By on April 11, 2015

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Exterior-001

Because I live in California, it seemed only fitting that my first taste of the new Golf arrived in electric form: the 2015 VW e-Golf. (Why e-Golf? Because “Golfe” just sounded silly.) The Golf isn’t just the first Volkswagen EV in the US, it’s also the first VW built on the new MQB platform which promises reduced weight and lower development costs. While MQB isn’t a dedicated EV platform like Nissan’s LEAF, it was designed to support electrification from the start rather than being converted like the Fiat 500e. While that may sound like a quibble, the difference is noticeable as the e-Golf feels like a regular VW that happens to be electric. The e-Golf also demonstrates just how rapidly EVs have evolved since the LEAF launched in 2010.

Exterior

Volkswagen has always been a company that prefers restrained elegance when it comes to design and the new Golf is no different. While some described the look as boring, I generally appreciate design evolution more than design revolution because the latter leads to products like the Aztek. The downside to VW’s design evolution is that the Golf doesn’t look all that different from the last Golf, but VW owners tell me that’s how they like it. Park it next to the last VW hatch and you will notice a difference. The 2015 model is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor with a longer hood and a shorter front overhang. The result is a more grown-up hatch than ever before that also schleps more stuff than ever before.

For EV duty, VW swaps in their first US-bound LED headlamps, and (according to a product announcement released when we had the e-Golf) will swap them back out if you opt for the new starting trim of the e-Golf which is coming soon. We also get a revised DRL strip of LEDs curving around the front bumper that gives the electric version a distinctive look in your rear-view mirror. Finishing off the transformation are blue accents here and there, EV specific wheels and unique badging. From a functional standpoint, the electrically heated windshield (ala Volvo and Land Rover) helps reduce energy consumption by heating the glass directly instead of heating the air and blowing it on the glass.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior.CR2

Interior

Changes to the new interior are as subtle as the exterior. It was only after sitting in a 2012 Golf that I realized that parts sharing appears to be somewhere near zero. Although the shapes are similar, everything has been tweaked to look more cohesive and more up-scale. The console flows better from the climate controls, infotainment screen and knick-knack storage all the way to the armrest. The dashboard design is smoother and more Audiesque and the door panels have improved fit and finish with slightly nicer plastics. Keeping in mind that the Golf competes with the Hyundai Elantra GT, Ford Focus, Mazda3, Chevy Sonic, and Fiat 500L, this is easily the best interior in this class.

When it comes to the e-Golf things get murky. Since most auto companies have just one EV model, the electric Golf competes with a more varied competitive set spanning from the Spark EV and 500e to the BMW i3 and Mercedes B-Class Electric. In this competitive set, the VW still shines with an interior that isn’t that far off the B-Class or the i3 in real terms. The only oddity here is that the e-Golf does not offer leather in any configuration. The new base model gets cloth seats which are comfortable and attractive but the top end trim we tested uses leatherette which is attractive but doesn’t breathe as well as leather or cloth. Breathability is a problem the Spark’s leatherette seats also suffer from and is especially important in an EV where you frequently limit AC usage to improve range. Kia’s Soul EV is a stand-out in this area by offering real leather and ventilated seats which consume less power than running the AC.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior-0031

Infotainment

The redesign of the Golf includes a refresh of VW’s infotainment lineup. Sadly however, this is the one area where revolution would have been preferable to evolution. The VW infotainment software, even in our up-level unit with nav, still lags behind the competition. The unit features expanded voice commands, finger gestures (like scrolling), snappier navigation software and a proximity sensor to clean up the interface when your digits aren’t near the screen. Most of the system’s graphics have been improved and the media interface is more attractive than before. Sadly however the system still lacks the ability to voice command your media library and the screen is notably smaller than the huge 8-inch screen in the Kia Soul.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior Gauges

Instead of giving EV models a funky disco-dash like most EVs, VW keeps the four-dial analog cluster  and monochromatic multi-information display with a few changes. Instead of a tachometer we get a sensible power meter showing how much oomph you are commanding. Instead of an engine temperature gauge VW drops in an “available power” gauge that tells you how much power you can draw from the battery pack. In cold weather, or when the battery is too hot or too cold the discharge rate will slow.

