The German government is aiming to have a million electric vehicles on its roads by 2020 – something that can be achieved if partly battery-powered units like hybrids are taken into account, according to Volkswagen Group chief executive Martin Winterkorn. He assured that the carmaker would make its contribution toward this goal.
Winterkorn said that plug-in hybrids – which could shift running power from between a battery power and a conventional engine -- "offer the biggest market potential," and should help with a rollout of electric mobility on a larger scale. VW Group’s CEO said the carmaker still plans to offer up to 40 electric or hybrid models in case the demand for low-emission vehicles soars.
The carmaker plans to build 14 vehicles with alternative drivetrains through 2014 after introducing electric versions of the Golf hatchback and Up minicar at the Frankfurt auto show in September. The carmaker also exhibited new plug-in hybrid versions of the Porsche Panamera coupe and the Audi A3 compact.
VW’s actions are similar to moves by other carmakers like Nissan and General Motors to promote purely electric and hybrid cars, allowing them to comply with the more stringent fleet-wide emission regulations around the world. Demand for such vehicles, however, remained low due to consumer concerns over their ranges and their high prices.
Purely or partly battery-powered vehicles only accounted for 4,157 new-car registrations in Germany in 2012, according to the VDA auto-industry association. On the other hand, carmakers sell around 3 million new vehicles in Germany annually. This month, VW commenced selling in Germany its e-Up unit for EUR26,900 ($37,000). The VW e-Up is targeted against up and coming BMW’s i3, according to Rudolf Krebs, the carmaker’s head of electric-powertrain technology.
There is no doubt that with at least 30 million units sold, the Volkswagen Golf is the most successful car there is in Europe. The brand disclosed that it will be releasing an electric version dubbed as the e-Golf. It will be fitted with the drive technology that is guaranteed to have zero emissions on the tailpipe. Already well-equipped, this four-door model has, among others, automatic climate control, leather steering wheel, parking heater/ventilation, heated windscreen, and the cutting-edge “Discover Pro” radio/navigation system.
Making the e-Golf even easier to be identified as a VW model are the “Astana” alloy wheels whose aerodynamics have been optimized. The new e-Golf will also have its headlights utilize LED, a first for Volkswagen and included as standard in all of the models. Unlike the xenon systems, the LED headlights are able to create more light but remain to be much more energy-efficient. Just as efficient are the daytime running lights that use LED as well. These lights even come in a C-shape, a well-known feature of many of Volkswagen’s electric vehicles.
The bottom strip that is placed across the radiator grille is yet another powerful feature in the e-Golf. Aside from being efficiency, the new e-Golf is agile as well. It has a number of qualities that are clearly the best in the segment like the power consumption and its low figure of 12.7 kW/100 km. Because of the highly advanced overall technological system, the brand was able to enhance the aerodynamics of the e-Golf with coefficient of drag (Cd) now measured at 0.281.
Combined with the perfected rolling resistance, energy efficiency, when compared against even the best steel-built coming from rivals, is better by 10%. Energy costs are estimated to be €3.28 for every 100 km. The e-Golf made its official premier during the 2013 International Motor Show held in Frankfurt.
The e-Golf will be launched in the Europe market by the spring of 2014 with the Asia market to follow in late 2014 and North America by the early part of 2015. Volkswagen revealed as well that aside from the e-Golf, the IAA will also be where the e-up! will be unveiled, another electric battery-powered model from the brand. With these, the brand will now be able to offer customers vehicles having all types of the drive system.