A Golf electrifying

Avto 21 August, 2017
  • Photo courtesy Volkswagen
    The Volkswagen e-Golf looks like any other Golf, but it has an electric motor. This is a new rival to the Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Bolt.

    Jacques Welcome

    Sunday, 20 August 2017 19:22

    Sunday, 20 August 2017 19:22

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    For a long time, the Volkswagen brand has been recognized for the excellence of its engines turbodiesel. A recognition that an administrative decision clumsy has undermined all of a sudden. Today, to improve its image, the German manufacturer is embarking on an ambitious program of electrification, which in Canada begins with the arrival of the e-Golf.

    This Volkswagen looks like some 20,000 other Golf sold in Canada this year so far, except for some details. This one has an electric motor and its name is different. It is called e-Golf. This is a new rival to the Nissan LEAF, the Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Soul electric, the Chevrolet Bolt and other electric automobiles modern that feed into this new niche market.

    In June and July, 123 canadian motorists have bought one — the first arrivals in the country. In a market where it sells about 80 000 cars per month, this hundred electric Golf represents dust. We need to be attentive to notice them, even in our province, where many of them have been successful. But this is only a beginning, at least if one relies on the announcement made by Volkswagen last April. At the salon Auto Shanghai, in China, it was learned that a first model using a new platform that is designed for a range of electric vehicles capable of traveling up to 600 km will make its debut in 2020. In addition, by 2025, the Volkswagen group promises to produce 1 000 000 electric vehicles per year. Naturally, when talking about the group, this means all of the trademarks that it comprises : Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley and Bugatti. That million vehicles will, therefore, not only the crest VW. On the other hand, this announcement signals a firm intention of the manufacturer to become a serious player in the burgeoning market of the electric car. The 123 new owners of the e-Golf canadians, therefore, are the pioneers of this business adventure.

    Photo courtesy Volkswagen

    The interior layout is typical of Golf : ergonomic, well-assembled and without embellishment.



    It should be noted, to begin with, that the e-Golf is more comparable to the current LEAF, or the new Ioniq, electric, rather than a Bolt, because of the autonomy they were promised, is 201 km very precisely. Anyway, when we talk about electric automobiles currently, it is the figure which determines everything : the price, the practical side, in short, the interest of the thing.

    Volkswagen uses a lithium-ion 35.8 kWh and when the charge is complete, depending on the driving style, the use of air conditioning, etc, this car could travel up to 200 kilometers or more, says the manufacturer. Because this figure is relative. Moreover, in Europe, it evokes rather a “range of autonomy” from 200 to 300 km, which is reflected in the 231 km of autonomy announced by the on-board computer of the car which we did the test, after a charging and a few days of driving. But already, in today’s québec, 200 km is well.

    The manufacturer has chosen to equip this car so to make it attractive for a motorist canadian — quebec in addition. It comes with an onboard charger 7.2 kW, which allows you to recharge it from a terminal on level 2 (208 to 240 v) ready to operate at 100 % of its capacity in less than 6 hours. This car also has a charging system combined ” CCS ” through which one can use the terminals to high-speed level 3 (200 to 450 v). This allows you to recharge its depleted battery to 80 % in less than an hour.

    Equipped so, the e-Golf would fit the needs of many motorists living in urban areas : these people who travel 50 to 100 km per day at most, to go back and forth to work. To make this car practical, it would be enough to have their own charging stations of level 2 at home, and a private parking space — ideally inside, at least to minimize the consumption of electricity is only used to warm up the battery so that it remains functional in the winter.

    For the cold season, the manufacturer has also provided a heat pump — yes, a heat pump. The heating system has been designed to help maximize the battery life in cold weather. The heat pump warms the inside of the vehicle, using the ambient air and the heat lost by the components of the engine, without taxing the power consumption or autonomy. Of course, we have not been able to test its effectiveness in this trial. The appointment is made for the month of February…

    Photo courtesy Volkswagen

    The interior layout is typical of Golf : ergonomic, well-assembled and without embellishment.