I appreciate the simplistic gauge cluster, it’s classier than disco-dash in the LEAF while displaying essentially the same information. On the downside, the rest of the e-Golf’s systems lack the EV-specific features we have come to expect in EVs and hybrids. The extent of the EV information in the infotainment system is a single screen that shows your range. Most of the competition provides insight into how much energy your vehicle’s systems are consuming, how much additional range you’d get by turning your AC off or how long your battery would take to charge on various power sources. In fact the only way you’d know how long the e-Golf would take to charge is by plugging it in and reading the display that flashes the time to charge briefly. For more information VW directs you to their smartphone app, but those looking for a more integrated solution should look elsewhere.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Motor-001

Drivetrain

Powering the e-Golf is a 115 HP synchronous AC motor capable of delivering 199 lb-ft of torque at low RPMs. That’s 55 fewer ponies, but the same amount of torque as the regular Golf’s 1.8L turbo engine. Logically the performance is lazy when compared to the turbo Golf thanks as much to the single-speed transmission as to the added weight of the e-Golf’s battery pack. 60MPH happens in a Prius-like 10.03 seconds, about 2-seconds slower than the TSI. Because the MQB platform was designed with EVs and hybrids in mind, the large 24.2 kWh (estimated 21.1 kWh usable) battery fits entirely under the vehicle with no intrusion in the passenger compartment and little overall compromise in terms of cargo capacity.

Early reports indicated that VW was going to liquid cool the battery pack like GM does in their EVs but the production e-Golf uses a passive battery cooling system instead. VW engineers tell us that the lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) cells from Panasonic lend themselves well to packs of this nature and it ultimately helps them reduce weight and complexity. Like most manufacturers VW will warrant the pack for 8 years and 100,000 miles against capacity drop larger than 30%. This means that your EPA range starts at 83 miles and would have to drop to around 53 miles in that window to get it repaired or replaced.

Charging is always a concern with EV shoppers so VW dropped in one of the faster chargers available (7.2kW) which can charge the battery in three hours if you have an appropriate 240V EVSE. Should you have access to one of the new SAE DC Fast Charge stations (also known as CCS), you can zip from 0-80% in under 30 minutes. On the downside, finding a CCS station proved a little tricky in the SF Bay Area where the older competing CHAdeMO standard is more common by at least 5:1. On the up-side if you can find a station it’s unlikely to be occupied since there are few vehicles on the road that support the new connector.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Interior Gauges-001Drive

According to VW, our e-Golf tips the scales at a svelte 3,391 lbs with 701 of that coming from the battery pack. For those that are counting, that’s only 300lbs heavier than the carbon fiber and aluminum BMW i3 REx which is significantly more expensive and actually has a smaller battery and 359lbs heavier than the Golf TSI. I should also mention that the Golf also scores better in crash tests than BMW’s light weight EV. In addition to being light for an EV, the weight is more evenly distributed than in the gasoline Golf. VW has not released exact details, but the pre-production Golf EV had a perfect 50:50 weight balance and that’s likely true for the 2015 e-Golf as well.

Although VW puts 205-width low rolling resistance tires on the e-Golf, it actually handles better than the base Golf TSI. Some of that is because the TSI gets 195s in base form, but the lower center of gravity and the improved weight balance play a large role as well. This means that unlike other EV conversions, the electric Golf isn’t the least fun trim, it actually ends up middle of the pack between the base Golf and top end TSI and TDI trims. The improved balance is obvious in neutral handling where the EV plows less than the base Golf. The added weight has a positive impact on the ride which seemed a hair more refined than the TSI a dealer lent for comparison. Steering is typical modern VW: moderately firm and accurate but lacking any real feedback.

