From collector to auto mechanic, anyone interested in industry trends has watched with great interest as over the last few years, automakers have rolled out a range of electric cars. Ford has made perhaps the largest commitment to EVs, while Nissan has made the biggest splash with the Leaf – which has easily outsold its competition worldwide.
But while some carmakers are busy debuting a third or fourth electric option, one particular brand has refrained from releasing any EVs at all. At least until now. It appears that Volkswagen has been watching, evaluating, and strategizing from the sidelines the whole time – getting ready to unleash a fleet of cutting-edge EVs that are already taking Europe by storm, and will launch in the US this fall.
Lars Menge, general manager of product strategy for VW of America has said that VW will set the standard for electric car performance and quality in the US. In addition to this bold claim, the company has set its sights on total market leadership in EV by 2018.
Let’s see how things are shaping up so far with two of VW’s top contenders:
The VW e-Golf
Early reviews are full of praise for the e-Gulf, which uses the same platform and body as gas and diesel powered Golfs – and with only 60 pounds of additional weight. It’s speculated that VW’s debut will likely match the Leaf in efficiency, and actually outpace the top seller in both weight and power. VW says it will do a zero-to-60 mph run in about 10 seconds. And while the Nissan Leaf really stands out design-wise from the rest of the brand’s offerings, spectators would have a hard time differentiating the e-Golf from other members of the Golf family. Along with optimizing performance, EV has achieved a seamless transition to electric – perfect for first-time, perhaps more wary consumers.
The 2014 e-Up!
A Techradar review team had a chance to closely examine the e-Up! at a VW training facility in England. It’s actually an auto technician training program where professionals learn the ins and outs of servicing electric vehicles. So, Techradar had the advantage of examining a few models up on ramps, with a good view of the car’s underside. Much like the e-Golf, the reviewers were surprised at how much innovation VW has to offer the EV industry, particularly with regard to the e-Up’s five-stage user-selectable system of regeneration – starting with pure sailing and no regeneration at all through to maximum regen, which also includes the automatic activation of the brake lights.
The non-electric Up! is already the best-selling supermini in Germany, and recently the country adopted the e-Golf for its local police departments – customized by VW auto technicians, the police e-Golf was just unveiled at the General Police Equipment Exhibition & Conference in Leipzig.
What do you think – will latecomer VW rise to dominate the entire EV market?
Check out this video to see the e-Golf in action on a test drive around Berlin: