Golf is efficiency, not performance, Volkswagen found that they could dissipate heat (and save complexity and weight) through the floorpan and chassis. If temps are exceeded at the low end or high end, the output is adjusted so as to avoid battery damage.

Nimble, refined, and very quiet

With all the vitals out of the way, let's get to how the e-Golf drives. In short, it doesn't feel quite as perky as other EVs, or as other Golf models, but it has the same quick, nimble handling, a super-refined ride, and a very quiet interior—as well as the best front seats in any EV thus far, except perhaps the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric or Tesla Model S.

Because the e-Golf is built on VW's MQB platform, which was conceived from the start to have a place for battery mounting, there's absolutely no cabin intrusion from the battery. Interior space, seat folding, and cargo space is exactly the same as other Golf models—even the rear seating height and hip point.

Getting into the e-Golf, you notice some of the same interior-configuration improvements we noted in our drive of the 2015 Golf TDI some weeks ago—namely a dash that feels little lower, and seating position that feels higher, adding up to a more open, less confining feel in the front seats, with better visibility sideways and rearward than in the previous MK6 Golf. Inside and out, blue striping and trim remind you that you're not in an ordinary Golf.

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