e-Golf Mk VII

THE VOLKSWAGEN e-GOLF

Few cars have a history like that of the Volkswagen Golf, yet with global sales of over 30 million, in its seventh generation and having celebrated its 40th anniversary in March 2014, the Golf continues to offer buyers a car which sets benchmarks in comfort, practicality, safety and efficiency.  In this month it established a new ‘first’, becoming the first car to be available with five power sources: petrol, diesel or CNG engines (not UK), a pure electric engine (e-Golf) and plug-in hybrid (Golf GTE – due 2015).

This flexibility is possible thanks to the MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix on which the Golf is built.  This standardises many vehicle component parameters across brands and vehicle classes, and allows access to new powertrains and technologies.  As such the e-Golf is produced on the same factory line as the standard Golf, with no compromise in design or space.  In fact it offers the same virtues of practicality, refinement and advanced technology as its multi-award winning and former European and World Car of the Year cousin, but with a purely electric drivetrain and no tailpipe emissions.

At 4,255 mm, the new Golf is 56 mm longer than its predecessor, with a 59 mm longer wheelbase of 2,637 mm.  The front wheels are 43 mm further forward, helping to generate more interior space, while the Golf is also 13 mm wider, at 1,799 mm, and 28 mm lower, at 1,452 mm.  Despite offering more room for passengers and more advanced technological features than previous versions, new production techniques contribute to the Golf Mk VII being not only lighter than the car it replaces, but also safer due to a stronger body structure and a raft of standard and optional passive and active safety systems.

Like Volkswagen’s first pure electric car, the e-up! which was launched in the UK in January 2014, the e-Golf can be charged from a household three-pin socket using the cable provided.  With a standard UK 230-Volt, 2.3 kW supply, this recharges the battery in 13 hours.  An optional wallbox for home use provides 3.6 kW supply and can recharge a flat battery in eight hours.  Through use of the e-Golf’s standard combined charging system (CCS) and a DC supply, the battery can be fully recharged (at levels of up to 40 kW) to 80 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes.

An AC electric motor (85 kW / 115 PS, and 270 Nm) provides drive, linked to the front wheels via a single-speed gearbox.  The lithium-ion battery is integrated into the Golf’s floor and weighs 318 kg.  It consists of 264 cells, together rated at 323 Volts and 24.2 kWh. 

Acceleration from 0-62 mph takes 10.4 seconds.  By comparison the Golf BlueMotion, which is powered by a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine with 110 PS and 250 Nm, takes 10.5 seconds.  Top speed for the e-Golf is 87 mph.  Depending on driving style, charge level and ambient conditions, the e-Golf has a range of up to 118 miles. 

An optional heat pump helps deliver maximum range in winter.  This add-on module for the electric heating and air conditioning uses heat from both ambient air and the vehicle’s drive systems, significantly reducing electricity consumption.  It can increase the e-Golf’s range in cold weather by up to 20 per cent.

As well as a standard driving mode, the e-Golf has two economy profiles: ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’. 

‘Eco’ cuts peak power to 95 PS, reduces the output of the air conditioning system and modifies the accelerator response.  Top speed is cut to 71 mph and 0-62 mph takes 13.4 seconds. 
‘Eco+’ limits maximum power to 75 PS, torque to 175 Nm, and top speed to 56 mph, while the accelerator response is modified and the air conditioning disabled.  In either mode, full performance can be accessed by kicking down on the accelerator pedal, as in a vehicle with a conventional automatic gearbox.

The e-Golf’s range can also be influenced by regenerative braking.  There are five modes: D, D1, D2, D3 and B.  In D, the vehicle coasts without regenerative braking when the accelerator is lifted.  In each other mode, lifting off the accelerator pedal provides greater regenerative braking.  In D2, D3 and B, the brake lights are activated when the driver’s foot is lifted from the accelerator pedal, provided that a predetermined level of deceleration is achieved.

The e-Golf is the first production Volkswagen to feature full LED headlights.  These produce brighter light and use less electricity than xenon headlights.  Other bespoke exterior design elements include C-shaped LED daytime running lights in the front bumper, a signature blue strip running the width of the radiator grille and into the headlights, and a blue-edged Volkswagen roundel.  The interior includes blue stitching on the upholstery, and the option of blue ambient lighting.

In the UK, the e-Golf is available with five doors only, and in a single well-equipped trim level based on the standard Golf SE, with the addition of 2Zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, e-specific ‘Tilleves’ alloy wheels and Discover Pro satellite navigation, with an eight-inch colour touchscreen.  For the e-Golf the Discover Pro system includes added functionality including a range display, and the option to pre-programme the vehicle’s heating or cooling systems.  For smartphone users (Android or iOS), the Volkswagen ‘Car-Net’ app enables many vehicle functions to be controlled remotely, including charging, heating or cooling and more.  Three years’ subscription to Car Net is included as standard.

The e-Golf became available to order from one of 24 Volkswagen EV specialist Retailers across the UK in March 2014, with the first deliveries in July. 

SUMMARY

  • Opened for orders on 11 March 2014.  The e-Golf can be ordered from one of 24 Volkswagen EV specialist Retailers across the UK (see www.volkswagen.co.uk for details), with the first deliveries expected around the end of July
  • Based on the multi-award-winning Golf hatchback, the e-Golf offers the same virtues of practicality, refinement and advanced technology, but with a purely electric drivetrain and no tailpipe emissions
  • Like its smaller electric sibling, the e-up!, the e-Golf can be charged from a household three-pin socket using the cable provided.  With a standard UK 230-Volt, 2.3 kW supply, this recharges the battery in 13 hours.  An optional home wallbox provides 3.6 kW supply and can recharge a fully discharged battery in eight hours.  Through use of the e-Golf’s standard combined charging system (CCS) and a DC supply, the battery can be fully recharged (at levels of up to 40 kW) to 80 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes
  • An AC electric motor (85 kW / 115 PS, and 270 Nm) provides drive, linked to the front wheels via a single-speed gearbox.  The lithium-ion battery is integrated into the floor and weighs 318 kg.  It consists of 264 cells, together rated at 323 Volts and 24.2 kWh
  • Acceleration from 0 to 62 mph takes 10.4 seconds.  By comparison the Golf BlueMotion,
  • which is powered by a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine with 110 PS and 250 Nm, takes 10.5 seconds.  Top speed for the e-Golf is 87 mph.  Depending on driving style, charge level and ambient conditions, the e-Golf has a range of up to 118 miles
  • An optional heat pump helps deliver maximum range in winter.  This add-on module for the electric heating and air conditioning uses heat from both ambient air and the vehicle’s drive systems, significantly reducing electricity consumption.  It can increase the e-Golf’s range in cold weather by up to 20 per cent
  • As well as a standard driving mode, the e-Golf has two economy profiles: ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’. 
  • ‘Eco’ cuts peak power to 95 PS, reduces the output of the air conditioning system and modifies the accelerator response.  Top speed is cut to 71 mph and 0-62 mph takes 13.4 seconds
  • ‘Eco+’ limits maximum power to 75 PS, torque to 175 Nm, and top speed to 56 mph, while
  • the accelerator response is modified and the air conditioning disabled.  In either mode, full performance can be accessed through the accelerator pedal kick-down function, as in a vehicle with a conventional automatic gearbox
  • The e-Golf’s range can also be influenced by regenerative braking.  There are five modes:
  • D, D1, D2, D3 and B.  In D, the vehicle coasts without regenerative braking when the accelerator is lifted.  In each other mode, lifting off the accelerator pedal provides greater regenerative braking.  In D2, D3 and B, the brake lights are activated when the driver’s foot is lifted from the accelerator pedal, provided that a predetermined level of deceleration is achieved.  Additional regeneration is accessed during initial travel of the brake pedal
  • The e-Golf is the first production Volkswagen to feature full LED headlights which produce brighter light and use less electricity than xenon headlights
  • Other bespoke exterior design elements include C-shaped LED daytime running lights in the front bumper, a signature blue strip running the width of the radiator grille and into the headlights, and a blue-edged Volkswagen roundel.  The interior includes blue stitching on the upholstery, and the option of blue ambient lighting
  • In the UK, the e-Golf is available with five doors, and in a single well-equipped trim level based on the standard Golf SE, and therefore including driver profile selection; adaptive cruise control with Front Assist and city emergency braking; a driver alert system; PreCrash preventative occupant protection; automatic headlights and wipers; an auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror; DAB digital radio; Bluetooth telephone and audio connectivity; MDI multi-device interface with Lightning and 30-pin connectors; front and rear centre armrests and cupholders; and front and rear reading lightS.
  • To this the e-Golf adds as standard 2Zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors,16-inch e-specific ‘Tilleves’ alloy wheels and Discover Pro satellite navigation, with an eight-inch colour touchscreen
  • For the e-Golf the Discover Pro navigation system includes added functionality including a range display, and the option to pre-programme the vehicle’s heating or cooling systems.  For smartphone users (Android or iOS), the Volkswagen ‘Car-Net’ app enables many vehicle functions to be controlled remotely, including charging, heating or cooling and more.  Three years’ subscription to Car Net is included as standard
  • The e-Golf is just one part of Volkswagen’s alternative drivetrain offerings.  The Golf is also offered with turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, and a plug-in hybrid model called the GTE is due to go on sale in the UK at the end of summer 2014.  In Europe, the Golf is also offered as the TGI BlueMotion, which can run on compressed natural gas (this is not offered in the UK due to the current lack of a refuelling infrastructure)
  • Built in Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant in Germany
  • Opened for order in March 2014, with first customer deliveries in July

ENGINE

ENGINE AND ON THE ROAD

Performance

The e-Golf is powered by an 85 kW/115 PS electric motor which develops maximum torque of 270 Nm.  This high level of torque for a compact car coupled with the fact that it is available from standstill has a major influence on the driving experience, as the car ‘feels’ as though it is being powered by an engine with a large cubic capacity and much more power.  Its strong performance is reflected in the numbers: zero to 37 mph in 4.2 seconds, and zero to 62 mph in 10.4 seconds (versus 10.7 seconds for the Golf 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS DSG) and a top speed (limited) of 87 mph.  The motor is situated at the front of the car – in the ‘usual’ place for a Golf. 

The 12,000 rpm motor and new single-speed gearbox (designated EQ 270) with integrated differential and mechanical parking brake, also developed by Volkswagen, form a compact modular unit.  The motor/gearbox unit is made at the company’s components plant in Kassel, Germany.

Depending on the route profile, driving style and payload, the e-Golf’s driving range is between 80 and 118 miles, though this may be reduced in very low outdoor temperatures.  However, a newly developed heat pump ensures an effective range is maintained in winter.  Offered as an add-on module to the electric heating (high-voltage heater) and electric air conditioning compressor the heat pump recovers heat from the ambient air and the heat given off by the drive system components.  This significantly reduces the high-voltage heater’s electric power consumption.  When the heat pump is used, this increases the driving range of the e-Golf by over 30 per cent in cold weather compared to a conventional heating system.

