Volkswagen, long a global leader in diesel vehicles, will be embracing the electric vehicle as part of a larger, fuel-efficiency geared strategy. The Volkswagen e-Golf and e-Up! debuted in tandem this week at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show; While we won’t be seeing the e-Up! on these shores, we may see the e-Golf as part of the expanding Golf family, as early as the beginning of 2015, the same year the Volkswagen GTD could arrive. The electric version would debut in limited markets initially, before expanding further.
The Volkswagen e-Golf will be a veritable Nissan Leaf competitor, and will have a range of 118 miles. It won’t be especially quick, taking just over 10 seconds to hit 60 mph, with a top speed of 87 mph. But its 113 hp will come from a 24.2-kWh battery, larger than the e-Up!’s to account for the e-Golf’s larger size and weight. And while the e-Golf will play a role in the Volkswagen Group’s electrical future, it may be just one of many across the many brands within the group. Just at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi debuted the production Audi A3 e-Tron, and Audi Sport Quattro Coupe Concept; Porsche contributed with its hybrid supercar, the Porsche 918 Spyder. These motors and hybrid engines could be applied to brands not in the U.S., to potentially dozens of models in the coming years. But as we heard earlier this summer when we were testing the XL1 efficiency-supercar from then VW product chief Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, the group will take a multifaceted approach to the future of efficiency.
“We have to be ready to move with and be well positioned with whatever technology the market adopts,” Hackenberg said. As the VW Group already has an edge with its diesel vehicles, expanding its electrical vehicle capability would be the next logical step.