2015 Volkswagen eGolf Charging Connector

Pricing on the e-Golf initially started and ended at $35,445 due to VW’s one-trim strategy. If you qualify for the highest tax incentives available (state and local) the price drops to an effective $25,445. That’s only a hair more than a comparable gasoline model (the e-Golf SEL Premium’s feature set slots between the TSI S and TSI SE model) but higher than many of the recent mass market EVs. To solve this VW announced the arrival of the “Limited Edition” which cuts $1,995 from the price tag by de-contenting. Cloth seats replace the leatherette (I actually think that’s an upgrade), the LED headlamps are dropped and steel wheels replace the 16-inch alloys. None of those changes are a deal-breaker for me, unfortunately however the last thing on the chopping block is the heat pump. Heat pumps are much more efficient than resistive heating elements so this will mean reduced range in colder climates.

The e-Golf is less of a compromise than the 4-seat Spark and a better deal than the 4-seat i3. Nissan’s LEAF provides a little more passenger and cargo room for less, but the trade-offs include lackluster handling, fewer features and a much slower charger. When cross-shopping Fiat’s 500e you realize just how large the Golf has grown over the years. As you’d expect in a segment that is evolving this rapidly, the toughest competition is found in the other new model: the 2015 Kia Soul EV. Priced from $33,700-35,700 (before incentives) the Soul is slightly more expensive than the VW but you get considerably more for your money. The delta is most pronounced in the Soul EV + which gets real leather, cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, power folding mirrors, an 8-inch touchscreen, and about 20% more battery capacity for $225. Highlighting Kia’s deft hand at cutting the right corners, you will notice that the Soul forgoes LED headlamps, the heated windscreen and has a slightly slower charger. As impressive as the e-Golf’s curb weight is, the Soul EV manages to be a hair lighter at 3,289lbs despite the bigger battery, this weight reduction and deeper gearing allow the Soul EV to scoot to 60 one second faster. This leaves me with a split decision, the e-Golf is the better car but the Soul is the better EV with a longer range, EV focused infotainment software and niceties like the cooled seats and heated steering wheel that extend range by reducing your HVAC consumption. If VW adds a third model sporting cooled seats, real leather and drops back in the gas-Golf’s power seats, they’d have a solid alternative to the Soul EV and even the Mercedes B-Class. Just be sure to check with your tax professional before depending on those EV credits and rebates.

Volkswagen provided the vehicle, insurance and a charged battery for this review.

Specifications as tested:

0-30: 3.44 Seconds

0-60: 10.03 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 17.2 Seconds @ 82 MPH

Average Economy: 4.3 Mi/kWh

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

59 Comments on “Review: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf (With Video)...”


  • avatar
    mcs

    >> fewer features and a much slower charger

    If you pay eGolf money for a Leaf, it includes a 6.6 kW charger. Hardly much slower. In fact, I’ve measured my charger at 7.2 kW, so they may be installing faster than 6.6 kW units, but I haven’t had a chance to really confirm it’s a 7.2 kW unit.

    Another point is that a heat pump will cool the car as well, so will give you more efficiency in the summer as well.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      did you measure on the incoming side? May be accounted for the losses. 7.2 kW in, 6.6 kW out.

      Depending on how good your tool was, it may or may not have taken power factor into account.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        I just checked my EVSE documentation and the number is output current from a second current sensor, separate from the input sensor. The designer says it’s “laboratory grade accuracy”, so it’s probably accurate. The car consistently beats the cars computer estimate of charging times by a wide margin at the 6.6 kW estimate. I’ve been assuming it’s Nissan hedging their bet, but I’m beginning to wonder. It could very well be that the 6.6 kW unit draws 7.2 kW from the EVSE, but the end result is 6.6. Then again, I’ve charged on some 50 amp circuits and have seen times that seem much faster than the times I should see from a 6.6 kW charger. The trouble is that I just been blowing it off and really haven’t done an accurate investigation.

        I just have to take the time and do some accurate measuring. What I need to do is run the CAN bus recorder and look at the data. I can log state of charge and the time. That data will tell me for sure. I do know that sometimes there are supplier issues and it’s possible they could have dropped in an upgraded unit if a supplier was short on 6.6 kW parts.

        • 0 avatar
          HerrKaLeun

          Did you actually measure voltage by tapping into each phase?
          The nominal kW also could be for 220V, but in reality you have 240 V and actual rating is higher.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> The nominal kW also could be for 220V, but in reality you have 240 V and actual rating is higher.

