Volkswagen is adding two cars to the growing ranks of EVs over the next few years.
First will be the E-Up, in 2013 followed by an electric version of the seventh-generation Golf. We sampled some of the technology present on both these cars in the Golf Blue-E-Motion, based on the outgoing model.
To date, the only car on sale designed purely for an electric power source has been the Nissan Leaf. While this was clearly a worthy and ambitious project for Nissan to demonstrate that the technology in the Leaf was different from what had gone before, there would be greater economies of scale in utilising existing platforms for multiple powertrains.
Volkswagen believes the electric Golf could undercut the price of the Leaf, although the Leaf is also expected to become more affordable when UK production starts in 2013.
And there could be merit in making an electric vehicle look more like a normal vehicle.
One of the ways electic vehicles help conserve energy is to recapture it when the vehicle slows or under braking. Some have a particular setting where this is maximised.
The Golf Blue-E-Motion has a more sophisticated method of energy recapture, with three different levels selectable through steering column-mounted paddles that would activate manual gearshifts in a DSG-equipped Golf.
The brake lights in the Golf Blue-E-Motion also illuminate if any energy recapture level has been selected, warning road users that the car is slowing even though the brakes have not been applied.
While many fleets will still be reluctant to commit to electric cars, if the price is more affordable, packaging the technology in the seventh-generation Golf could persuade some to take the plunge.