On the road

Despite its unconventional drivetrain, the Golf feels very much like a Golf to drive.  The extra weight – 1,510 kg DIN unladen weight for the e-Golf compared with 1,354 for the 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS – serves to lower the car’s centre of gravity and hence enhance ride and handling characteristics further.  The lithium ion battery accounts for 318 kg of this weight, and is located between the front and rear axles in a reinforced frame in the vehicle floor (under the front and rear seats and near the middle tunnel).  The ability to incorporate both battery and electric motor was designed into the car from the outset – the Golf being based on Volkswagen’s flexible and innovative MQB platform – meaning it does not reduce space inside the car.  

To drive, the driver selects, as usual, ‘D’ or ‘R’ and, of course, ‘N’ (neutral) or ‘P’ (park).  Further components contained in the gearbox include, in addition to the differential, the motor shaft, which revolves at high speed (12,000 rpm), and a lightweight mechanical parking brake.

While so much is ‘normal’, one noticeable difference between driving the e-Golf and the standard car is the level of background noise as the e-motor works almost silently.  This presents a particular challenge for engineers because very different sources of noise become noticeable when there is no combustion engine.  In addition, the scarcely perceptible and yet very specific background noise of the drive system mixes with the sounds and vibrations of the electrically powered auxiliary components, and wind and rolling sounds are potentially much more noticeable in electric vehicles.

To counteract this, Volkswagen engineers adjusted the acoustic concept of the e-Golf to make it an almost silent cruiser.  This was done by switching the engine’s suspension to a pendulum mount with modified response characteristics, and altering the motor housing unit.  Furthermore, the highly sound-absorbent and yet very lightweight materials used in the interior produce such a high level of acoustic comfort that occupants in the e-Golf, which is itself a high quality car, feel as though they are riding in a vehicle from the luxury class. 

Wind noise – as well as energy consumption – was also reduced in the e-Golf thanks to the car’s aerodynamic honing.  This was done by developing very specific measures such as cutting the volume of cooling air (via a radiator shutter and partially closed-off radiator grille), new underbody panelling, rear body modifications with a rear spoiler and C-pillar air guides, as well as by developing new aerodynamic wheels (essentially closing off gaps, making the wheels flush with the car’s exterior).  As a result the standard Golf 1.6-litre TDI’s already very good air drag of 0.686 m² was cut by 10 per cent to 0.615 m² on the e-Golf.  Correspondingly, the cD value was lowered to 0.281.  At the same time, the Golf’s rolling resistance coefficient was reduced by 10 per cent from 7.2 per cent per 1,000 to 6.5 per cent thanks to optimised tyres (205/55 R16 91 Q) and this factor also improves the car’s range.

Locally the e-Golf! produces no emissions.  And with an average consumption of 12.7 kWh/100 km, the e-Golf is extremely energy efficient.  On the NEDC cycle, this thus produces a maximum range of up to 190 km (118 miles); the range may decrease in low ambient temperatures.

Lithium-ion battery

The seventh generation of the Golf – which is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) – was developed from the start to be compatible with an electric drive as well as more conventional powertrains.  As such Volkswagen was able to integrate the lithium-ion battery in a space-saving way in a reinforced frame in the vehicle floor (under the front and rear seats and near the middle tunnel).  Like the drive system, the battery is also an in-house development.

The e-Golf has a DIN unladen weight of 1,510 kg (or  1,585 kg vehicle unladen weight with 68 kg driver and 7 kg of luggage, determined per RL 92/21/EEC); the lithium-ion battery accounts for 318 kg of this amount and is located between the front and rear axles.  It consists of 264 individual cells, which are integrated in 27 modules (each with six or 12 cells).  The voltages of the cells add up to a nominal voltage of 323 V.  The total energy capacity of the battery is 24.2 kWh, of which a portion is reserved to prevent damage by excessively deep battery discharging, for example.  The front end of the battery is equipped with what is known as a Battery Management Controller (BMC) which performs safety, diagnostic and monitoring functions and also regulates the battery’s temperature in the Battery Junction Controller (interface to energy supply for the motor).

When it is not being used, or in the event of a crash, the battery is automatically switched to a de-energised state.

Power electronics

A central component of the drive system is the power electronics module, a link that controls the high-voltage energy flow between the e-motor and the lithium-ion battery (between 250 and 430 V depending on the battery voltage).  The power electronics convert the direct current (DC) stored in the battery to alternating current (AC).  The primary interfaces of the power electronics are its traction network connection to the battery, three-phase connection to the electric motor, connector from the DC/DC converter to the 12 V electrical system and a connection for the high-voltage power distributor.

It is important to make a distinction between the two fundamentally different modes in which the e-motor operates: motor mode (propulsion) and generator mode (regenerative braking).  In motor mode the power electronics use high-power transistors to convert the direct current (DC) stored in the battery into three-phase alternating current (AC).  In generator mode, meanwhile, the alternating current is rectified for charging the battery.  In this scenario the power electronics are like a kind of valve that lets the electrical current flow only towards the battery that is to be recharged.

As mentioned, the 2.5 kW DC/DC converter integrated into the power electronics is responsible for supplying the vehicle’s 12 V power circuit and thus works like a transformer.  The 12 V power circuit and the high-voltage circuit are completely separate from each other in the vehicle.  Also included in the power electronics are the controller for running the management software and a CAN interface for communication with control devices.

Finally, the power electronics module smooths the effect of any sudden loading from the drive system (for instance, at moments of sudden acceleration) by regulating the torque accordingly.

Charging

As in the smaller e-up!, there are various ways to charge the e-Golf’s battery.

Mains socket.  The conventional solution is to use the standard charging cable and plug it into a 230-Volt mains socket.  If they were fully discharged, the e-Golf batteries would then be charged with alternating current (AC) from the mains at a power level of 2.3 kW in a maximum of 13 hours (100 per cent state of charge of the battery). 

Wallbox.  With a home wallbox installed in a garage or car port – which charges the battery at a power level of 3.6 kW rather than the lower level of 2.3 kW via a mains socket – the battery would be 100 per cent recharged after eight hours from flat. 

Alternating current charging stations.  As via a wallbox, there are also public charging stations that ‘refuel’ batteries at a power level of 3.6 kW or more.  This is done using a standard cable for AC charging stations.

Combined Charging System (CCS) charging stations.  The e-Golf can use CCS (Combined Charging System) charging with direct current (DC).  In this way, the car is charged at up to 40 kW of power and the battery cab attain 80 per cent capacity in around just 30 minutes.  In the e-Golf, the start time for charging – either immediate or with a programmed time offset – is activated by pushing a button on the charging plug under the ‘fuel filler’ flap.

Driving profiles

Key to optimising energy usage in the e-Golf are the two ‘Eco’ driving profiles (‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’) and four different levels of regenerative braking (‘D1’, ‘D2’, ‘D3, and ‘B’).

The e-Golf is equipped as standard with three driving profiles: ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’.  The Volkswagen is automatically started in ‘Normal’ mode.  For drivers wanting to extend their range, the first option is the ‘Eco’ mode in which the electric motor’s maximum power is reduced from 115 PS to 95 PS, and drive-off torque is limited from 270 Nm to 220 Nm.  In parallel, the electronics reduce the output of the air conditioning system and modify the response curve of the accelerator pedal.  In this mode, the e-Golf can reach speeds of up to 71 mph (‘Normal’ mode 87 mph) and accelerate to 62 mph in 13.4 seconds (‘Normal’ 10.4 secs).  

In ‘Eco+’ mode, the electronics limit power output to 75 PS and drive-off torque to 175 Nm.  At the same time, the accelerator pedal response curve is made flatter, and the air conditioning is switched off.  The e-Golf now reaches a top speed of 56 mph and accelerates at a slower rate.  Nonetheless, drivers can still obtain full power, maximum torque and a top speed of 87 mph in ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’ modes by kicking down – useful if an overtaking manoeuvre is required.

Summary of driving modes

  NORMAL ECO ECO+
AIR CONDITIONING NORMAL   REDUCED VENTILATION ONLY
ACCELERATION (0-62mph) 10.4 13.4 20.9
MECH. PERFORMANCE 115 PS 95 PS 75 PS
SPEED, mph (Vmax) 87 MPH 71 MPH 56 MPH
MAX PULLING-AWAY TORQUE 270 Nm 220 Nm 175 Nm

Regenerative braking

In addition to setting a driving mode, the e-Golf’s range can also be influenced using the regenerative braking system.  Drivers can choose from five levels: ‘D’ (no regenerative braking), ‘D1’, D2’, ‘D3’ and ‘B’.  Having this number of levels leads the driver to adopt a new style of motoring, as regenerative braking can be implemented to slow the car down.  Used in an anticipatory way, regenerative braking thus replaces use of the brake pedal in many situations.  However, if the battery is fully charged, no energy regeneration takes place.  In this case, the braking power also reduces, which the driver can feel intuitively (though clearly this does not affect the ‘normal’ vehicle brakes).  It works like this:

? D. The e-Golf starts by default in the ‘D’ setting – in this setting there is deceleration kinetically induced through rolling resistance as soon as the driver’s foot is taken off the accelerator (‘coasting’), but no recovery of brake energy takes place.  Whenever the driver takes his foot off the pedal, though, or when the car is going downhill it uses the car’s natural kinetic energy and that reduces consumption.  When the e-Golf is slowed down fairly sharply via the hydraulic brake system it does, however, recover brake energy even in the ‘D’ setting.  It is worth noting that if the battery is fully charged, no braking energy is regenerated.

? D1, D2, D3.  If the traffic becomes more congested (especially therefore in urban areas) or the road becomes more winding, other regenerative braking settings are available to the driver.  The regenerative braking and thus the braking intensity increases across the four levels: D1, D2, D3 and B.  When regenerative braking is used the brake lights therefore automatically come on (provided a set level of retardation is achieved).  For regenerative braking the electric motor changes into generator mode in order to be able to supply the recovered electrical power to the battery.  In gear lever setting ‘D’ the driver simply taps the gear knob to the left to switch to ‘D1’ (1x), ‘D2’ (2x) or ‘D3’ (3x).  Tapping the knob to the right moves down the D levels.  If the gear lever is pushed to the right and briefly held there, the electronics switch in one jump back to ‘D’.

? B. In order to utilise maximum deceleration (40 kW at 100 km/h) in the ‘B’ or ‘Brake’ setting the gear lever needs to be clicked backwards towards the handbrake (similar to selecting ‘S’ in a conventional Volkswagen DSG gearbox).  If the driver’s foot is now taken off the accelerator pedal, he or she will feel the car slowing down as if the brake had been applied.  In urban traffic with sufficient room ahead the car can be slowed to a standstill in this way.  Practice shows drivers get used to the regenerative braking function very quickly and use it, above all in the ‘B’ setting, as a substitute for slowing down by applying the brake.

