Volkswagen is hoping to get more buyers to plug into the all-electric version of its compact Golf line and is betting a longer-range version could give the 2017 VW e-Golf more momentum.
Making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the battery-electric vehicle gets a 50% bigger battery pack for 2017 that also let it travel nearly 50% further on each charge. That will make it one of the longest-range models on the market, though the e-Golf will get barely half the range of the new Chevrolet Bolt when it hits showrooms in the coming weeks.
The debut of the updated e-Golf serves as a signal that Volkswagen is committed to battery power. Phasing back on its once-popular diesels in the week of a global emissions test cheating scandal, VW now says it will have as many as 30 different pure battery-electric models in its line-up within a decade, including a production version of the little I.D. model that was unveiled at the recent Paris Motor Show.
The 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf now used a 35.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, replacing the 24.2 kWh pack in the outgoing e-Golf. That bumps EPA-rated range from 83 to 124 miles. To put that into perspective, that’s the same as the new Hyundai Ioniq also debuting in Los Angeles, and 107 miles for the upgraded Nissan Leaf. But the new Chevrolet Bolt has an EPA number of 238 miles per charge.
VW engineers have also read the market tea leaves and recognized that fun-to-drive factors appeal to green-minded buyers, just like more conventional Golf fans. They’ve upgraded the 2017 model’s output from 115 to 134 horsepower, torque jumping to 214 pound-feet.
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“The 2017 e-Golf runs zero to 60 mph more than a second faster than its predecessor,” said a VW statement, “now in just 9.6 seconds,” while top speed climbs to 93 mph.
On the higher-end trim levels, the new e-Golf will include a beefed-up 7.2 kW onboard charger. That will cut charging times using a 240-volt outlet to around six hours. And with a Level 3 440-volt DC charger, the e-Golf will get up to 80% of its range in less than an hour.
We got a first look at the broader Golf line-up update earlier this month, and we can expect to see a number of other changes to the battery version, in line with what we’ll see on more conventional gasoline and diesel models.
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There’s the new Discover Pro infotainment system that will include a big 9.2-inch video display.
Meanwhile, the e-Golf will also be getting the new Gesture Control system that is coming to the rest of the line-up.
“First debuted at CES 2015, (it) is planned to become reality in the next two years for the U.S. market,” the maker noted. “Gesture control works in a wide variety of menus. All it takes is a hand swipe gesture to move the horizontally arranged menu items to the left or right, allowing the user to navigate through the main menu, change radio stations, or skip to the next song.”
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Gesture control was first put on the road in the latest BMW 7-Series. VW will be the first automaker to move the technology into the mainstream.