Published on August 26th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


A Tale of Two Golfs: 2015 VW e-Golf First Drive

August 26th, 2014 by  

Editor’s Note: CleanTechnica was invited to the first event in the US were journalists could test drive the new VW e-Golf. Chris DeMorro had the pleasure of attending the exclusive event for us and writing up this great review. Transportation and accommodation costs were covered by VW.

VW e-Golf review

“Is it on?” That’s the first question everyone seems to ask when they first step into an electric car. I’ve had the privilege of driving more than a few EVs so far, but many of my colleagues at the Volkswagen e-Golf launch and drive event hadn’t yet, and so “Is it on?” became the common call as people rushed to get their tester on the road.

My driving partner, thankfully, was a legitimate gearhead who knew his way around all sorts of cars, and he had dibs on the first leg of our drive in the e-Golf. So when I heard him ask “Is it on?” I was mystified…until he repeated the startup procedure twice, with the gauges lit up but the steering wheel still locked. The hell was going on here?

“You have to hold the start button down longer,” a nearby Volkswagen rep explained. My co-driver held the button, and this time the gauges lit up and jumped up without much noise or fanfare save for a single electronic chime. So it was that we stealthily exited the parking lot at the Salamander Resort, as the same scene played out behind us with the other drivers.

We were warned that Virginia’s cops are notorious sticklers for speeding, and a recent Jalopnik story shed light on just how heavy-handed Virginia law can be when it comes to excessive acceleration. Still, we both thought that it would be easy to keep the e-Golf below the posted speed limit, which ranged from 25 to 50 MPH.

Turns out we were both wrong.

VW e-Golf 1

Make no mistake, the Volkswagen e-Golf is no GTI (which we drove later), taking about 10 seconds to arrive at 60 MPH despite a healthy serving of 199 lb-ft of torque. And yet as soon as you step on the accelerator pedal, the e-Golf leaps forward with a kind of hungry eagerness to please. No, you won’t win any races unless the guy next to you is in a Toyota Prius, but the e-Golf will put you back in your seat for the first couple of seconds after you stomp it, and with little more than the whine of its little electric motor.

Priced at $35,475, the e-Golf also isn’t cheap, though it does come fully loaded in the only available top trim level with leather seats, a large infotainment screen, backup camera, premium sound system, so on and so forth. It’s got all the Golf goodies you’d want, minus the combustion engine and traditional transmission. Volkswagen also went to great lengths to ensure that cargo space wasn’t compromised when it installed the 24.2 kWh battery pack, and save for a few aerodynamic body enhancements and the lack of a tailpipe, it looks like any other VW Golf on the road.

That’s a good thing, because it seems some consumers aren’t interested in advertising that they’re driving electric cars. Rather, many people would prefer to quietly scoot along in cars that look like every other car, rather than a vehicle that screams “LOOK AT ME, I’M ELECTRIC!” When parked next to the rest of the Volkswagen test fleet (which comprised mostly Jettas and Passats), it looks like it belongs there.

Volkswagen is playing coy with an official rating range, quoting a range of between “70 and 90 miles” per charge, which is a huge spread for a car with such limited range. When we first got in the e-Golf for our test drive, the range meter (placed on the infotainment screen, oddly enough) showed a full charge and an estimated 68 miles of driving. 16 miles later we arrived at our destination, Great Country Farms, and the e-Golf still showed a driving range of 67 miles.

After a brief tour of the peach orchard, we were back on the road, this time with me at the wheel, and I began to play with the various features, including the driving modes and regenerative braking. The e-Golf offers “Normal”, “Eco”, and “Eco+” modes, with the two Eco modes offering less power but more driving range. I didn’t stay in either mode too long, though I did use the regenerative braking in place of the brake pedal, gaining approximately a mile of range while coasting to a stop off of an exit ramp. The regenerative braking is too aggressive for just regular driving though, and I felt much more comfortable with the regenerative braking off, coasting along to the sound of wind and SiriusXM radio.

VW e-Golf 2

I also learned that cranking the air conditioning full blast costs about 4 or 5 miles of driving range, and it takes a minute or two longer than usual to really start blowing the kind Arctic cold one expects from a new car. Or at least that’s how it felt, despite it being a relatively pleasant summer day in Virginia. The sound system certainly delivered the kind of boom and bass my generation expects though, and Volkswagen claims that a Level 3 DC charger can deliver an 80% charge in just 20 minutes. VW reps also said that thanks to a joint effort with Bosch, Volkswagen e-Golf buyers will have access to affordable home charging stations. Just how affordable, Volkswagen wasn’t ready to say just how much those charging stations would cost.