            I think you’ve got it! Yes, the math works out perfectly! Mystery solved. The rating must be for 220v and I am using 240v. Thanks!

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            I looked up the specs for the charging system from the Leaf manual. Maximum rated current for my car is 32A at AC240v. Max power consumption is 7.7kVA at AC240v. So, on a 32 amp 240v circuit I should see 7.7. According to some posts on the Leaf thread, the efficiency might be as high as 96.6. So, my Leaf may in fact be capable of 7.2kW or greater and that may explain some of the unexpectedly fast charge times I’ve seen.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    Good review. some questions/comments:

    “in the US, it’s also the first car built on the new MQB platform”
    I thought US GTI and Golf (and possibly Golf R) are MQB?

    Maybe i missed it, but was your actual range and charging time experience and feel for driving power? assume these days it is warm, but not hot. So range should have been as good as possible.

    I’m concerned about the 83 mile range for a pure EV. i assume next generation Leaf et al will be all over 100 miles. (and you have to account for winter/summer and old battery to realize you may only have half of the rated range in a hot summer after 3 years). Especially since the price is high.

    Overall this seems a nice car and most of VW problems are part of the ICE drivetrain, so this should be more reliable. I’m concerned about the passive cooling. the Leaf proved that hot climates (and possibly longevity) suffer. Unless Panasonic made batteries with much less resistance.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      The new Audi A3 is actually the first MQB product on American shores (starting in late March 2014) and the new VW GTI is the first Volkswagen branded MQB product, effective May 2014.

      I like what VW has done with the e-Golf, and it was smart to start selling it only in areas that it will have great appeal: dense, urban environments (Washington, DC; Miami, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc.). It’s currently not available to the broader US market, and for good reason.

      I think the more compelling product will be the upcoming A3 e-tron hybrid and Golf GTE, both of which pair the very frugal 1.4TFSI with the electric system giving around 600 miles per tank, or around 46mpg overall.

      Considering Audi is pressing forward with the evolution of its quattro drivetrain, ‘e-quattro’, where the rear wheels are driven by electric motors and the front drive by dinofuel, I really wonder where this will leave diesel in the powertrain mix, especially in the United States.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        the Golf “R” is not an MQB?

        I think for AWD such hybrid is almost a no-brainer. throw out the AWD and get in the rear E-motors at probably same weight/cost/space and have higher efficiency and possibly reliability.

        As for diesel, except in Europe where diesel fuel is taxed less, they are dead for cars due to the emission control equipment required.

        Funny how Audi is so behind. They had the Audi-duo in the 90’s as the first commercial plug-in hybrid. then they just gave up and now have to run after Toyota to pick up scraps. If they had continued with the duo… boy, they would have a huge advantage now. Same with GM, if they would have continued to develop after the EV1….

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          Yes, the R is MQB, it’s a Golf. I don’t know exactly what you mean about Audi being behind: the A3 e-tron went on sale before the e-Golf, but the launches are timed differently here in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      palincss

      You are absolutely correct. Golf, GTI, Golf R and Golf SportWagen are all built on the MQB platform.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    These are and always will be just city cars. Even if you wanted one around suburbia, getting this thing up and running into traffic before you get killed is crazy dangerous.
    At least it is affordable.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      0-60 in 10 seconds is crazy dangerous now?

      Serious question, what’s the average soccer mom’s 0-60 time merging into traffic?

