Volkswagen’s e-Golf electric car fitted a fully electric powertrain to a model originally designed for an internal combustion engine, and it created what many fans of the car—us included—might say was more compelling than some other electric cars designed as mass-market electric cars in and of themselves.
For that we’re not going to argue whatsoever with a press release from earlier this week that celebrated the 100,000th e-Golf delivery and called the electric hatchback “one of the most successful battery electric vehicles in Europe.”
Sales have stayed strong through the five-year product cycle, buoyed in Europe by the diesel scandal and in the U.S. by that together with a significant range boost, to an EPA-rated 125 miles. In the U.S. alone, Volkswagen has sold 17,646 e-Golfs in 2019 through October—and that’s amid continued reports of it being in short supply.
2019 BMW i3
The VW e-Golf perhaps underscores the BMW i3, a dedicated electric car built with a carbon-fiber body and standout design, as a relative sales failure; the worldwide tally for the i3 just reached 150,000 earlier this year. The Nissan Leaf passed 400,000 cumulative sales as of earlier this year, and the Model 3 is racing up.
Green Car Reports ran a long-term e-Golf in 2015—when it was rated at just 83 miles of range—and found it to its roomy packaging, perky performance, and predictable range and charging were a good fit for around town. We can only hope future VW EVs cover the simple things so well—with boosted mileage for mass-market appeal, of course.
The model is in its final phaseout, though. Volkswagen of America confirmed this past week that there will not be a 2020 model after all, which will almost certainly signal the end of the line for the e-Golf.
2018 Volkswagen e-Golf electric cars on assembly line in
While our U.S.-bound e-Golf has been built in Wolfsburg, the e-Golf has been built for Europe at “the glass house”—the former Phaeton plant in Dresden that’s designed to be an exhibition and assembly facility in one.
The e-Golf is effectively replaced by the ID 3 in Europe, which is now being produced at Zwickau and will also be built in the Dresden plant starting next fall. The new generation of MEB-based electric cars is due to reach the U.S. in the second half of next year, with the production car based on the ID Crozz concept, likely to be called ID 4.