VW Says It Will Bring Pure Electric Golf to Market in 2014, Supplies Details of Model

By Scott Doggett November 9, 2010

volkswagen-golf-blue-e-motion-in-white.jpgBy Scott Doggett, Contributing Editor

Since it divulged a little information about the upcoming battery-electric Golf last May, Volkswagen has remained mostly mum on the subject - until today, when the German automaker announced that it will bring the zero-emissions car to market in 2014 (a year later than previously stated).

The timeframe squarely puts the model among the second wave of BEVs, well behind the release of the Nissan Leaf due out this year and even other all-electric VWs scheduled to enter production in 2013.

The "Golf blue-e-motion," as the purely electrically powered version of the most successful European car ever built is named, with have five doors, be able to seat five and be propelled by an electric motor integrated in the front engine compartment with a maximum power of 85 kilowatts (115 horsepower) and a continuous power output of 50 kilowatts (69 HP).

But don't let the low horsepower fool you. Like all electric motors, the one in the Golf also delivers a very high maximum torque from a stop (270 Newton-meters or 199 foot-pound). The electricity for powering the electric motor is stored in a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 26.5 kilowatt-hours.

By comparison, the lithium-ion battery pack in the Nissan Leaf will have an energy capacity of 24 kWh, or enough juice to propel the model about 100 miles on the generous LA4 cycle; in other words, it can go considerably fewer miles between charges depending on driving habits, conditions and other factors.

In a statement today, VW said the battery pack in the front-wheel-drive  electric Golf will permit "driving ranges of up to 150 kilometers (90 miles) can be realized."

VW tempers the disappointment that must be running through your mind right not by adding, "At the car's production launch, Volkswagen will announce final driving range data of the production version, which is expected to be significantly improved with the battery technology used then."

Not surprising, the model will be equipped with regenerative braking, an energy recovery mechanism that converts a vehicle's kinetic energy when it slows. Although most people associate energy-regeneration braking with the Toyota Prius, such a brake was developed in 1967 for the AMC Amitron.

Acceleration is a respectable 0-100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in 11.8 seconds.

Given that the battery pack is sure to change before the model rolls off an assembly line, there's not much point in discussing the present pack in great detail. That said, it includes 30 battery modules consisting of 180 lithium-ion cells, which were installed in spaces adapted to the vehicle architecture.

They can be found in the floor of the trunk, under the rear bench seat and in the center tunnel of the underbody (between the front seats). A separate air-cooling system ensures a constant thermal environment in the battery compartment. The battery modules weigh a total of 315 kilograms (693 pounds).

An interesting feature in the electric Golf is the display of regeneration intensity in the multifunction display between the kilowatt instrument and the speedometer. In battery regeneration, the driver has the option of pre-setting the braking energy recovery strategy over four stages (D to D3) via the automatic gearshift lever or gearshift paddles on the steering wheel.

In the lowest stage (D), the car "sails" as soon as the driver's foot leaves the, uh, electric pedal - now the Golf blue-e-motion moves with very low drag; it is only "slowed" by the rolling resistance of the tires and air resistance.

In the D3 stage, the maximum amount of kinetic energy is recovered and fed to the battery. In addition, the electrical-energy consumption of the automatic climate control unit and its blower can be called up in the multifunction display.

In addition, an active driving profile can be set. This lets the driver select priorities: maximum range, maximum comfort and maximum dynamics. The selected profile then pre-configures the power of the electric motor, air conditioning control, maximum speed and battery regeneration strategy.

The Golf blue-e-motion offers the three profiles as "Normal," "Comfort+" and "Range+." In the "Comfort+" profile, the full 85 kW of power is available. In "Normal" mode, power is reduced to 65 kW and top speed is lowered to 115 km/h.

In "Range+" mode, the engine controller limits power to 50 kW; in this case, the car can reach a maximum speed of 105 km/h. At the same time, the air conditioning system is completely deactivated. The selected profile is shown in the multifunction display.

Neither estimated starting price nor initial markets for the electric Golf are being discussed at this time.

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