Another interesting caveat is that, like Nissan, Volkswagen has opted for an air-cooled battery, rather than a liquid-cooled battery. However, Volkswagen says that a unique “Battery Management Unit” can keep the e-Golf cool even under extreme temperatures, though how that pans out in the real world remains to be seen.

At the end of my all-too-brief time with the e-Golf, I was left with the impression that Volkswagen has made a sincere effort to produce a good and viable electric vehicle. On the other hand, it also seems like perhaps Volkswagen hasn’t paid close enough attention to the wants and needs of electric car buyers. Both Nissan and GM are following in Tesla’s footsteps and plan to offer multiple battery pack sizes, while the e-Golf is limited to just the 24.2 kWh battery. Also, the lack of a liquid-cooling system could come back to bite Volkswagen in the fender, and by only offering the e-Golf as a fully-loaded model, it will remain outside the price bracket of many would-be EV buyers, who are instead left to choose between the Nissan LEAF and…well, that’s it.

There are those who would argue that for these reasons, the Volkswagen e-Golf is more compliance car than serious EV contender, but Volkswagen insists it is anything but a placeholder.

So, where can you buy an e-Golf when it goes on sale this November? Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, Vermont, and of course California are the only states the e-Golf will go on sale now, though Volkswagen reps said they could expand to other states (or even nationwide) depending on customer reaction. It’s no breakthrough or gamechanger, but it’s certainly worth a look if you’re in the market for an electric car.

A big thanks to Volkswagen for paying for my flight, food, and hotel accommodations at the awesome and eco-friendly Salamander Resort. Also, whiskey chocolate pudding is amazing.

VW e-Golf 3

VW e-Golf 4

VW e-Golf 5

VW e-Golf 6

VW e-Golf review 7

VW e-Golf 8

VW e-Golf 9

VW e-Golf 10

VW e-Golf test drive

VW e-Golf test drive 2

VW e-Golf US USA

VW e-Golf

All images by Chris DeMorro / CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0 license)

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • CaptD

    I think of these first eGolf’s just like when the first VW Bugs came to the USA, soon they were much faster and had more range, some changes that the eGolf will easily adopt once they start producing them in greater numbers along with more advanced batteries…

    Yet another price point for eVehicles as another major manufacturer joins the eClub…

    The ☀ future is ours to see and it will set US free… CaptD

  • james

    Sadly the interior isn’t leather, it’s cheap leatherette (Plastic).

    • Kyle Field

      “it does come fully loaded in the only available top trim level with leather seats…”
      Hmm…It sounded like it was leather in the article.

  • JamesWimberley

    The plural of an electric Golf should be Golves.

    • James, I think this is the most playful comment I’ve seen from you. 😀 Especially funny because of how serious so many of your comments seem. 😀

    • CaptD

      Thankfully they will not be known as eDuffers

  • With an initial rollout in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, Vermont, and California, I wouldn’t call this a compliance car. That’s a pretty good start. It’s not at the level of Nissan or Tesla, but it’s way beyond California & Oregon. Hopefully it is actually 100% behind this vehicle and demand will be good enough that it will rapidly expand its market.

    • Jouni Valkonen

      As e-Golf was brought first into Norway, it means that it is a profitable car — unlike e.g. Fiat 500e or Toyota Rav4 EV. And therefore on longer term it will not be a supply limited compliance car but it aims for global markets.

      The problem still is the design that it is build into ICE Golf chassis and it is seriously overpriced and range compromised. $10 000 premium for ICE Golf is probably not a good selling point, but still it is good start as the global markets for that kind of car is perhaps 100 000 cars annually.

      • Agreed.

      • Offgridman

        I think that VW did a redesign of the Golf platform maintaining the basic form factor, but changing how it is assembled. This allows for some optimization for the EV version and let’s them maintain the seating and cargo space, unlike others adaption of ICE cars. This let’s them be assembled on the same line with just following a different track for installation of either type of drive train, and ramping up production of either model according to demand. Sorry for not having the link, but there was an excellent video on here or one of the associated sites this past winter showing the car and plant redesign where when you purchase a car you can follow its assembly through the plant and see every aspect of it.