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        My guess? 30 seconds…

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        I am with you on that. I can remember in the depths of the mid-late 70’s dark ages when Corvettes got to 60 in 8.5 seconds, and any car that got to 60 under ten seconds was rare and considered fast.
        I never have any trouble keeping up with traffic in Denver in my (gasp, 0-60 in eleven seconds ! :0 )Prius c and am never at or near full throttle. Seriously, who is routinely using 5 second to 60 acceleration rates on any public road save for freeway on ramps? The few who do are more likely the crazy dangerous ones.
        Like the rest of journalism these days, hyperbole rules over common sense in automotive journalism.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Oh, please.
        Let’s all not get overly uppity about the non need for speed from a stop.
        And this ain’t 1975 no more! Cars go fast today. You folks even mention how yesterday’s hot rods are slower than our slow cars today.
        OK…this IS my point.
        And we all do not live in urban areas where everybody goes slow.
        But I have a lot of real life need to move from a stop into 55 mph traffic. All day long.
        OK. Watch for the big opening and take it easy. I get it.
        But in reality…you have in many, many everyday real life cases openings that need to be matched. And to get up from a dead stop from a right hand turn into the traffic is a real thing.
        Even at 45 MPH speed limits nobody is doing that…everybody is blazing and you need to get in.
        So quit acting like this is all just crap and only an issue of mine.
        Maybe you are those knuckleheads that turn out in front of me, giving a damn about not getting up to traffic speed quickly, and then say its my now problem to move over…you are legally in front.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          The average 4-banger c-segment sedan in the US of A goes 0 to 60 somewhere between 8 to 9.5 if you’re flogging it like a bad monkey.

          That’s not a lot of difference to 10ish.

          Compact class CUVs with the 4-banger engines are also in the 8 to 10 second range. The 2.5L equipped Ford Escape is in right around 9 seconds. A CR-V is right around 9 seconds also.

          It is utterly ridiculous to think 10 seconds is “dangerous.”

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            So with a 0-60 time of 10 seconds this car is only a little faster than a Porsche 924, making it crazy dangerous.

            I guess there are people who just don’t have any perspective of what these numbers mean.

        • 0 avatar
          Vega

          Living in Germany and driving a 75hp car, I always have to laugh about Americans talking about cars going fast…

          I never had any problems merging onto the derestricted Autobahn with a 1999 1.6 Golf. But then I use the full range of my gas pedal as well as the full rev range of my engine in those situations. Judging from my first-hand experience, many US drivers are alien to both of these concepts.

        • 0 avatar
          Counterpoint

          This is all just crap and only an issue of yours. I’ve driven slower vehicles all over the place – cities, rural, freeways – and never had a problem. Stop making up fake issues.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            IF this were ONLY my issue…then why in hell is it listed as a main stat every damned time. Even here.
            So…why? Why is it there as one of the main stats in every review. Ever.
            Who gives a damned if nobody then gives a damn?
            Very strange thought patterns around here.

            Did I just insult or irritate the special Order of the Slow???? Is there some small internet or facebook page you all gather on? Is it based in Europe and really hates all things Large and American??

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          To say the e-Golf does 0-60 in 10 seconds doesn’t tell the entire story. It’s faster to 30 than a GTI. Maybe someone else has more detailed numbers than that, but it’s not an unreasonable guess that it’s got pretty average acceleration up to about 40-50mph, where it might start tapering off a bit. Still, enough to be perfectly normal for virtually all driving.

          But, like others, despite my 250cc bike and 1.5L car being theoretically outgunned (and rather close to what you deem dangerous) by most of what I share the road with, I’m never in anyone’s way. I only wish everyone drove with enough gusto to make me seem dangerous.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I used to commute from Nice to Antibes France on 80+ MPH A8 in a Citroen Visa which probably had a 0-60 time close to 20 seconds. Never had a problem.

      My Leaf isn’t a problem here in the US and I think it’s time is similar to the eGolf. If I want, I can leave traffic at a stop light in the dust. Not that those vehicles are slower than my Leaf, it’s just that people don’t push their cars that hard with some fearing they’ll damage it if they push it to the limit.

    • 0 avatar
      letanon

      My daily commute is about 100 miles round trip of which about 90 percent is on the highway. My daily driver? An AUTOMATIC transmission, 4 speed, Chevy Spark. The 0-60 is about 13 seconds. I don’t have any problems getting up to speed or passing other cars, and can keep 70, 80 miles per hour just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        13 seconds?
        Really?
        This is cool for you?
        Then just don’t cut into my lane and then take your sweet rear end time getting your put-put up to traffic.
        13 seconds…really.
        Nobody is talking about ONCE you get going at the highway commuting mentioned above.
        Hell…is this really that hard to understand?