Running gear

At the front the e-Golf – like the standard car – uses a strut-type suspension system (spring struts) with lower wishbones that were newly developed for optimal handling and steering properties in the seventh generation model.  All components were reworked for improved functionality as well as reduced weight and costs.  The result, despite not using aluminium components, was a weight saving of 1.6 kg, made possible, for example, by the use of high-strength steel in the transverse links and an innovative ‘bionic’ (ie designed based on features from the natural world) design approach to the pivot bearings.  A centrally positioned front subframe − designed for maximum rigidity − handles loads from the engine mountings and steering as well as front suspension loads.

The now universally employed tubular anti-roll bar has a stiffness that has been adapted to the requirements of different running gear layouts.  Its rubber bearings are vulcanised directly into the painted anti-roll tube to ensure the best acoustic properties. 

At the back, the e-Golf features the multi-link rear suspension of the Golf which was further developed for the seventh generation to give clear improvements in kinematics, acoustics, weight and modularity.  However, nothing has changed with regard to its fundamental approach of consistently separating longitudinal and transverse rigidities.  The low longitudinal rigidity has been preserved by the soft axle control of the trailing link; this was a necessary precondition for further improving ride comfort.

Electro-mechanical power steering

The Golf uses the latest generation electro-mechanical power steering system which is able to vary the feel at the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.

Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, such as crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy.

Electromechanical brake servo

Electric cars are essentially equipped with two independent braking systems: a mechanical, hydraulically operated brake system is there to slow the car down as in conventional vehicles; and the e-motor which when recovering energy acts as a motor brake.  These two types of braking now blend together in the e-Golf thanks to the electromechanical brake servo.

Regardless of regeneration mode (see separate section for details) when operating as a generator the electric motor produces a degree of braking torque on the wheels – dependent on its speed and the battery’s temperature and charge level.  The variable parameters – motor speed and battery status – lead to fluctuating levels of electric braking.  These fluctuations need to be adjusted and the degree of deceleration matched to the braking requirements of the driver.  The management of the brake system required for this is called brake blending and is achieved via the new electromechanical brake servo.  Volkswagen has succeeded here in its primary aim of making maximum utilisation of the e-motor’s potential to slow down the e-Golf in order to increase its range.

What’s more, as the majority of braking processes involve only minor or moderate deceleration and are therefore executed without any wear via the e-motor, the electric system helps to keep the ‘normal’ brakes in top condition for longer.

Braking system

The Golf features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESC (Electronic Stability Control) as standard across the range.  Ventilated discs are fitted at the front, with solid discs at the rear.

Electronic Stability Control – ESC incorporating XDS

The latest-generation ESC system developed for the new Golf has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety.  All models are also fitted with XDS electronic differential lock for improved traction and handling.

Essentially, ESC is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESC reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one has started.  This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESC can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

The seventh-generation Golf also gains XDS electronic differential lock for improved traction and handling.  Technically speaking, XDS is a functional extension of the electronic limited-slip differential (EDL) which is a part of the standard ESC system.

Its benefits are experienced when driving quickly through a bend.  ESC sensors provide information on lateral G forces, while ABS sensors monitor levels of friction.  Using this information a control unit can predict when an inside wheel is about to lift and apply a braking force automatically to increase traction on the opposite front wheel.  XDS differs from EDL however as it brakes the inner wheel before it loses traction rather than afterwards.  The result is smoother, more sure-footed and safer progress with better traction through fast corners when on the limit of adhesion. 

Hydraulic Brake Assist

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, the latest form of HBA recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, HBA automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

Automatic Post-Collision Braking System

An innovative new feature is the Golf’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which has already won a safety innovation award from Germany’s largest automobile club (ADAC).  Studies have found that around a quarter of all traffic accidents involving personal injury are multiple collision incidents, in other words, when there is a second impact after the initial collision.

The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System automatically brakes the vehicle when it is involved in an accident in order significantly to reduce its residual kinetic energy and hence prevent or minimise the severity of a subsequent collision. 

Triggering of the system is based on detection of a primary collision by the airbag sensors.  Vehicle braking is limited by the ESC control unit to a maximum deceleration rate of 0.6 g.  This value matches the deceleration level of Front Assist and ensures that the driver can take over handling of the car even in case of automatic braking.

The driver can ‘override’ the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System at any time; for example, if the system recognises that the driver is accelerating, it is disabled.  The system is also deactivated if the driver initiates hard braking at an even higher rate of deceleration.  Essentially, the system applies the brakes until a vehicle speed of 10 km/h is reached, so this residual vehicle speed can be used to steer to a safe location after the braking process.

PreCrash preventive occupant protection

The Golf’s preventive occupant protection system is just one example of a technology that has been transferred from the premium to the compact class, having been implemented first in the Touareg. 

If the system detects a potential accident situation – such as by the initiation of hard braking via an activated brake assistant – the seatbelts of the driver and front passenger are automatically pre-tensioned to ensure the best possible protection by the airbag and belt system.  When a critical and ‘unstable’ driving situation is detected, for example through severe oversteer or understeer with ESC intervention, the side windows are closed (except for a small gap) and so is the sunroof.  This is because the head and side airbags offer optimal support and thereby achieve their best possible effectiveness when the windows and sunroof are almost fully closed.

Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist

Like the PreCrash system, Adaptive Cruise Control (previously known as ADC Automatic Distance Control, now renamed ACC) has until now been the preserve of cars in higher segments.  Now standard from SE upwards in the Golf, the system uses a radar sensor integrated into the front of the car to detect distance from the car in front, maintain a preselected speed and automatically brake or accelerate in traffic.  ACC operates over a speed range from 30 to 160 km/h (approx. 18 to 99 mph) with a manual gearbox. 

Front Assist

Front Assist works like ACC with the radar sensor integrated into the front of the car, which continually monitors the distance to the traffic ahead.  Even with ACC switched off, Front Assist helps assists the driver in critical situations by preconditioning the brake system and alerting the driver to any required reactions by means of visual and audible warnings.  If the driver fails to brake hard enough, the system automatically generates sufficient braking force to help avoid a collision.  Should the driver, meanwhile, not react at all, Front Assist automatically slows the car so that under optimal conditions the speed of any impact is minimised.  The system also assists the driver by an alert if the car is getting too close to the vehicle in front.  The City Emergency Braking function is also part of Front Assist.

City Emergency Braking

The City Emergency Braking function, first seen on the up! model and now standard on Golf from SE upwards and on e-Golf is a system extension of Front Assist and scans the area in front of the car via radar sensor.  It operates at speeds below 30 km/h (approx. 18 mph).  If the car is in danger of colliding with a vehicle driving or parked up ahead and the driver does not react, the brake system is preconditioned in the same way as with Front Assist.  If the driver fails to intervene, City Emergency Braking then automatically initiates hard braking to reduce the severity of the impact.  In addition, if the driver is initiating braking, but fails to press the brake pedal sufficiently, the system will assist with maximum braking power.

Driver Alert system

It is estimated that a quarter of motorway accidents are caused by driver tiredness.  For this reason Volkswagen has introduced an innovative fatigue detection system, which is particularly valuable for company car drivers who may cover long distances without a scheduled break.  

The Golf’s Driver Alert system does not work in the same way as those from other manufacturers which monitor eye movements.  Instead, for the first 15 minutes of a journey the system analyses the driver’s characteristic steering and driving behaviour.  Further into the journey the system continually evaluates signals such as steering angle, use of pedals and transverse acceleration.  If the monitored parameters indicate a deviation from the initial behaviour recorded at the beginning of the trip, then waning concentration is assumed and warnings issued.

The system warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds, while a visual message also appears in the instrument cluster recommending a break.  If the driver does not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated.  

This assistance system cannot detect so-called ‘microsleep’ but instead focuses on detecting early phases of lapses in concentration.  This means it is much less costly than an eye movement monitoring based system – and also still functions when the driver is wearing sunglasses or driving in the dark.

Electronic parking brake with auto hold function

All new Golf models including the e-Golf have an electronic parking brake which is operated via a switch between the front seats, as opposed to the ‘pull up’ handle from the previous generation.  This also incorporates a standard auto-hold function.  This is activated via a button near the gear lever and is useful when the car is regularly stopping for short periods, for example when driving in heavy traffic.  In this case, the parking brake is applied automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest on the footbrake, preventing it from rolling forwards or backwards.  The brake is then released as soon as the accelerator is pressed.  As it operates on all four wheels, the electronic parking brake can also function as an emergency brake.

Insurance

Thanks to its extensive security and safety features, the e-Golf has been rated in insurance group 15E by the ABI (Association of British Insurers).

OWNERSHIP

Servicing

The e-Golf follows Volkswagen’s Fixed service regime.  The first service is required after two years or 20,000 miles and thereafter every year or 20,000 miles.

Financing

In addition to standard funding methods, Volkswagen Finance offers customers purchasing an e-Golf a very cost-effective new kind of personal contract purchase plan called e-Solutions. 

The car itself is priced at £25,845 (including the government’s £5,000 electric vehicle grant, or £30,845 RRP on the road).  With the maximum deposit, on a 36-month, 10,000-mile a year plan, monthly payments can be just £229, with a representative APR of 7.1 per cent (see below for worked example).  [Please note this is valid until 30 September 2014 and correct at time of going to press.]

e-Solutions representative example based on 10,000 miles p.a.^ for a e-Golf 5 door

Duration           3 years
35 monthly payments of           £229.00
Deposit contribution1       £5,000.00
Customer deposit   £10,388.10
Retail cash price          £30,845.00
Acceptance fee2    £125.00
Optional final payment     £10,020.29
Option to purchase fee3      £60.00
Total amount payable   £33,483.39
Total amount of credit   £15,456.90
Representative APR     7.1% APR
Rate of interest     6.6% fixed

1Deposit contribution shown in the table above is a £5,000 grant from the government for a plug-in car. Available when purchased on e-Solutions personal contract plan. Further charges may be payable if the vehicle is returned. Retail Sales only.

2Payable as first payment.

3Payable with optional final payment.

^4.4p per mile excess mileage charges apply.

Available to over 18s. Offer available for vehicles ordered by 30 September 2014 from participating Retailers. Subject to availability. Indemnities may be required. Terms and conditions apply. Offers are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Volkswagen Finance, Freepost VWFS.

Unlike more conventional finance packages, however, the e-Solutions plan has a unique opt-out clause.  Should a customer discover that his or her lifestyle doesn’t suit an electric vehicle, then after having made 12 monthly payments, they will have the option simply to pull the plug.  This can only be done once and early return is subject to certain vehicle condition and mileage conditions.  Full details are available on www.volkswagen.co.uk

EQUIPMENT AND TRIM

The specification of the e-Golf is based on that of the standard Golf SE, and as such it is already well-equipped, yet it adds a number of unique styling, technology and e-mobility features.  Equipment highlights are shown below; for full details please see the price list.  Features unique to the e-Golf over the SE are shown in blue and marked with an asterisk.