        • I would love to see that. I am quite sure that Ford has the same system for its Energi models.

      • Offgridman

        If you want to see a good piece on how VW redesigned the Golf and the assembly plant kyle Field found and posted a link in the comments this morning

  • John

    Why the 12v lead acid battery? Why not use the primary battery with a dc/dc converter? The car isn’t powered by lead acid batteries because they are no longer the best energy solution so why continue to use them? Seems like a cheap shortcut.

    • Kyle Field

      industry standard? I agree though…these should (and will) go by the wayside…likely being replaced by a similar stand alone lithium ion battery.

  • Kyle Field

    After the 10k rebates in cali, the leaf starts at ~20k, the eGolf at ~24.5, the BMW i3 at ~31.5k…there are now options. I’m calling these 1st gen EVs…with most of those prior falling into a beta category as none were produced en masse with a possibility of scaling up for the masses. Personally, we are looking at an i3 in a few months.

    We actually have the BMW research facility nearby in Oxnard…and a port where many of them come in from overseas (port hueneme). Kinda fun seeing them lined up waiting to be shipped all across so cal. 🙂

    • jeffhre

      What 10K rebates in Cal? Your AQMD doesn’t actually cover the entire state!

      • Kyle Field

        $10k rebates in cali = $7500 federal tax credit and $2500 state rebate.

    • Agreed. We need variety in all respects, and I think the e-Golf fits a good little spot between the Leaf and the i3. Plus, many people have brand affinities and are prejudiced against Nissan. A VW may appeal to them. It’s a decent price, decent EV, and think it can find buyers.

      The Golf is $19,995. I could definitely see people (who are educated a bit about EVs) going for the e-Golf for $5,000 more. Especially in California, that should be made up quickly in the fuel savings. For me, that’s a cost-competitive EV and the biggest hurdle is simply bringing EV awareness to more consumers.

      For pure electrics, these are the options now (CA prices after tax rebates/credits):

      Spark EV: $17,500
      Leaf: $18,800
      e-Golf: $20,000
      BMW i3: $31,350
      Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric: $31,450
      Tesla Model S: $61,070+

      Then there are also the PHEV/EREV options (Volt, Energi modes, Prius Plug-in).

      The Leaf leads electric car sales in the US and worldwide. I think imitating it with the e-Golf wasn’t the worst idea in the world. We’ll see how things go, but another popular model at a competitive price point seems like a good thing in my book.

      • Jouni Valkonen

        indeed, it seems, that LEAF finally got its first direct global competitor with e-Golf. This should be ok. Also rumors say that e-Golf battery technology has room to increase energy density, because e-Golf does not utilize the full potential of battery. Therefore we can perhaps expect that VW will introduce higher ranged version of e-Golf or offer similar range pack as Mercedes with B class ED.

        • Good news. Would be good if more companies offered multiple-size battery packs, but think this is a decent start (better than many other companies).

          • Offgridman

            This is just a personal point of view on the different manufacturers from having had vehicles from all of them over the past fifty years. So if it comes down to a choice of the Leaf, Spark, or Golf my choice would be to go with VW even if a little more expensive because through the years it has seemed that they are more committed to quality during the initial build and have seen some of their products maintain usability for a very long time. I know that some others will say the same thing about Nissan or GM and have had positive experiences with them, so this is just a personal opinion.
            The cargo space is also a definite need and an additional check for the plus side.
            VW has been putting a lot of time and and money into battery design, management, and density (and not saying that others aren’t also) which has been reported on here and other places. So hopefully they will get the range far enough over the hundred mile mark in the next few years to make this usable for those of us that need the distance, as the fast charge is another good plus.
            As for the comments that this has been built on an ICE framework, didn’t VW go through with a redesign of the Golf to make it suitable for either type of power train with optimization for the electric usage? Seems that there was something on here or one of your associated sites with a video of the factory that would allow them to produce either type on the same line and increase production according to demand. It was the big factory that is in one of the German cities with all the internal windows that allow a customer to follow the whole assembly of their car.

          • Yeah, I’m sure a lot of people value the VW brand and would go with it over the others. Regarding the last paragraph & Q: I don’t recall that.

          • Offgridman

            It was quite an extensive piece on the introduction of the Golf EV with several YouTube videos on the plant refurbishment, Golf production, and their battery experimentation and development. Guess I found it at a different source.
            If I can’t find the original piece will at least get the links for the videos sent to you.

