Saturday, November 13, 2010

Volkswagen to offer Media Test Drives of All-Electric Golf Blue-e-motion at LA Auto Show

At next week's Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen will offer U.S. media representatives the chance to drive the all-electric Golf blue-e-motion. Based on the five-door version of the German hatch, the Golf blue-e-motion has a 115 hp (85 kW) electric motor, powered by a 26.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, and a driving range of up to 150 km (93 miles).

A production version is scheduled for launch in 2013.

The car's 30 battery modules (consisting of 180 lithium cells) are installed in the floor of the boot, under the rear seats and in the center tunnel of the underbody. This way much of the boot space was retained, as useable cargo capacity amounts to 275 liters. However, the weight of the battery pack is another story. It adds a whopping 315 kg (695 lbs) to the car's weight, seemingly crippling it.

Luckily, as with any electric motor, the Golf blue-e-motion has plenty of torque, more precisely 270 Nm (199 lb-ft), so it's capable of completing the 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in 11.8 seconds, while top speed is limited to 135 km/h (84 mph). Granted, that's not a new world record, but, still, it's enough for your everyday commuter's needs.

To extend the range as further as possible, engineers made the car more aerodynamic, reducing the drag coefficient to 0.295. Furthermore, the blue-e-motion can "sail". This occurs when the driver releases the gas pedal. At that moment the torque drops to zero, helping the car coast with the least possible drag, while recovering kinetically generated energy and storing it in the battery pack.

Three driving profiles are available in order to make the blue-e-motion more suited to specific needs. In "Comfort+" mode, full power is used, so the car can reach its top speed. When "Normal" is activated, output drops to 87 hp (65 kW), as does the top speed to 115 km/h (72 mph). In "Range+", the focus is on, well, maximum driving range, so power is limited to 67 hp (50 kW). In this mode, the car's top speed is further reduced (105 km/h or 65 mph) and the air conditioning system is also completely deactivated in order to save battery power.

Compared to a standard Golf, the blue-e-motion has a slightly tweaked exterior with a wider, double-bar grille, LED daytime running lights, black window trim and a roof spoiler.

Inside, it's business as usual, with the usual amenities seen such as eight-way adjustable seats, foldable rear bench and brushed metallic trim inserts.

By Csaba Daradics


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