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist)
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control) including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock), ASR (Traction Control) and XDS electronic differential lock
  • Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
  • Driver Alert system
  • PreCrash preventive occupant protection
  • ACC Adaptive Cruise Control  including Front Assist, radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system, City Emergency Braking system and cruise control
  • driver profile selection – Normal, ECO and ECO+
  • driver’s and front passenger’s airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • curtain airbag system, for front and rear passengers
  • front seat side impact airbags and driver's knee airbag
  • driver's and front passenger's whiplash-optimised head restraints
  • three rear three-point seatbelts and head restraints
  • warning buzzer and light for front seatbelts if unfastened
  • Isofix child seat preparation ( for two rear child seats)
  • electronic engine immobiliser and alarm with interior protection; remote central locking
  • ‘e-Golf’ styling pack: uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers, side sills and rear roof spoiler, LED headlights with blue stripe, LED darkened rear light clusters, unique ‘e-Golf’ badging, radiator grille with blue stripe and front ‘C’-shaped LED daytime running lights
  • body-coloured bumpers, door handles and electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors with integrated indicators
  • driver’s and front passenger’s under seat drawers
  • leather-trimmed three spoke multifunction steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake grip
  • rear centre armrest with cupholders; 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • front and rear electric windows
  • electronic parking brake with auto hold function
  • front centre armrest with storage compartment
  • driver’s and front passenger’s seat height adjustment
  • height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • split folding rear seat backrest 60:40
  • variable boot floor
  • blue stitching on leather trimmed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with ‘e-Golf’ logo and gear knob gaiter; ‘Iridium Matrix’ decorative inserts in dash and door panels
  • unique ‘e-Golf’ instrument cluster
  • Discover Navigation Pro system (on top of Composition Media) with 8-inch colour touchscreen, 64 GB SSD hard drive, voice activated control system for telephone and navigation functions, Preloaded European navigation data, 3D map view, three route options (Fast, Short, Eco), Dynamic navigation based on TMC+, branded points of interest, Traffic Sign Display with speed limits and no overtaking zones
  • *three year subscription to the Car-Net On-line Mobile Services app
  • (see separate section for details)
  • multifunction colour display
  •  parking sensors, front and rear
  • climate control – 2Zone electronic air conditioning with automatic air recirculation
  • Bluetooth connection for compatible telephones
  • illuminated, cooled and lockable glovebox
  • four load lashing points in luggage compartment
  • automatic coming and leaving home lighting function, plus dusk sensor and automatic driving lights
  • rain sensor and automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • 6½J x 16 ‘Tilleve’ alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 low rolling resistance tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • tyre repair kit (in lieu of steel space saver)
  • charging cable - mode 2 (10a) and AC mode 3 (16a)
  • socket type 2 (DC charge and AC charge)

 

Optional extras

A number of optional extras are available on the e-Golf, despite its already comprehensive standard specification.  Available items are listed below – for more details and up-to-date pricing information please consult the latest price list.

  • tinted glass
  • carpet mats
  • Vienna’ leather upholstery including heated front sports seats with manually adjustable lumbar support
  •  headlight washers, heated front seats, heated windscreen washer jets and low washer fluid warning light
  • advanced telephone connection. Storage compartment in front centre armrest with integrated USB socket for telephone charging. Inductive connection to the vehicle’s external aerial for improved reception
  • 'Dynaudio’ soundpack including 10-channel digital amplifier, 400 watt output and eight speakers
  • ambient lighting pack: two lights in front footwell, light strips below trim in front doors, dashboard and LED reading lights
  • mirror pack and keyless entry and start
  • climate windscreen: wireless electrically conductive layer in glass laminate. In winter, this accelerates defrosting and prevents fogging, while in summer it reflects solar radiation to reduce interior temperature. (Only in conjunction with advanced telephone connection)
  • high beam assist, lane assist, park assist, rear view camera
  • optional heat pump

Car-Net

Standard on the e-up! and e-Golf is the Volkswagen Car-Net service, which is active for three years after first registration via a mobile device, and must be activated by the customer within the first 90 days of purchase.  Car-Net can also be extended via the Volkswagen.com/Car-Net portal for an additional charge.

Car-Net, accessed via a mobile device, can give control of or give information on:

  • Vehicle charging status
  • Battery management
  • Doors and lighting
  • Driving data
  • Location – last parking position
  • Air conditioning

Government grant

The e-Golf qualifies for the government’s £5,000 electric vehicle grant.  The Retailer and customer are responsible for applying for the grant at the point of purchase and must fill in the necessary paperwork together.  More details can be found at https://plugincargrant.dft.gov.uk

RETAIL NETWORK

Electric car network

The e-Golf, like the e-up!, will be sold via a network of 24 out of a total 208 (May 2014) franchised Volkswagen Retailers across the UK.  The list of approved electric car outlets is shown below.  Customers can search on www.volkswagen.co.uk for an e-Retailer.

  • Isaac Agnew of Belfast
  • Arnold Clark (Jordanhill) – Glasgow
  • Western (Edinburgh – Gorgie Road)
  • Benfield (Newcastle Upon Tyne)
  • Inchcape Volkswagen (Chester)
  • Leeds Volkswagen
  • Citygate Watford
  • Heritage of Bristol
  • West London Volkswagen
  • Mann Egerton (Exeter)
  • Lancaster Milton Keynes
  • JCB Medway (Gillingham)
  • JCT600 Volkswagen (Sheffield)
  • Coulsdon Volkswagen
  • Parkway (Derby)
  • Peter Cooper (Southampton – Shirley Road)
  • Robinsons Autoservices (Norwich)
  • Ridgeway Oxford (Kidlington)
  • Sinclair Volkswagen (Swansea)
  • Alan Day Volkswagen (New Southgate)
  • F Vindis & Sons Huntingdon
  • Caffyns Volkswagen (Worthing)
  • Solihull Volkswagen
  • Smith Knight Fay Stockport

Each of these e-Retailers has technicians who have been specially trained in high voltage work and is equipped with the tools required to service and maintain electric vehicles.  These include special diagnosis equipment, for example for taking measurements from the high voltage system.  One key tool is the compact VAS 6558A high-voltage analysis module for measuring voltage levels in electric vehicles’ systems.  Via highly sensitive measuring techniques it is also possible to detect extremely low levels of resistance in the milli-ohm range with great precision.  The module relays the measurements via an interface to the diagnosis equipment already in place at the Retailer.  As Volkswagen increases its range of electric vehicles in the coming months and years, this network is likely to grow.

PARTNERSHIPS

Ecotricity partnership

In October 2013, Volkswagen Group (UK) Limited signed a partnership deal with green energy supplier, Ecotricity, to provide a 100 per cent green energy offer to all customers purchasing an electric-powered vehicle from one of the Group brands. 

The deal, which followed a nine month tender process, saw Ecotricity become the preferred supplier of green energy for Volkswagen Group customers in the UK, meaning any customer purchasing an electric vehicle from one of the Group’s brands will be offered, at point of sale, the option to adopt Ecotricity’s 100 per cent green tariff for their home and vehicle energy supplies.

When Ecotricity was founded in 1995, it became the world’s first ‘green electricity’ company.  Its aim is to change the way electricity is made and used in Britain.  Now powering over 75,000 homes and businesses from its growing fleet of wind and sun parks, Ecotricity is a ‘not-for-dividend’ enterprise that, on average, invests more per customer in building new sources of green electricity than any other energy company in Britain.

Commenting on the deal, Andrew Bannister, Head of Environmental Management for Volkswagen Group (UK) said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to offer those customers who are making a choice to purchase an electric-powered car the option to adopt a green energy package, meaning their motoring can be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.

‘We reviewed a number of suppliers and Ecotricity emerged as the best choice for us and our customers.  It shares our ambitions for high levels of customer service as well as environmental credentials and we’re confident those choosing an electric Group product will appreciate the benefits this new tariff offers them.’

Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince OBE, said: ‘As someone who drives an electric vehicle, it is important where your fuel comes from.  Ideally an electric car should be charged using 100 per cent renewable energy; otherwise you are still powering it from fossil fuels.

‘Running a car on green electricity from the wind and the sun is the last piece of the jigsaw; it’s the ultimate in green motoring.  Now you can plug your car into your house at the end of each day and recharge it on renewables, it’s an exciting new world.’

He added: ‘We’re really pleased to be working with Volkswagen, a company which is bringing lots of new EVs to the market, and wanted to find the best green electricity to embed as part of its offer to customers buying electric vehicles.’

For more information on Ecotricity, visit www.ecotricity.co.uk.

WARRANTIES

The e-Golf comes with an eight year or 160,000 km (c.100,000 mile) high-voltage battery warranty.  In developing the battery, Volkswagen set the ambitious goal that the battery should still have 80 per cent of its original power after 10 years. This assumes a driving distance of 9,000 miles a year.
 

The battery warranty is on top of Volkswagen’s standard three year, 60,000 mile (first and second year with unlimited mileage manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty and the 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Roadside Assistance which provides vehicle home and roadside recovery in the event of a breakdown in the UK or Europe.  

CHRONOLOGY

Volkswagen and the history of electric cars

  • Volkswagen Group has been driving progress for decades
  • 110 years ago the Lohner-Porsche was created with wheel hub motors
  • The first electric Golf was driven back in 1976
  • 43 years of continuous research in electric mobility

The Volkswagen Group has been working on electric cars since 1900, building up a wealth of experience and learning which now enables it to bring these cars to market with confidence.    

1976: The first electric Golf

In 1976, Volkswagen researchers equipped a production Golf with an electric drive for the first time; its E-motor produced about 20 kW (25 PS) of power.  The electric Golf was driven over 20,000 km until 1986, serving as a test platform for various batteries and electric motors. Its top speed was 80 km/h, and its range was 70 km.

The best known electric car from Wolfsburg was the Golf CityStromer, based on Golf model series I through III.  Its starting gun sounded in 1981, once again as part of a joint venture with RWE. The second generation CityStromer had an electric motor with 15 kW (20 PS), which accelerated the 1.7 tonne car to 100 km/h in 13 seconds.

In the third model series, the car’s output was increased to 17.5 kW (24 PS) continuous power and 22 kW (30 PS) peak power. The lead gel batteries with 11.4 kWh energy, arranged in the engine and luggage compartments, could handle a range of 70 km. Top speed was 100 km/h, and the Golf CityStromer recovered energy during braking.

About 100 units were built at the Mosel Plant in Saxony, selling for 49,500 German marks.  Volkswagen’s intended customers were primarily electric utility companies.

The future

  • Group sets sights on market leadership in electric mobility by 2018
  • Multi-billion investment in new technologies, 70,000 employees trained
  • Initially choice of 14 electric and hybrid models by 2014
  • Winterkorn: ‘We are starting at exactly the right time’

Speaking on the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft laid down the Group’s aspirations to adopt global market leadership in electric mobility. ‘We are starting at exactly the right time.  We are electrifying all vehicle classes, and therefore have everything we need to make the Volkswagen Group the top automaker in all respects, including electric mobility, by 2018.’