        • 0 avatar
          AustinOski

          I’ll keep and eye on my rearview when I merge in front of you in my 1985 LandCruiser with 138 hp. 0-60? I guess it can go that fast. Probably takes 15-20 seconds.

          I live in downtown Austin (now nearly 2M people in the metro) and have no issues merging, though I may flog the poor dear from time to time.

          And, our LEAF is definitely not a problem in terms of acceleration.

          The only place in the US where you really, really need to get going fast to merge is LA where they drive 75MPH, bumper to bumper.

        • 0 avatar
          makstone

          What’s hard to understand (mainly because it’s ridiculous) is your contention that a 10 second 0-60 car makes driving “dangerous”. The truth is, it doesn’t. The difference between life and death on a highway entrance ramp isn’t determined by a 3 second acceleration differential; It’s determined by the ability (or inability) of drivers to operate their vehicles in a safe manner…period.
          I’ve driven fast cars with more than 500 h.p. to as little as 80 h.p., and I have treated on ramps the same way..waiting until it is safe to proceed. No close calls.
          Oh, and 0-60 times touted in car mags are for comparison purposes only. We all know that street racing is just plain stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I live in suburbia, we have LEAFs out the wazoo around here, they have no issues fitting in with traffic. The only odd thing about them is that there are some drivers who don’t want to put their lights on until it is almost completely dark. Really, now, the lights don’t use that much battery.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      This silly meme again.

      Oh if it can’t get to 60 in under 7 seconds it’s “dangerous.”

      It wasn’t that long ago that 10 seconds was quite normal. The average distracted driver sipping a latte accelerates lazily to about 50 MPH, then hits the brakes slowing down to merge at 40 MPH anyway, before spending the next 30 seconds getting up to 58 MPH.

      0 to 60 in 10 seconds isn’t dangerous unless you’re pulling out in front of people in a dangerous manner.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      My “lowly” Lancer Sportback Ralliart is quoted at some mid 8 sec 0-60. Funny thing about that “slow” number is that 9 times out of 10 when I pull away from a stoplight, I have zero problem keeping up with, if not solidly pulling away from, traffic. I can’t remember the last time I had to panic at an interstate merge due to some hotrod in a Corvette or Porsche attempting to overtake me. We sometimes get a wee bit overworked about 0-60 numbers. For bragging rights? I guess. For the occasional WOT sprint just for giggles? Sure. But for daily driving, it is almost an irrelevant metric.

  • avatar
    yticolev

    I was a bit taken aback by all the static shots of the car in the video with a charging cable attached. After all, that is something you never see in a dino fueled car review, side, front, and back views hooked up to a pump! Then I realized that that is what EV cars really look like every time they are parked. So esthetic demerits to EV with side charging ports, that is not a good look.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “Logically the performance is lazy when compared to the turbo Golf thanks as much to the single-speed transmission as to the added weight of the e-Golf’s battery pack.”

    Uhhh, no, no, no, no, and no. That makes absolutely no sense at all. The only reason you have a transmission in a conventional ICE is to give you access to torque at various road speeds; one of the biggest benefits of an electric is that you *don’t* need a transmission to achieve that!

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      According to Nissan and Honda (both have commented on this specifically), using a single speed transmission is possible, however performance and economy could be better with a multi-speed transmission. The issue is cost. Why bother if this works? Even motors have ideal torque ranges and remember than multi-speed transmissions aren’t just about keeping the engine/motor in a particular speed range its about fiddling with mechanical advantage.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      ZF and GKN in Europe have been developing multi-speed gearboxes for EVs over the last couple of years. The single speed is so 1907.

      The main problem has been feathering hundreds of amps and hence torque during the gearshift, which is why Tesla’s two speed box five years ago lacked durability. With a ICE you just cut fuel and shift, or push in a clutch pedal (!). Shifting an electric under full wick is about the same as powershifting. So a number of strategies have been examined.