    A range of about 200 km does not make the e-Golf as an alternative to a Golf thermal engine. This Volkswagen will therefore play rather the role of the second family car. However, on the road, this 5-door behaves essentially as a Golf regular. The engine provide 214 lb-ft of torque at the driver when he presses on the accelerator. It is a thirty lb-ft more than that produced by the supercharged engine of 1.8 litre of Golf and ordinary ! Thus, the e-Golf can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 9,6 s, which is honourable, compared with the 7.5 s of the Golf and taking into account the urban-oriented of this car. In addition, its top speed of 150 km/h is far beyond what the authorities allow us to do on our highways, which are limited to 100.

    We regret only the fact that his rear end should not mask the defects of the surface of our roads, causing reactions sometimes unpleasant.

    With a management system driving up to three modes (normal, eco and eco+), the e-Golf also has a brake system ” regenerative “, which has four. So many choices to help the driver make the most of this car according to the conditions of the moment : they roll into the traffic of the rush hour or travelling between two appointments on a highway unobstructed. It is a way of driving that to get to grips with quickly.

    The e-Golf like it for its spacious interior and trunk convertible of which the useful volume is still important, since the battery is located under the floor of the cockpit. Like the other Golf, it is versatile and so attractive.

    However, I have difficulty to admit that an auto compact also costs expensive. To 36 000 $ (before options, because there are…), the e-Golf is about $ 12,000 more expensive than a Golf Comfortline to the gasoline engine comparable. Of course, this price seems less outrageous when one considers the generous discount of $ 8,000 granted by the government of the province in the name of citizens who, like you and me, pay their taxes each year. A discount that allows a handful of motorists who are electrifying their personal means of transportation, either to protect the planet, reduce their travel costs. It depends on your point of view…

    A story that goes far back

    Photo courtesy Volkswagen

    Volkswagen Elektro-Golf 1976


    It is by equipping it with batteries a few vans named Elektro-Transporter, in response to the first oil shocks in the early 70’s, Volkswagen began her research on the electrification of vehicles. Put to the test in 1972, they could travel 50 to 80 km. But their lead acid batteries were bulky and so heavy that it needed a lift to install some of them.

    Follow a few compact cars tested in very small series, starting with the Elektro-Golf. Presented in 1976, his self-reliance revolved around 50 km. Volkswagen will develop then, between 1981 and 1993, three generations of Golf and Jetta called CitySTROMer, the autonomy of some that can exceed 100 km. But their weight was still a disability : with its lead-acid batteries, the Golf CitySTROMer in 1981 weighed in at 1.5 t !

    The advent of new technologies (lithium-ion batteries, quick chargers, high voltage systems, brake energy recovery and management of the electricity consumption, etc) has allowed the production of electric automobiles are now desirable. After all, would you be willing to drive a CitySTROMer in 1981 lethargic, which took 13 seconds to reach 50 km/h.

    Volkswagen e-Golf

    Base price

    35 995 $

    Transport and preparation

    1645 $

    Discount from the Government of Quebec — buying : 8000 $ ; to rent : from 2000 $ to 8000 $.


    Permanent magnet synchronous motor, 134 hp (100 kW) and 214 lb.-ft. Lithium-ion battery, to 35.8 kWh. Front-wheel drive.


    Four-wheel independent Suspension. Disc brakes to all four wheels. Anti-lock braking system series. Tires : 205/55 R16.


    Wheelbase : 2629 mm ; length : 4270 mm ; width : 1799 mm ; height : 1452 mm. Weight : 1567 kg. Trunk Volume : 646-1492 L. Autonomy : 201 km (constructor) ; 237 km (trial).


    BMW i3, the Chevrolet Bolt, Ford Focus EV, Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Soul EV, Nissan Leaf


    • Good soundproofing of the cabin
    • Safety deposit box large
    • Spacious interior

    Weak Points

    • High price
    • Rear Suspension sensitive to bad coating
    • Occasional problems charging (common to all EV)