The Group is in a strong position to make this goal a reality.  Winterkorn added: ‘We have the most comprehensive approach to tomorrow’s mobility.  From highly-efficient, eco-friendly diesel, gasoline and natural gas-fuelled engines to classical hybrids, purely battery-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids – no other automaker can match the broad range we have to offer.’

The company wants to win new customers with electric vehicles that are technically mature, practical in everyday use, safe and affordable.  ‘The electric car cannot be a compromise on wheels, it must convince customers in every respect.’  He added that environmental compatibility and sustainability were increasingly becoming the main purchasing criterion: ‘From the zero-emission city car, through the plug-in hybrid all-rounder to the three-litre sports saloon: it is our customers who decide for themselves just how much e-mobility they want.’  He went on to say that electric-drive vehicles were a key building block for achieving the ambitious climate protection targets, and that the plug-in hybrid had the greatest market potential.

Initially, a total of 14 models from several Group brands will be available with electric or hybrid drive technology in 2014.  If there is sufficient demand, up to 40 new models could be fitted with alternative drivetrains.  Winterkorn underscored that Volkswagen had placed electric mobility ‘at the centre of the Group’: ‘We have developed the know-how for electric motors and battery systems at our own components plants, we have recruited 400 top experts for electric traction and qualified almost 70,000 development, production and service employees in this new technology – the biggest electrification training programme in our industry.’

The Volkswagen Group invests over seven billion euros in research and development each year.  A significant share is spent on developing technologies and components for electric mobility – more than in any other field.

The key to rolling out electric mobility swiftly and efficiently across all brands and vehicle classes is the modular toolkit systems which from the start have been designed for assembling electric drives.  Production in Bratislava, Puebla, Wolfsburg, Leipzig or Ingolstadt can now respond flexibly and at low risk to demand as it arises and can reduce both weight and costs through the use of proven components.

According to Winterkorn, anyone who genuinely takes ecological responsibility seriously goes one step further: ‘We must have a holistic mindset and a comprehensive approach to mobility – from generating energy through development, production, retail and vehicle operation right down to recycling.  Our clear goal, therefore, is to lead with holistic, modern mobility concepts.’

(ends)

 

e-Golf / KT 0514/ rl / mb / 0714rtlrs/0814BG

THE VOLKSWAGEN e-GOLF

Few cars have a history like that of the Volkswagen Golf, yet with global sales of over 30 million, in its seventh generation and having celebrated its 40th anniversary in March 2014, the Golf continues to offer buyers a car which sets benchmarks in comfort, practicality, safety and efficiency.  In this month it established a new ‘first’, becoming the first car to be available with five power sources: petrol, diesel or CNG engines (not UK), a pure electric engine (e-Golf) and plug-in hybrid (Golf GTE – due 2015).

This flexibility is possible thanks to the MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten) platform or Modular Transverse Matrix on which the Golf is built.  This standardises many vehicle component parameters across brands and vehicle classes, and allows access to new powertrains and technologies.  As such the e-Golf is produced on the same factory line as the standard Golf, with no compromise in design or space.  In fact it offers the same virtues of practicality, refinement and advanced technology as its multi-award winning and former European and World Car of the Year cousin, but with a purely electric drivetrain and no tailpipe emissions.

At 4,255 mm, the new Golf is 56 mm longer than its predecessor, with a 59 mm longer wheelbase of 2,637 mm.  The front wheels are 43 mm further forward, helping to generate more interior space, while the Golf is also 13 mm wider, at 1,799 mm, and 28 mm lower, at 1,452 mm.  Despite offering more room for passengers and more advanced technological features than previous versions, new production techniques contribute to the Golf Mk VII being not only lighter than the car it replaces, but also safer due to a stronger body structure and a raft of standard and optional passive and active safety systems.

Like Volkswagen’s first pure electric car, the e-up! which was launched in the UK in January 2014, the e-Golf can be charged from a household three-pin socket using the cable provided.  With a standard UK 230-Volt, 2.3 kW supply, this recharges the battery in 13 hours.  An optional wallbox for home use provides 3.6 kW supply and can recharge a flat battery in eight hours.  Through use of the e-Golf’s standard combined charging system (CCS) and a DC supply, the battery can be fully recharged (at levels of up to 40 kW) to 80 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes.

An AC electric motor (85 kW / 115 PS, and 270 Nm) provides drive, linked to the front wheels via a single-speed gearbox.  The lithium-ion battery is integrated into the Golf’s floor and weighs 318 kg.  It consists of 264 cells, together rated at 323 Volts and 24.2 kWh. 

Acceleration from 0-62 mph takes 10.4 seconds.  By comparison the Golf BlueMotion, which is powered by a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine with 110 PS and 250 Nm, takes 10.5 seconds.  Top speed for the e-Golf is 87 mph.  Depending on driving style, charge level and ambient conditions, the e-Golf has a range of up to 118 miles. 

An optional heat pump helps deliver maximum range in winter.  This add-on module for the electric heating and air conditioning uses heat from both ambient air and the vehicle’s drive systems, significantly reducing electricity consumption.  It can increase the e-Golf’s range in cold weather by up to 20 per cent.

As well as a standard driving mode, the e-Golf has two economy profiles: ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’. 

‘Eco’ cuts peak power to 95 PS, reduces the output of the air conditioning system and modifies the accelerator response.  Top speed is cut to 71 mph and 0-62 mph takes 13.4 seconds. 
‘Eco+’ limits maximum power to 75 PS, torque to 175 Nm, and top speed to 56 mph, while the accelerator response is modified and the air conditioning disabled.  In either mode, full performance can be accessed by kicking down on the accelerator pedal, as in a vehicle with a conventional automatic gearbox.

The e-Golf’s range can also be influenced by regenerative braking.  There are five modes: D, D1, D2, D3 and B.  In D, the vehicle coasts without regenerative braking when the accelerator is lifted.  In each other mode, lifting off the accelerator pedal provides greater regenerative braking.  In D2, D3 and B, the brake lights are activated when the driver’s foot is lifted from the accelerator pedal, provided that a predetermined level of deceleration is achieved.

The e-Golf is the first production Volkswagen to feature full LED headlights.  These produce brighter light and use less electricity than xenon headlights.  Other bespoke exterior design elements include C-shaped LED daytime running lights in the front bumper, a signature blue strip running the width of the radiator grille and into the headlights, and a blue-edged Volkswagen roundel.  The interior includes blue stitching on the upholstery, and the option of blue ambient lighting.

In the UK, the e-Golf is available with five doors only, and in a single well-equipped trim level based on the standard Golf SE, with the addition of 2Zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, e-specific ‘Tilleves’ alloy wheels and Discover Pro satellite navigation, with an eight-inch colour touchscreen.  For the e-Golf the Discover Pro system includes added functionality including a range display, and the option to pre-programme the vehicle’s heating or cooling systems.  For smartphone users (Android or iOS), the Volkswagen ‘Car-Net’ app enables many vehicle functions to be controlled remotely, including charging, heating or cooling and more.  Three years’ subscription to Car Net is included as standard.

The e-Golf became available to order from one of 24 Volkswagen EV specialist Retailers across the UK in March 2014, with the first deliveries in July. 

SUMMARY

  • Opened for orders on 11 March 2014.  The e-Golf can be ordered from one of 24 Volkswagen EV specialist Retailers across the UK (see www.volkswagen.co.uk for details), with the first deliveries expected around the end of July
  • Based on the multi-award-winning Golf hatchback, the e-Golf offers the same virtues of practicality, refinement and advanced technology, but with a purely electric drivetrain and no tailpipe emissions
  • Like its smaller electric sibling, the e-up!, the e-Golf can be charged from a household three-pin socket using the cable provided.  With a standard UK 230-Volt, 2.3 kW supply, this recharges the battery in 13 hours.  An optional home wallbox provides 3.6 kW supply and can recharge a fully discharged battery in eight hours.  Through use of the e-Golf’s standard combined charging system (CCS) and a DC supply, the battery can be fully recharged (at levels of up to 40 kW) to 80 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes
  • An AC electric motor (85 kW / 115 PS, and 270 Nm) provides drive, linked to the front wheels via a single-speed gearbox.  The lithium-ion battery is integrated into the floor and weighs 318 kg.  It consists of 264 cells, together rated at 323 Volts and 24.2 kWh
  • Acceleration from 0 to 62 mph takes 10.4 seconds.  By comparison the Golf BlueMotion,
  • which is powered by a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine with 110 PS and 250 Nm, takes 10.5 seconds.  Top speed for the e-Golf is 87 mph.  Depending on driving style, charge level and ambient conditions, the e-Golf has a range of up to 118 miles
  • An optional heat pump helps deliver maximum range in winter.  This add-on module for the electric heating and air conditioning uses heat from both ambient air and the vehicle’s drive systems, significantly reducing electricity consumption.  It can increase the e-Golf’s range in cold weather by up to 20 per cent
  • As well as a standard driving mode, the e-Golf has two economy profiles: ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’. 
  • ‘Eco’ cuts peak power to 95 PS, reduces the output of the air conditioning system and modifies the accelerator response.  Top speed is cut to 71 mph and 0-62 mph takes 13.4 seconds
  • ‘Eco+’ limits maximum power to 75 PS, torque to 175 Nm, and top speed to 56 mph, while
  • the accelerator response is modified and the air conditioning disabled.  In either mode, full performance can be accessed through the accelerator pedal kick-down function, as in a vehicle with a conventional automatic gearbox
  • The e-Golf’s range can also be influenced by regenerative braking.  There are five modes:
  • D, D1, D2, D3 and B.  In D, the vehicle coasts without regenerative braking when the accelerator is lifted.  In each other mode, lifting off the accelerator pedal provides greater regenerative braking.  In D2, D3 and B, the brake lights are activated when the driver’s foot is lifted from the accelerator pedal, provided that a predetermined level of deceleration is achieved.  Additional regeneration is accessed during initial travel of the brake pedal
  • The e-Golf is the first production Volkswagen to feature full LED headlights which produce brighter light and use less electricity than xenon headlights
  • Other bespoke exterior design elements include C-shaped LED daytime running lights in the front bumper, a signature blue strip running the width of the radiator grille and into the headlights, and a blue-edged Volkswagen roundel.  The interior includes blue stitching on the upholstery, and the option of blue ambient lighting
  • In the UK, the e-Golf is available with five doors, and in a single well-equipped trim level based on the standard Golf SE, and therefore including driver profile selection; adaptive cruise control with Front Assist and city emergency braking; a driver alert system; PreCrash preventative occupant protection; automatic headlights and wipers; an auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror; DAB digital radio; Bluetooth telephone and audio connectivity; MDI multi-device interface with Lightning and 30-pin connectors; front and rear centre armrests and cupholders; and front and rear reading lightS.
  • To this the e-Golf adds as standard 2Zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors,16-inch e-specific ‘Tilleves’ alloy wheels and Discover Pro satellite navigation, with an eight-inch colour touchscreen
  • For the e-Golf the Discover Pro navigation system includes added functionality including a range display, and the option to pre-programme the vehicle’s heating or cooling systems.  For smartphone users (Android or iOS), the Volkswagen ‘Car-Net’ app enables many vehicle functions to be controlled remotely, including charging, heating or cooling and more.  Three years’ subscription to Car Net is included as standard
  • The e-Golf is just one part of Volkswagen’s alternative drivetrain offerings.  The Golf is also offered with turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, and a plug-in hybrid model called the GTE is due to go on sale in the UK at the end of summer 2014.  In Europe, the Golf is also offered as the TGI BlueMotion, which can run on compressed natural gas (this is not offered in the UK due to the current lack of a refuelling infrastructure)
  • Built in Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant in Germany
  • Opened for order in March 2014, with first customer deliveries in July

ENGINE

ENGINE AND ON THE ROAD

Performance

The e-Golf is powered by an 85 kW/115 PS electric motor which develops maximum torque of 270 Nm.  This high level of torque for a compact car coupled with the fact that it is available from standstill has a major influence on the driving experience, as the car ‘feels’ as though it is being powered by an engine with a large cubic capacity and much more power.  Its strong performance is reflected in the numbers: zero to 37 mph in 4.2 seconds, and zero to 62 mph in 10.4 seconds (versus 10.7 seconds for the Golf 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS DSG) and a top speed (limited) of 87 mph.  The motor is situated at the front of the car – in the ‘usual’ place for a Golf. 