      This is a reasonable short summary:

      http://www.bmwblog.com/2014/12/02/multi-speed-transmissions-coming-electric-vehicles/

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      EVs would be more efficient with a multi speed transmission. The reason they can get away with it is because a motor makes peak torque at 0 rpm and fall from there. It makes peak power at 1/2 of its free speed while peak efficiency is at around 1/3 of its free speed. So throw some gear selection in there and you can keep it operating at peak efficiency more of the time and you can use a smaller motor to since the gears allow you to multiply the torque to get it moving.

      Fact is that they use a single speed trans because it is cheap.

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    Was that Alex’s cat popping in at 4:07?

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Much as I love elegant First World engineering, hybrids and EV’s are a dead end, at least for the time being. They never addressed CO2 emissions and global warming, only Peak Oil. Fracking makes Peak Oil as dead as a dodo bird, and it can help a lot to abate CO2 emissions and global warming. It seems obvious to me where things are going.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      True on hybrids, but EVs in and of themselves cannot solve any problem but the direct use of oil. The source of the electricity is another matter altogether.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> EVs in and of themselves cannot solve any problem but the direct use of oil

        It can solve the problem of having a modern turbo 4 with CVT in your car. I personally think that the real reason most people buy electrics is because of the smoothness, quiet, and torque of the drivetrain – and just wait until we get 4 motor torque vectoring with mainstream EVs like in the Rimac.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      i kinda disagree with this

      my habits are that I rarely drive over 100 miles there and back in a day

      and even if i did need to do it occasionally i have access to another car and even if i didnt, the local car hire is within 10 miles range

      never having to visit a gas station would do me fine

      i’m not terribly concerned about the pollution aspects, just how it impacts my life

      on a 1st world issue, I wish VW and all the others would make the car look exactly like the petrol

      i’m not interested in the funny wheels and badging and blue/green trim

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      Hey Jim Bo 457 lbs of BS, not sure I follow any of your “logic” here.

      > hybrids and EV’s are a dead end, at least for the time being. They never addressed CO2 emissions and global warming, only Peak Oil.

      Huh? My neighbours across the border in TN who have TVA power and drive a Leaf would disagree with you in a big way. Clue: TVA juice is mostly hydro-generated electricity, from dams built back in the 1930s.

      > Fracking makes Peak Oil as dead as a dodo bird, and it can help a lot to abate CO2 emissions and global warming.

      Not sure what you are getting at, but for benefit of the doubt, assume you are thinking about natural gas powered vehicles. As far as CO2 emissions, the carbon is still burnt up and moved from the ground to the air. Yeah, it might be better than petroleum, but still unsustainable in the long run. Not to mention aquifer destruction.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Hybrids, and NOT plug-in hybrids are the way to go if anyone used any logic.

      You don’t have to use a battery, you can use other energy storage means. But what exactly is wrong storing up energy otherwise wasted in brakes coming to a stop, or energy wasted on a closed-throttle engine coasting down a steep hill?

      Nothing I can think of.

      The argument about living next to a hydroelectric dam “so EVs are good for me”, ignores the reality that the electric grid is connected together across whole regions, and energy is fed into it from all manner of sources. With AC power, electrons don’t travel down wires in a given direction like a DC battery circuit, they are just cajoled back and forth many times a second – push/pull. So it’s major BS to think that EVs should be rated on say, hydropower, when oil and coal generated power is fed into the same grid. Fuzzy-wuzzy thinking like so much stuff these days.

      This kind of basic misunderstanding makes me wonder whether the same amount of non-brainpower is behind the ridiculous hydrogen craze.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “The argument about living next to a hydroelectric dam “so EVs are good for me”.

        Due to the electrical resistance and conversion losses over distance, the closer you live to a particular source (i.e. hydro), the more will be in your “mix”, so it’s not a false claim.

        As a matter of fact, if you live in an area with net metering, you could be charging your EV from your neighbor’s solar array if you’re home during the day, and they’re not. The beauty of electricity.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Does it always have to be reduced to a political statement? Why can’t someone just by a car simply because it’s right for them?

        • 0 avatar
          palincss

          And that’s why there are gas, high performance, ultra high performance, diesel and plug-in electric Golfs, and gas and diesel Golf wagons. Pick the one that best suits your needs. Makes perfect sense.