          • Kyle Field

            Found an extremely thorough article on the assembly/retrofit.

          • Offgridman

            Thank you, that is a great piece that explains all of the points that I was trying to make, and as the kids have kept me to busy to look around myself yet I appreciate your taking the time.
            I was unaware of the different economy settings for the AC before and now wonder if the comments in the review above about it being slow to get started were due to that.
            Also to John’s comment about the 12v battery, by the article you sent it does have DC/DC conversion, but perhaps that isn’t allowed in the US yet.
            Have yourself a great day.

          • Offgridman

            Before I got a chance to look around Kyle Field found an even better piece from green car congress explaining the comments on the Golf design and manufacturing. The link is in his comment below.

  • spec9

    I’m very happy to have a new EV hit the market . . . but it is disappointing the way the specs are nearly identical to the Leaf. WE NEED VARIETY! Please, no more 80 mile range EV econoboxes! We have enough of those.

    • GCO

      Agreed that it’s hard to be excited with a 2015 Golf which, save for the old-style dashboard, is an almost exact copy of the 2011 Leaf — even their quick-charging system is just about where CHAdeMO was 4~5 years ago, aka absolutely nowhere.
      Why VW would decide to hit the market with such a handicap is puzzling. But hey, no QC worked well enough so far for Toyota, Honda, Ford, Fiat and GM after all — all compliance (or “compliance+”) EVs.

      Now… 35k$ an econobox? I envy you.
      Enough of them? In Norway maybe, where else?

      If you were talking about number of available models/manufacturers, then the choice remains very limited in most of the US.

  • TedKidd

    With no other car on the horizon, NOTHING else electric until the next DECADE, how is this NOT a compliance car? “Maybe we’ll move it to other states?” Come ON!!

    It doesn’t matter what lip service BS corporate gives, if they don’t give sales a reason to learn how to sell electric, why will they?

    It’s not just learning ABOUT the vehicle, it’s learning how to SELL it. All risk, no reward. And if Corporate obviously isn’t behind electric, why the heck should the poor sales guy invest the time??

    I’ll lay dollars to donuts you’ll hear what I heard a salesman tell an elderly couple at the BMW dealership when I was sitting in an I3 – “You don’t want that car, it doesn’t have enough range”.

    DO NOT BUY THIS CAR WHEN IT COMES OUT! Wait 6 months, once cars start piling up and they realize they have to drop price to get the market moving, the price of this car will get more attractive.

    • anderlan

      Most OEMs are just part of the herd. Boring. No risk, no reward. “Look at us, our new EV is out. How does the specs on ours compare to all the others? It’s exactly the same. Same power, same range. Oh, but this one is made by Us and not everyone else, so it’s different.”

      • TedKidd

        Being a current VW driver, I’d hoped for more from them.

        Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. But their toe in the water approach to rollout doesn’t inspire confidence that hope will pan out.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Show some restraint. Avoid allcaps shouting at people.

      • Offgridman

        Just wondered if you had noticed in the article below Will Washington State Buck the Trend, there was a comment about the original solar battery from Bell Labs still producing power after sixty years. Unfortunately there was no link or reference for verification. And even though I spent some time this afternoon trying to track it down still wasn’t able to find any verification or reports on current performance. Just lots of history comments on it being the first for commercial use, and it being officially sixty years as of this past May.
        Just letting you know that I am still trying to find a direct reference after our discussion on it a couple of weeks ago. But even the TV science show that it was talked about on 10-12 years ago seems to have disappeared.
        Did find out that AT&T no longer has it, unless they kept it separate when they sold out their interest in Bell Labs years ago. Will be trying to contact the Smithsonian to see if they have any idea what happened to it as they got some of the other historical items when AT&T sold Bell.
        It would be a shame if someone hasn’t kept it up and running just in the interest of long term performance of panels.

        • Bob_Wallace

          There are apparently some monster batteries created for stuff like old telephones and diesel submarines. Thick, thick plates, I think.

          Thing is, they don’t make them any more and didn’t make many to start with. I’ve never pursued them much as I figure a person would spend thousands of dollar of “time” finding and figuring out how to rehab a set.

          I’m still waiting to be convinced that there is a better option right now than the Trojan RE series. We seem to be close to something better, may already have.

          • Offgridman

            Sorry for having caused confusion by using the old Bell Labs name for the original solar panels.
            That is what they called the first silicon panels used to power the rural telephone network back in ’54, and I had seen a reference on TV years ago that after being disconnected were still set up someplace testing long term performance. You had only been able to find the forty year old ones as the longest operating panels, and I am still trying to find a direct link for where the Bell Lab ones are at now.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Found this –

            1954 – On April 25, 1954, Bell Labs announces the invention of the first practical silicon solar cell.[3][4] Shortly afterwards, they are shown at the National Academy of Science Meeting. These cells have about 6% efficiency. The New York Times forecasts that solar cells will eventually lead to a source of “limitless energy of the sun.”

            1955 – Western Electric licences commercial solar cell technologies. Hoffman Electronics-Semiconductor Division creates a 2% efficient commercial solar cell for $25/cell or $1,785/Watt.

            1957 – AT&T assignors (Gerald L. Pearson, Daryl M. Chapin, and Calvin S. Fuller) receive patent US2780765, “Solar Energy Converting Apparatus.” They refer to it as the “solar battery.” Hoffman Electronics creates an 8% efficient solar cell.


            I’m loving that $1,785/watt. Prices have fallen just a bit since then.

            eta: That appears to be a 12.9% annual drop in price.

          • jeffhre

            “eta: That appears to be a 12.9% annual drop in price.” And another 15% last year – right on schedule!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Extending it down, in 2017 at an annual 12.9% drop the price would be $0.34/watt. Which is within a couple of pennies of what First Solar is projecting for their thin film.

            It’s gotta slow down at some point….

          • Jouni Valkonen

            No, it does not need to slow down at some point. It is better to say that at some point solar power is just too cheap to meter. 🙂

          • Offgridman

            I am right with you in loving what has happened to the prices and the way it has expanded adoption more so than the environmental factor. For whatever reason works to get people to switch to renewables so long as it happens.
            Like you I have found many references on the initial deployment of the Bell Labs panels. Just wish that I could find something on the ones that were connected to a load and being monitored since that time like what I saw on TV 10-15 years ago.

    • Kyle Field

      How about this…if the car suits your needs, buy it. EVs are a solution to a huge problem that we need real solutions for today.

      Salesmen are idiots…that won’t change. enjoy your donuts…I’m getting an i3. Some people are willing to go get educated outside the dealership, before deciding which car to buy.

      • Matt

        Salesmen work for a dealer, dealer makes money on ICE service. Which cars do you think they are pushing?

        • Kyle Field

          Educated Consumer doesnt want a gasmobile. i8 is sold out. Which car do you think they are buying?

      • TedKidd

        You have just defined yourself as early adopter. You are critically important but sometimes irrelevant.

        Unfortunately the real market is early majority, and they don’t go to such extremes of faith or research. If the bridge between you and them over the chasm of doubt doesn’t happen, products die.

        • Kyle Field

          I prefer Educated Consumer…but yes, in this case, I’m pulling for EV tech as quickly as the manufacturers can bring it.

          • TedKidd


            The categories of adopters are: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Sorry, educated consumer is not an option.

            You might enjoy this:

          • Kyle Field

            I’m obviously not talking about the phases of new product adoption (which don’t necessarily relate to how informed the customer is) but simply about how some consumers are educated prior to entering the dealership.

            I’ll throw you a bone though…Educated Consumer AND Early Adopter.

          • TedKidd

            “EVs are a solution to a huge problem that we need real solutions for today.”

            “I’m getting an i3. Some people are willing to go get educated outside the dealership, before deciding which car to buy.”

            Again, early adopter, possibly innovator. It’s in our best interest to drive perspective that makes early majority comfortable following. I think that needs to happen at the dealership, at sales.

            Most people look at the people at the dealership as experts and advisers. “What do I know about cars compared to them?”

            I think we are beyond the tipping point where EV’s future is assured, so the importance of getting the traditional sales channel to shift and support EV may not be critical.

            But it would be nice to accelerate change for economic and environmental, and probably a litany of other reasons.

        • Alxart

          I spent the last weekend driving every EV from The leaf to the Tesla , other than the Tesla, the best and most fun cars were the Chevy Spark and the Fiat 500e, but both are too small for me, so given that the E golf is a normal 4 door Golf and is reasonably priced once you include the 10,000 in tax breaks plus it’s control of the brake re gen it seems to be the clear choice for me, I have a 30 mile round trip commute 1/2 highway 1/2 hilly city. Plug ins at work and discounts on my energy bill, no gas or even service to pay for and it’s practical family space oh and it’s not BUTT ugly like a Leaf is… I’m sold. I3 has some nice tech, but it has the same range and looks like a pug. The Spark was a blast to drive, and the Fiat has the looks, but the VW is just light years above in quality and finish.

          • TedKidd

            Did you also drive the Mercedes and the KIA? Please share thoughts on 3 way comparison?

            I LOVE the Mercedes, but still have not driven the VW or KIA to see how they measure up.

            I have been in the new gti, that interior is quite nice.

    • Jouni Valkonen

      I think that your views are quite US centric. If it is a compliance car then it is available only in the selected states of US. If e-Golf will be available globally — like it will be over time — then it is not a compliance car.

      Naturally, any electric car will be first introduced on markets that are the most subsidized, because initially they are supply limited, because it takes some time to ramp up production and to sniff the total global demand of the product.

      • TedKidd

        VW has released an infographic indicating that beyond the UP and Golf there are NO other EV’s on their published horizon.

        Why invest a lot of time and energy in something with very small return? Understanding EV’s is like teaching a black lab how to fly. It’s a huge investment for salesperson with tiny tiny perceived reward. The question “Why would I make this effort to sell 3 cars a year?” has no good answer.

        When you step back and think about how cars are sold in the US, and look at how mainstream dealerships have NOT gotten behind EV’s, the problem partially is the manufacturers haven’t given dealers or salespeople much reason to learn about EV’s.

        VW’s lackluster 6-7 state launch doesn’t inspire confidence.

        Of all mainline companies with EV, I think Mercedes seems to be most committed. I see advertisements for the B everywhere, and the car is fantastic!!

      • Benjamin Nead

        Perhaps what is so galling to many of us over here, Jouni, is that VW has been talking the EV talk for so many years now – and so loudly – that some of us have been slowly growing tired of their bravado. As far back as 2009 they’ve been bragging that they’re on the verge of becoming a world leader in EVs and that everyone else will soon be eating their dust.

        Well . . . OK . . . ?

        What has ended up happening, though, was the rollout of a seemingly endless succession of very nice looking electric concept vehicles that would get shown at auto shows and always with the caveat that there is “no plans for production on this one.” The joke I ended coining was that VW really has made more EVs than Nissan has made Leafs (something like 100,000 now worldwide,) but that they were all one-off show cars and nobody would ever be able to buy them.

        Now, to their credit, they have entered the market but, as predicted, the North American rollout is going to ramp up very slowly. The chosen states are all ZEV compliant and the list is no surprise to anyone over here. Yes, better than California-only, but still very much a compliance car for the vast majority of this very large country. It would be if you looked at a map of the European Union and note a product that’s only available in Spain, Portugal, Slovakia and Moldova.

        All this said, I’m very glad to see the e-Golf available at all in North America. As recently as a year ago I honestly thought it would never get here and that the closest we would get on these shores was a PHEV version.

        I have fond memories of a 1964 Beetle (with a ’66 1300cc engine) that I owned, drove and worked on for a couple of years during my youth. VW really did rise from the ashes following WWII and had to fight for recognition in their early years. Their cars have only gotten better and I wish them the best of success with this one.

        Now, when I can walk into an Arizona VW dealership (only a few hundred miles from the California ones but feeling much further away than that, if you’re shopping for an EV) and buy one, VW will have arrived in a real way in my book. Until then, the Nissan Leaf is pretty much the only game in town (ie: similar size, somewhat similar price range and – most importantly and unlike the e-Golf – available everywhere.)

    • This is the most viable Nissan LEAF competitor yet if you ask me. The Fiat 500e is only sold in two states and in very limited numbers. The BMW i3 sits comfortably in another price bracket. There’s really only the Focus Electric, and Ford’s done a great job of not marketing the car one bit.

      Is it a compliance car? I think that depends on how hard Volkswagen works to sell and support the e-Golf. I can’t fault them for basically doing what every other major automaker is doing right now, and keep in mind that Audi (owned by VW) is doing a lot more exciting things with plug-in hybrids and electrics.

      That’s my two pennies.

      • TedKidd

        So look at this from the salespersons perspective. After hearing rumors of all EV/PHEV salespeople actively sell away from electric, then actually witnessing same from Nissan and BMW, I gave it a lot of thought.

        If I were a salesperson and my company came out with a one off, toe in the water car that is hard to sell and requires a lot of learning, would I want to bust my butt to sell it? Probably not if I had a family to feed.

        I think this is why Elon Musk says delivering EV through traditional channels won’t work. Corporate is not willing to seriously support the salespeople. Nissan seems to be succeeding despite itself, probably because HUGE federal and state incentives make the car so appealing it sells itself.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I think part of it is also that dealerships, as we know them, are likely last century.

          With the internet I do most of my serious shopping on line. I have incredible variety and lots of quality information. I can shop best price once I’ve setting on what I want to buy.

          Going forward, a small showroom/test drive facility to back up online sales makes sense to me. Repairs are becoming less common with new cars. Repairs on older cars can be done in generic shops.

          We’ve moved to ‘just in time’ inventory with much of what we use/buy. Why should we have thousands of acres of cars sitting around when someone could order on line and have their choice in their garage in a few days?

          Get the cost of salespeople, dealerships and large car lots out of the equation. They don’t add value.

          • TedKidd

            Unfortunately I think that’s fallacy of excluded middle. Your approach is the smallest minority, not the majority.

            I’d be interested in seeing the numbers. I suspect a large majority go to the dealership needing a new car, and get guided by sales to the one that “fits”.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That may be what generally happens. It’s not what needs to happen.

            I’m noticing new cars and trucks on display at Costco on a regular basis. One can purchase through their buying service.

            I suspect most people go to the dealership with a pretty good idea of what they want. Some get talked into a different car. I’m not sure being talked into something that costs more than what you wanted adds value.

          • TedKidd

            Hmmm. Buy your next car at Costco. Interesting.

            No, it’s not what needs to happen but if the dealerships make their distribution protected by law (some states) it is what will happen.

            Again, I would be very interested in studies showing breakdown of what people who buy cars had in mind when they walked in.

            I think a lot of people don’t even know about EV’s, and a salesforce of advocates would really help accelerate adoption. It could possibly be the single greatest mover, I don’t think that happens intrinsically. Manufacturers have to create extrinsic motive for the not insignificant effort.

            The flip side is a salesforce of laggards using FUD tactics will significantly delay adoption. I keep thinking about that retired couple who expressed interest in the i3 I was sitting in, and the sales guy hustled them to the 3 series saying “that car won’t go far enough for you”.

    • Davedough

      So the Model 3 at the same price point as this car and releasing in 2017 is not until next decade? The BMW i3? Same price range, out very soon. Kia Soul EV in 2015?

      Research before ranting.

      • TedKidd

        I’m talking about VW you numbskull.

        Sometimes its better to keep your mouth shut and be suspected a fool than open it and remove all doubt…

        • Bob_Wallace

          Ted, I think you need to read the site commenting rules.

          You’ve managed to break at least two in a single thread.

          • TedKidd

            Bob, you are welcome to pull my comments, but if you don’t also pull what they are responding to have you done your job?

            Do you want to appear arbitrarily condescending?

          • Bob_Wallace

            The best idea would be for you to just tone it down a bit. Simply quit calling others names. We’re trying to run a site as free of spam, disinformation, and bile as possible.

            A place for reasonable people to reason together.

            I make a very concerted effort to apply the rules equally to all, even those with whom I agree the most.

          • TedKidd

            So, remove Daves comment, and all of mine that follow. I’m totally fine with that. His feeble minded post totally twisted the meaning of my comment above it and added insult by telling me to “research before ranting”.

          • Bob_Wallace

            He didn’t call you a dickhead. Had he done so he would have violated site rules.


          • TedKidd

            Sure, but didn’t I simply match implications? I didn’t call anybody a dickhead, did I? And mine are response, not initiation.

            Hey, I’m still learning here. So if I’m not seeing something, show me.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, you called him a name – “you numbskull”.

            That is a violation of site rules. Can we move on now, please?

        • Kyle Field

          Dude, be nice.

          • TedKidd

            Hey Kyle, “Research before ranting” Dude. I should follow the advice of fools?

            I think my comment above might be good advice for you as well.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Last free pass.

          • Kyle Field

            That wasn’t me, bro

  • Alex

    I wonder what their leasing prices will be once this comes out.

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