The 12,000 rpm motor and new single-speed gearbox (designated EQ 270) with integrated differential and mechanical parking brake, also developed by Volkswagen, form a compact modular unit.  The motor/gearbox unit is made at the company’s components plant in Kassel, Germany.

Depending on the route profile, driving style and payload, the e-Golf’s driving range is between 80 and 118 miles, though this may be reduced in very low outdoor temperatures.  However, a newly developed heat pump ensures an effective range is maintained in winter.  Offered as an add-on module to the electric heating (high-voltage heater) and electric air conditioning compressor the heat pump recovers heat from the ambient air and the heat given off by the drive system components.  This significantly reduces the high-voltage heater’s electric power consumption.  When the heat pump is used, this increases the driving range of the e-Golf by over 30 per cent in cold weather compared to a conventional heating system.

On the road

Despite its unconventional drivetrain, the Golf feels very much like a Golf to drive.  The extra weight – 1,510 kg DIN unladen weight for the e-Golf compared with 1,354 for the 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS – serves to lower the car’s centre of gravity and hence enhance ride and handling characteristics further.  The lithium ion battery accounts for 318 kg of this weight, and is located between the front and rear axles in a reinforced frame in the vehicle floor (under the front and rear seats and near the middle tunnel).  The ability to incorporate both battery and electric motor was designed into the car from the outset – the Golf being based on Volkswagen’s flexible and innovative MQB platform – meaning it does not reduce space inside the car.  

To drive, the driver selects, as usual, ‘D’ or ‘R’ and, of course, ‘N’ (neutral) or ‘P’ (park).  Further components contained in the gearbox include, in addition to the differential, the motor shaft, which revolves at high speed (12,000 rpm), and a lightweight mechanical parking brake.

While so much is ‘normal’, one noticeable difference between driving the e-Golf and the standard car is the level of background noise as the e-motor works almost silently.  This presents a particular challenge for engineers because very different sources of noise become noticeable when there is no combustion engine.  In addition, the scarcely perceptible and yet very specific background noise of the drive system mixes with the sounds and vibrations of the electrically powered auxiliary components, and wind and rolling sounds are potentially much more noticeable in electric vehicles.

To counteract this, Volkswagen engineers adjusted the acoustic concept of the e-Golf to make it an almost silent cruiser.  This was done by switching the engine’s suspension to a pendulum mount with modified response characteristics, and altering the motor housing unit.  Furthermore, the highly sound-absorbent and yet very lightweight materials used in the interior produce such a high level of acoustic comfort that occupants in the e-Golf, which is itself a high quality car, feel as though they are riding in a vehicle from the luxury class. 

Wind noise – as well as energy consumption – was also reduced in the e-Golf thanks to the car’s aerodynamic honing.  This was done by developing very specific measures such as cutting the volume of cooling air (via a radiator shutter and partially closed-off radiator grille), new underbody panelling, rear body modifications with a rear spoiler and C-pillar air guides, as well as by developing new aerodynamic wheels (essentially closing off gaps, making the wheels flush with the car’s exterior).  As a result the standard Golf 1.6-litre TDI’s already very good air drag of 0.686 m² was cut by 10 per cent to 0.615 m² on the e-Golf.  Correspondingly, the cD value was lowered to 0.281.  At the same time, the Golf’s rolling resistance coefficient was reduced by 10 per cent from 7.2 per cent per 1,000 to 6.5 per cent thanks to optimised tyres (205/55 R16 91 Q) and this factor also improves the car’s range.

Locally the e-Golf! produces no emissions.  And with an average consumption of 12.7 kWh/100 km, the e-Golf is extremely energy efficient.  On the NEDC cycle, this thus produces a maximum range of up to 190 km (118 miles); the range may decrease in low ambient temperatures.

Lithium-ion battery

The seventh generation of the Golf – which is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) – was developed from the start to be compatible with an electric drive as well as more conventional powertrains.  As such Volkswagen was able to integrate the lithium-ion battery in a space-saving way in a reinforced frame in the vehicle floor (under the front and rear seats and near the middle tunnel).  Like the drive system, the battery is also an in-house development.

The e-Golf has a DIN unladen weight of 1,510 kg (or  1,585 kg vehicle unladen weight with 68 kg driver and 7 kg of luggage, determined per RL 92/21/EEC); the lithium-ion battery accounts for 318 kg of this amount and is located between the front and rear axles.  It consists of 264 individual cells, which are integrated in 27 modules (each with six or 12 cells).  The voltages of the cells add up to a nominal voltage of 323 V.  The total energy capacity of the battery is 24.2 kWh, of which a portion is reserved to prevent damage by excessively deep battery discharging, for example.  The front end of the battery is equipped with what is known as a Battery Management Controller (BMC) which performs safety, diagnostic and monitoring functions and also regulates the battery’s temperature in the Battery Junction Controller (interface to energy supply for the motor).

When it is not being used, or in the event of a crash, the battery is automatically switched to a de-energised state.

Power electronics

A central component of the drive system is the power electronics module, a link that controls the high-voltage energy flow between the e-motor and the lithium-ion battery (between 250 and 430 V depending on the battery voltage).  The power electronics convert the direct current (DC) stored in the battery to alternating current (AC).  The primary interfaces of the power electronics are its traction network connection to the battery, three-phase connection to the electric motor, connector from the DC/DC converter to the 12 V electrical system and a connection for the high-voltage power distributor.

It is important to make a distinction between the two fundamentally different modes in which the e-motor operates: motor mode (propulsion) and generator mode (regenerative braking).  In motor mode the power electronics use high-power transistors to convert the direct current (DC) stored in the battery into three-phase alternating current (AC).  In generator mode, meanwhile, the alternating current is rectified for charging the battery.  In this scenario the power electronics are like a kind of valve that lets the electrical current flow only towards the battery that is to be recharged.

As mentioned, the 2.5 kW DC/DC converter integrated into the power electronics is responsible for supplying the vehicle’s 12 V power circuit and thus works like a transformer.  The 12 V power circuit and the high-voltage circuit are completely separate from each other in the vehicle.  Also included in the power electronics are the controller for running the management software and a CAN interface for communication with control devices.

Finally, the power electronics module smooths the effect of any sudden loading from the drive system (for instance, at moments of sudden acceleration) by regulating the torque accordingly.

Charging

As in the smaller e-up!, there are various ways to charge the e-Golf’s battery.

Mains socket.  The conventional solution is to use the standard charging cable and plug it into a 230-Volt mains socket.  If they were fully discharged, the e-Golf batteries would then be charged with alternating current (AC) from the mains at a power level of 2.3 kW in a maximum of 13 hours (100 per cent state of charge of the battery). 

Wallbox.  With a home wallbox installed in a garage or car port – which charges the battery at a power level of 3.6 kW rather than the lower level of 2.3 kW via a mains socket – the battery would be 100 per cent recharged after eight hours from flat. 

Alternating current charging stations.  As via a wallbox, there are also public charging stations that ‘refuel’ batteries at a power level of 3.6 kW or more.  This is done using a standard cable for AC charging stations.

Combined Charging System (CCS) charging stations.  The e-Golf can use CCS (Combined Charging System) charging with direct current (DC).  In this way, the car is charged at up to 40 kW of power and the battery cab attain 80 per cent capacity in around just 30 minutes.  In the e-Golf, the start time for charging – either immediate or with a programmed time offset – is activated by pushing a button on the charging plug under the ‘fuel filler’ flap.

Driving profiles

Key to optimising energy usage in the e-Golf are the two ‘Eco’ driving profiles (‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’) and four different levels of regenerative braking (‘D1’, ‘D2’, ‘D3, and ‘B’).

The e-Golf is equipped as standard with three driving profiles: ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’.  The Volkswagen is automatically started in ‘Normal’ mode.  For drivers wanting to extend their range, the first option is the ‘Eco’ mode in which the electric motor’s maximum power is reduced from 115 PS to 95 PS, and drive-off torque is limited from 270 Nm to 220 Nm.  In parallel, the electronics reduce the output of the air conditioning system and modify the response curve of the accelerator pedal.  In this mode, the e-Golf can reach speeds of up to 71 mph (‘Normal’ mode 87 mph) and accelerate to 62 mph in 13.4 seconds (‘Normal’ 10.4 secs).  

In ‘Eco+’ mode, the electronics limit power output to 75 PS and drive-off torque to 175 Nm.  At the same time, the accelerator pedal response curve is made flatter, and the air conditioning is switched off.  The e-Golf now reaches a top speed of 56 mph and accelerates at a slower rate.  Nonetheless, drivers can still obtain full power, maximum torque and a top speed of 87 mph in ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’ modes by kicking down – useful if an overtaking manoeuvre is required.