      • 0 avatar

        On the same logic it’s incorrect to base the emissions of coal plants on the entire grid. Coal is becoming less and less and emission rules are being imposed on Powerplants making even oil fired ones rare most will be running Natural Gas Nuke or renewable in the next 25 years or so.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Wait, someone actually paid with their own money for a 500e?

  • avatar
    bd2

    One of the better EV reviews I have read – pretty comprehensive and makes references/comparisons to others on the market at salient points.

    Kudos ALD.

  • avatar
    GoVeg

    Why is this author so hopelessly ill-informed as to why VW and others avoid leather BIG time with their most environmentally friendly cars? Probably because the better informed people that buy or lease them have a clue and are trying to avoid animal products . . . . (I guess we’ll have to make an exception for Kia buyers though.)

    Here’s a tip: animal agriculture emits more GHG’s that ALL of transport combined.

    You can’t be an environmentalist and be wearing (or sitting on) leather and putting dead animal flesh on your fork.

    But, hey, it’s only been well known for about nine years. (I guess you were busy in 2006?)

    Here’s the UN report press release:

    Livestock a major threat to environment
    Remedies urgently needed
    29 November 2006, Rome – Which causes more greenhouse gas emissions, rearing cattle or driving cars?

    Surprise!

    According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.

    [truncated]
    http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/News/2006/1000448/index.html

  • avatar
    sproc

    I’m sure there’s a simple explanation, but why is there what appears to be a conventional lead-acid car battery under the hood if the vehicle is powered by a much larger 24.2 kWh battery pack?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      It powers the 12v accessories.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      The 12V battery is a “storage element” (that is trickle-charged from a “downverter” from the main pack) that essentially boots the computers and powers all of the car’s “normal” 12V accessories (most importantly, the electric power steering) independent of the traction battery’s condition. It’s also a cost savings, allowing “off the shelf” parts to be used for all the vehicle’s “normal” electrics.

      This would be a different case if cars had gone to 48V electrical systems (as had been rumored for some time), which would have allowed the use of smaller-gauge copper wire, smaller electric motors (producing the same power), etc. which would have saved some weight.

      But the transition would have been disruptive in many ways.

  • avatar
    Joss

    & charging stn access. High-density, vertical living ain’t condusive to EV’s

    Just another car in an already congested city. Back to bicycle, transit & walking.. Outer suburbia the range is limiting.

    ZIP stand then?

  • avatar
    mcs

    A quick note regarding the Leaf’s handling. Alex described the handling as lackluster, but different trim levels and model years of the Leaf have different handling characteristics.

    I have a 3,328 lb Leaf SL model equipped with 215/50 17s. While the handling isn’t as good as my PSS-9 equipped E36, it’s feels like an Elise next to our poster child of lackluster handling 2nd gen Prius. In fact, the road holding is anything but lackluster and closer to the E36 than the Prius. It’s actually an important feature in an EV since it gives you the ability to maintain speed, minimizing acceleration and deceleration which extends your range.

    I haven’t driven an eGolf yet and on my only drive of a entry level spec Leaf S featured a known speed trap that thwarted my attempt to push it to it’s limits, so I really can’t compare those to the SL. However, the 215/50’s and the low center of gravity definitely give you road-holding ability that I think is beyond what you’d get with the average mid-sizer.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “suffer from and is especially important in an EV where you frequently limit AC usage to improve range.”

    I refuse to deal with such problems in 2015. “Yeah I’ll drive to the meeting, but we can only use AC half the trip. You want it on the way there or on the way back?”

    Horrible!

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • randyinrocklin: I had a former employee that had one brand new in 86. Red/black. I have a ’04 Spyder and a 91....
  • randyinrocklin: Thank you for your informative post.
  • randyinrocklin: The best way to ever test drive a car you’re going to purchase is to rent one for a week.
  • Lie2me: I stopped watching, or caring about, Buick a long time ago
  • Scoutdude: In the First generation the GP was longer than the MC. The GP was on a 118″ wheelbase while the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber