Volkswagen to Unveil First Electric 2015 Golf at LA Auto Show

Volkswagen plans to take the wraps off of its 2015 E-Golf Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) at next week's Los Angeles Auto Show. The first pure electric car to be introduced by the German automaker will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2014 at specified U.S. dealerships in selected states. Pricing has not been announced, but media reports suggest the E-Golf will be more competitive with other BEVs, including the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf.

The 2015 E-Golf is powered by a liquid-cooled Lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 24.2 kilowatt-hours and 12,000-rpm electric motor that produces 115 horsepower with a 7.2-kW onboard charger. Three driving and three regenerative braking modes are available in VW's new BEV that is based on the seventh-generation Golf platform.

VW's first BEV is part of a plan to become a leading EV maker by 2018, according to a company statement. VW has sold more than 30 million Golfs worldwide. This is the first 5-door model that will have zero tailpipe emissions, the company says. It will feature aluminum alloy wheels and LED headlights. A special colored strip across the radiator grille indicates that the E-Golf is part of VW's Think Blue sustainability campaign.

The interior and exterior are similar to the Golf that is conventionally-powered. However, the E-Golf has a new instrument layout with a power display. The E-Golf also comes with a touch-screen navigation system, connectivity, keyless access, push-button start, Bluetooth technology, leatherette seating, a rearview camera, and parking distance control.

The E-Golf, which will reach 0-60 mph in 10.4 seconds, has a top speed that is electronically limited to a maximum of 87 mph, according to VW. The average charge range for the new e-Golf is between 70 and 90 miles, according to the German automaker, which developed the motor and transmission in-house at a plant in Kassel, Germany.

To ensure optimal range in cold weather, VW has developed a heat pump that uses air and heat from the drive system components to provide heat in the cabin rather than relying on the high-voltage heater, which also helps reduce electrical consumption, especially in winter driving.

The E-Golf's battery is stored in a space-saving frame in the vehicle floor under the front and rear seats. The battery was developed in-house by VW at the company's facility in Braunschweig, Germany.

As for charging time, VW states that standard fast-charging capability allows an 80% battery charge in 30 minutes from a DC Fast Charging infrastructure. The onboard charger can recharge the battery in 4 to 5 hours, while a full recharge on a standard 110-volt outlet will take close to 20 hours.

Through the first 10 months of 2013, Golf compact car sales in the United States totaled 26,836 units, which is down from 35,322 unit sales in the same period of 2012, according to manufacturer-reported sales data. Last year, Europe's largest automaker sold nearly 41,000 Golfs in the U.S. market. The redesigned, non-EV 2015 Golf won't arrive until next year.

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