Summary of driving modes

  NORMAL ECO ECO+
AIR CONDITIONING NORMAL   REDUCED VENTILATION ONLY
ACCELERATION (0-62mph) 10.4 13.4 20.9
MECH. PERFORMANCE 115 PS 95 PS 75 PS
SPEED, mph (Vmax) 87 MPH 71 MPH 56 MPH
MAX PULLING-AWAY TORQUE 270 Nm 220 Nm 175 Nm

Regenerative braking

In addition to setting a driving mode, the e-Golf’s range can also be influenced using the regenerative braking system.  Drivers can choose from five levels: ‘D’ (no regenerative braking), ‘D1’, D2’, ‘D3’ and ‘B’.  Having this number of levels leads the driver to adopt a new style of motoring, as regenerative braking can be implemented to slow the car down.  Used in an anticipatory way, regenerative braking thus replaces use of the brake pedal in many situations.  However, if the battery is fully charged, no energy regeneration takes place.  In this case, the braking power also reduces, which the driver can feel intuitively (though clearly this does not affect the ‘normal’ vehicle brakes).  It works like this:

? D. The e-Golf starts by default in the ‘D’ setting – in this setting there is deceleration kinetically induced through rolling resistance as soon as the driver’s foot is taken off the accelerator (‘coasting’), but no recovery of brake energy takes place.  Whenever the driver takes his foot off the pedal, though, or when the car is going downhill it uses the car’s natural kinetic energy and that reduces consumption.  When the e-Golf is slowed down fairly sharply via the hydraulic brake system it does, however, recover brake energy even in the ‘D’ setting.  It is worth noting that if the battery is fully charged, no braking energy is regenerated.

? D1, D2, D3.  If the traffic becomes more congested (especially therefore in urban areas) or the road becomes more winding, other regenerative braking settings are available to the driver.  The regenerative braking and thus the braking intensity increases across the four levels: D1, D2, D3 and B.  When regenerative braking is used the brake lights therefore automatically come on (provided a set level of retardation is achieved).  For regenerative braking the electric motor changes into generator mode in order to be able to supply the recovered electrical power to the battery.  In gear lever setting ‘D’ the driver simply taps the gear knob to the left to switch to ‘D1’ (1x), ‘D2’ (2x) or ‘D3’ (3x).  Tapping the knob to the right moves down the D levels.  If the gear lever is pushed to the right and briefly held there, the electronics switch in one jump back to ‘D’.

? B. In order to utilise maximum deceleration (40 kW at 100 km/h) in the ‘B’ or ‘Brake’ setting the gear lever needs to be clicked backwards towards the handbrake (similar to selecting ‘S’ in a conventional Volkswagen DSG gearbox).  If the driver’s foot is now taken off the accelerator pedal, he or she will feel the car slowing down as if the brake had been applied.  In urban traffic with sufficient room ahead the car can be slowed to a standstill in this way.  Practice shows drivers get used to the regenerative braking function very quickly and use it, above all in the ‘B’ setting, as a substitute for slowing down by applying the brake.

Running gear

At the front the e-Golf – like the standard car – uses a strut-type suspension system (spring struts) with lower wishbones that were newly developed for optimal handling and steering properties in the seventh generation model.  All components were reworked for improved functionality as well as reduced weight and costs.  The result, despite not using aluminium components, was a weight saving of 1.6 kg, made possible, for example, by the use of high-strength steel in the transverse links and an innovative ‘bionic’ (ie designed based on features from the natural world) design approach to the pivot bearings.  A centrally positioned front subframe − designed for maximum rigidity − handles loads from the engine mountings and steering as well as front suspension loads.

The now universally employed tubular anti-roll bar has a stiffness that has been adapted to the requirements of different running gear layouts.  Its rubber bearings are vulcanised directly into the painted anti-roll tube to ensure the best acoustic properties. 

At the back, the e-Golf features the multi-link rear suspension of the Golf which was further developed for the seventh generation to give clear improvements in kinematics, acoustics, weight and modularity.  However, nothing has changed with regard to its fundamental approach of consistently separating longitudinal and transverse rigidities.  The low longitudinal rigidity has been preserved by the soft axle control of the trailing link; this was a necessary precondition for further improving ride comfort.

Electro-mechanical power steering

The Golf uses the latest generation electro-mechanical power steering system which is able to vary the feel at the steering wheel to suit the speed and driving situation: firm and direct when driving hard, effortless at parking speeds.

Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centring action, its ability to compensate for different driving hazards, such as crosswinds and steep road cambers, and a beneficial effect on fuel economy.

Electromechanical brake servo

Electric cars are essentially equipped with two independent braking systems: a mechanical, hydraulically operated brake system is there to slow the car down as in conventional vehicles; and the e-motor which when recovering energy acts as a motor brake.  These two types of braking now blend together in the e-Golf thanks to the electromechanical brake servo.

Regardless of regeneration mode (see separate section for details) when operating as a generator the electric motor produces a degree of braking torque on the wheels – dependent on its speed and the battery’s temperature and charge level.  The variable parameters – motor speed and battery status – lead to fluctuating levels of electric braking.  These fluctuations need to be adjusted and the degree of deceleration matched to the braking requirements of the driver.  The management of the brake system required for this is called brake blending and is achieved via the new electromechanical brake servo.  Volkswagen has succeeded here in its primary aim of making maximum utilisation of the e-motor’s potential to slow down the e-Golf in order to increase its range.

What’s more, as the majority of braking processes involve only minor or moderate deceleration and are therefore executed without any wear via the e-motor, the electric system helps to keep the ‘normal’ brakes in top condition for longer.

Braking system

The Golf features a sophisticated braking system, with ABS and ESC (Electronic Stability Control) as standard across the range.  Ventilated discs are fitted at the front, with solid discs at the rear.

Electronic Stability Control – ESC incorporating XDS

The latest-generation ESC system developed for the new Golf has a range of features designed to have a direct and positive effect on active safety.  All models are also fitted with XDS electronic differential lock for improved traction and handling.

Essentially, ESC is a sophisticated system that automatically senses any tendency for the car to slide.  Should this situation occur, ESC reacts by applying the brakes to one, two, three or all four wheels and adjusts the engine’s power.  In this way, it is possible that a skid is corrected even before the driver is aware that one has started.  This can be useful if a tendency to understeer or oversteer develops in a bend.  In such circumstances ESC can help prevent the car skidding or spinning off the road and is particularly helpful in wet or icy conditions. 

The seventh-generation Golf also gains XDS electronic differential lock for improved traction and handling.  Technically speaking, XDS is a functional extension of the electronic limited-slip differential (EDL) which is a part of the standard ESC system.

Its benefits are experienced when driving quickly through a bend.  ESC sensors provide information on lateral G forces, while ABS sensors monitor levels of friction.  Using this information a control unit can predict when an inside wheel is about to lift and apply a braking force automatically to increase traction on the opposite front wheel.  XDS differs from EDL however as it brakes the inner wheel before it loses traction rather than afterwards.  The result is smoother, more sure-footed and safer progress with better traction through fast corners when on the limit of adhesion. 

Hydraulic Brake Assist

Working in conjunction with the other elements of the braking system, the latest form of HBA recognises from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed whether it is a ‘normal’ braking situation or an emergency stop.  In the event of an emergency stop, HBA automatically increases braking pressure, activating ABS and ensuring the level of braking meets the needs of the conditions.  The application of brake assist makes it possible even for unskilled drivers to reduce braking distances by around 25 per cent.

Automatic Post-Collision Braking System

An innovative new feature is the Golf’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which has already won a safety innovation award from Germany’s largest automobile club (ADAC).  Studies have found that around a quarter of all traffic accidents involving personal injury are multiple collision incidents, in other words, when there is a second impact after the initial collision.

The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System automatically brakes the vehicle when it is involved in an accident in order significantly to reduce its residual kinetic energy and hence prevent or minimise the severity of a subsequent collision. 

Triggering of the system is based on detection of a primary collision by the airbag sensors.  Vehicle braking is limited by the ESC control unit to a maximum deceleration rate of 0.6 g.  This value matches the deceleration level of Front Assist and ensures that the driver can take over handling of the car even in case of automatic braking.

The driver can ‘override’ the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System at any time; for example, if the system recognises that the driver is accelerating, it is disabled.  The system is also deactivated if the driver initiates hard braking at an even higher rate of deceleration.  Essentially, the system applies the brakes until a vehicle speed of 10 km/h is reached, so this residual vehicle speed can be used to steer to a safe location after the braking process.

PreCrash preventive occupant protection

The Golf’s preventive occupant protection system is just one example of a technology that has been transferred from the premium to the compact class, having been implemented first in the Touareg. 

If the system detects a potential accident situation – such as by the initiation of hard braking via an activated brake assistant – the seatbelts of the driver and front passenger are automatically pre-tensioned to ensure the best possible protection by the airbag and belt system.  When a critical and ‘unstable’ driving situation is detected, for example through severe oversteer or understeer with ESC intervention, the side windows are closed (except for a small gap) and so is the sunroof.  This is because the head and side airbags offer optimal support and thereby achieve their best possible effectiveness when the windows and sunroof are almost fully closed.

Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist

Like the PreCrash system, Adaptive Cruise Control (previously known as ADC Automatic Distance Control, now renamed ACC) has until now been the preserve of cars in higher segments.  Now standard from SE upwards in the Golf, the system uses a radar sensor integrated into the front of the car to detect distance from the car in front, maintain a preselected speed and automatically brake or accelerate in traffic.  ACC operates over a speed range from 30 to 160 km/h (approx. 18 to 99 mph) with a manual gearbox. 

Front Assist

Front Assist works like ACC with the radar sensor integrated into the front of the car, which continually monitors the distance to the traffic ahead.  Even with ACC switched off, Front Assist helps assists the driver in critical situations by preconditioning the brake system and alerting the driver to any required reactions by means of visual and audible warnings.  If the driver fails to brake hard enough, the system automatically generates sufficient braking force to help avoid a collision.  Should the driver, meanwhile, not react at all, Front Assist automatically slows the car so that under optimal conditions the speed of any impact is minimised.  The system also assists the driver by an alert if the car is getting too close to the vehicle in front.  The City Emergency Braking function is also part of Front Assist.

City Emergency Braking

The City Emergency Braking function, first seen on the up! model and now standard on Golf from SE upwards and on e-Golf is a system extension of Front Assist and scans the area in front of the car via radar sensor.  It operates at speeds below 30 km/h (approx. 18 mph).  If the car is in danger of colliding with a vehicle driving or parked up ahead and the driver does not react, the brake system is preconditioned in the same way as with Front Assist.  If the driver fails to intervene, City Emergency Braking then automatically initiates hard braking to reduce the severity of the impact.  In addition, if the driver is initiating braking, but fails to press the brake pedal sufficiently, the system will assist with maximum braking power.

Driver Alert system

It is estimated that a quarter of motorway accidents are caused by driver tiredness.  For this reason Volkswagen has introduced an innovative fatigue detection system, which is particularly valuable for company car drivers who may cover long distances without a scheduled break.  

The Golf’s Driver Alert system does not work in the same way as those from other manufacturers which monitor eye movements.  Instead, for the first 15 minutes of a journey the system analyses the driver’s characteristic steering and driving behaviour.  Further into the journey the system continually evaluates signals such as steering angle, use of pedals and transverse acceleration.  If the monitored parameters indicate a deviation from the initial behaviour recorded at the beginning of the trip, then waning concentration is assumed and warnings issued.

The system warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds, while a visual message also appears in the instrument cluster recommending a break.  If the driver does not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated.  

This assistance system cannot detect so-called ‘microsleep’ but instead focuses on detecting early phases of lapses in concentration.  This means it is much less costly than an eye movement monitoring based system – and also still functions when the driver is wearing sunglasses or driving in the dark.

Electronic parking brake with auto hold function

All new Golf models including the e-Golf have an electronic parking brake which is operated via a switch between the front seats, as opposed to the ‘pull up’ handle from the previous generation.  This also incorporates a standard auto-hold function.  This is activated via a button near the gear lever and is useful when the car is regularly stopping for short periods, for example when driving in heavy traffic.  In this case, the parking brake is applied automatically whenever the vehicle is brought to rest on the footbrake, preventing it from rolling forwards or backwards.  The brake is then released as soon as the accelerator is pressed.  As it operates on all four wheels, the electronic parking brake can also function as an emergency brake.

Insurance

Thanks to its extensive security and safety features, the e-Golf has been rated in insurance group 15E by the ABI (Association of British Insurers).

OWNERSHIP

Servicing

The e-Golf follows Volkswagen’s Fixed service regime.  The first service is required after two years or 20,000 miles and thereafter every year or 20,000 miles.

Financing

In addition to standard funding methods, Volkswagen Finance offers customers purchasing an e-Golf a very cost-effective new kind of personal contract purchase plan called e-Solutions. 

The car itself is priced at £25,845 (including the government’s £5,000 electric vehicle grant, or £30,845 RRP on the road).  With the maximum deposit, on a 36-month, 10,000-mile a year plan, monthly payments can be just £229, with a representative APR of 7.1 per cent (see below for worked example).  [Please note this is valid until 30 September 2014 and correct at time of going to press.]

e-Solutions representative example based on 10,000 miles p.a.^ for a e-Golf 5 door

Duration           3 years
35 monthly payments of           £229.00
Deposit contribution1       £5,000.00
Customer deposit   £10,388.10
Retail cash price          £30,845.00
Acceptance fee2    £125.00
Optional final payment     £10,020.29
Option to purchase fee3      £60.00
Total amount payable   £33,483.39
Total amount of credit   £15,456.90
Representative APR     7.1% APR
Rate of interest     6.6% fixed

1Deposit contribution shown in the table above is a £5,000 grant from the government for a plug-in car. Available when purchased on e-Solutions personal contract plan. Further charges may be payable if the vehicle is returned. Retail Sales only.

2Payable as first payment.

3Payable with optional final payment.

^4.4p per mile excess mileage charges apply.

Available to over 18s. Offer available for vehicles ordered by 30 September 2014 from participating Retailers. Subject to availability. Indemnities may be required. Terms and conditions apply. Offers are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Volkswagen Finance, Freepost VWFS.

Unlike more conventional finance packages, however, the e-Solutions plan has a unique opt-out clause.  Should a customer discover that his or her lifestyle doesn’t suit an electric vehicle, then after having made 12 monthly payments, they will have the option simply to pull the plug.  This can only be done once and early return is subject to certain vehicle condition and mileage conditions.  Full details are available on www.volkswagen.co.uk

EQUIPMENT AND TRIM

The specification of the e-Golf is based on that of the standard Golf SE, and as such it is already well-equipped, yet it adds a number of unique styling, technology and e-mobility features.  Equipment highlights are shown below; for full details please see the price list.  Features unique to the e-Golf over the SE are shown in blue and marked with an asterisk.

  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist)
  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control) including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock), ASR (Traction Control) and XDS electronic differential lock
  • Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
  • Driver Alert system
  • PreCrash preventive occupant protection
  • ACC Adaptive Cruise Control  including Front Assist, radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system, City Emergency Braking system and cruise control
  • driver profile selection – Normal, ECO and ECO+
  • driver’s and front passenger’s airbags with passenger’s airbag deactivation switch
  • curtain airbag system, for front and rear passengers
  • front seat side impact airbags and driver's knee airbag
  • driver's and front passenger's whiplash-optimised head restraints
  • three rear three-point seatbelts and head restraints
  • warning buzzer and light for front seatbelts if unfastened
  • Isofix child seat preparation ( for two rear child seats)
  • electronic engine immobiliser and alarm with interior protection; remote central locking
  • ‘e-Golf’ styling pack: uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers, side sills and rear roof spoiler, LED headlights with blue stripe, LED darkened rear light clusters, unique ‘e-Golf’ badging, radiator grille with blue stripe and front ‘C’-shaped LED daytime running lights
  • body-coloured bumpers, door handles and electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors with integrated indicators
  • driver’s and front passenger’s under seat drawers
  • leather-trimmed three spoke multifunction steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake grip
  • rear centre armrest with cupholders; 12V socket in luggage compartment
  • front and rear electric windows
  • electronic parking brake with auto hold function
  • front centre armrest with storage compartment
  • driver’s and front passenger’s seat height adjustment
  • height and reach adjustable steering wheel
  • split folding rear seat backrest 60:40
  • variable boot floor
  • blue stitching on leather trimmed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with ‘e-Golf’ logo and gear knob gaiter; ‘Iridium Matrix’ decorative inserts in dash and door panels
  • unique ‘e-Golf’ instrument cluster
  • Discover Navigation Pro system (on top of Composition Media) with 8-inch colour touchscreen, 64 GB SSD hard drive, voice activated control system for telephone and navigation functions, Preloaded European navigation data, 3D map view, three route options (Fast, Short, Eco), Dynamic navigation based on TMC+, branded points of interest, Traffic Sign Display with speed limits and no overtaking zones
  • *three year subscription to the Car-Net On-line Mobile Services app
  • (see separate section for details)
  • multifunction colour display
  •  parking sensors, front and rear
  • climate control – 2Zone electronic air conditioning with automatic air recirculation
  • Bluetooth connection for compatible telephones
  • illuminated, cooled and lockable glovebox
  • four load lashing points in luggage compartment
  • automatic coming and leaving home lighting function, plus dusk sensor and automatic driving lights
  • rain sensor and automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • 6½J x 16 ‘Tilleve’ alloy wheels with 205/55 R16 low rolling resistance tyres and anti-theft bolts
  • tyre repair kit (in lieu of steel space saver)
  • charging cable - mode 2 (10a) and AC mode 3 (16a)
  • socket type 2 (DC charge and AC charge)

 

Optional extras

A number of optional extras are available on the e-Golf, despite its already comprehensive standard specification.  Available items are listed below – for more details and up-to-date pricing information please consult the latest price list.

  • tinted glass
  • carpet mats
  • Vienna’ leather upholstery including heated front sports seats with manually adjustable lumbar support
  •  headlight washers, heated front seats, heated windscreen washer jets and low washer fluid warning light
  • advanced telephone connection. Storage compartment in front centre armrest with integrated USB socket for telephone charging. Inductive connection to the vehicle’s external aerial for improved reception
  • 'Dynaudio’ soundpack including 10-channel digital amplifier, 400 watt output and eight speakers
  • ambient lighting pack: two lights in front footwell, light strips below trim in front doors, dashboard and LED reading lights
  • mirror pack and keyless entry and start
  • climate windscreen: wireless electrically conductive layer in glass laminate. In winter, this accelerates defrosting and prevents fogging, while in summer it reflects solar radiation to reduce interior temperature. (Only in conjunction with advanced telephone connection)
  • high beam assist, lane assist, park assist, rear view camera
  • optional heat pump

Car-Net

Standard on the e-up! and e-Golf is the Volkswagen Car-Net service, which is active for three years after first registration via a mobile device, and must be activated by the customer within the first 90 days of purchase.  Car-Net can also be extended via the Volkswagen.com/Car-Net portal for an additional charge.

Car-Net, accessed via a mobile device, can give control of or give information on:

  • Vehicle charging status
  • Battery management
  • Doors and lighting
  • Driving data
  • Location – last parking position
  • Air conditioning

Government grant

The e-Golf qualifies for the government’s £5,000 electric vehicle grant.  The Retailer and customer are responsible for applying for the grant at the point of purchase and must fill in the necessary paperwork together.  More details can be found at https://plugincargrant.dft.gov.uk

RETAIL NETWORK

Electric car network

The e-Golf, like the e-up!, will be sold via a network of 24 out of a total 208 (May 2014) franchised Volkswagen Retailers across the UK.  The list of approved electric car outlets is shown below.  Customers can search on www.volkswagen.co.uk for an e-Retailer.

  • Isaac Agnew of Belfast
  • Arnold Clark (Jordanhill) – Glasgow
  • Western (Edinburgh – Gorgie Road)
  • Benfield (Newcastle Upon Tyne)
  • Inchcape Volkswagen (Chester)
  • Leeds Volkswagen
  • Citygate Watford
  • Heritage of Bristol
  • West London Volkswagen
  • Mann Egerton (Exeter)
  • Lancaster Milton Keynes
  • JCB Medway (Gillingham)
  • JCT600 Volkswagen (Sheffield)
  • Coulsdon Volkswagen
  • Parkway (Derby)
  • Peter Cooper (Southampton – Shirley Road)
  • Robinsons Autoservices (Norwich)
  • Ridgeway Oxford (Kidlington)
  • Sinclair Volkswagen (Swansea)
  • Alan Day Volkswagen (New Southgate)
  • F Vindis & Sons Huntingdon
  • Caffyns Volkswagen (Worthing)
  • Solihull Volkswagen
  • Smith Knight Fay Stockport

Each of these e-Retailers has technicians who have been specially trained in high voltage work and is equipped with the tools required to service and maintain electric vehicles.  These include special diagnosis equipment, for example for taking measurements from the high voltage system.  One key tool is the compact VAS 6558A high-voltage analysis module for measuring voltage levels in electric vehicles’ systems.  Via highly sensitive measuring techniques it is also possible to detect extremely low levels of resistance in the milli-ohm range with great precision.  The module relays the measurements via an interface to the diagnosis equipment already in place at the Retailer.  As Volkswagen increases its range of electric vehicles in the coming months and years, this network is likely to grow.

PARTNERSHIPS

Ecotricity partnership

In October 2013, Volkswagen Group (UK) Limited signed a partnership deal with green energy supplier, Ecotricity, to provide a 100 per cent green energy offer to all customers purchasing an electric-powered vehicle from one of the Group brands. 

The deal, which followed a nine month tender process, saw Ecotricity become the preferred supplier of green energy for Volkswagen Group customers in the UK, meaning any customer purchasing an electric vehicle from one of the Group’s brands will be offered, at point of sale, the option to adopt Ecotricity’s 100 per cent green tariff for their home and vehicle energy supplies.

When Ecotricity was founded in 1995, it became the world’s first ‘green electricity’ company.  Its aim is to change the way electricity is made and used in Britain.  Now powering over 75,000 homes and businesses from its growing fleet of wind and sun parks, Ecotricity is a ‘not-for-dividend’ enterprise that, on average, invests more per customer in building new sources of green electricity than any other energy company in Britain.

Commenting on the deal, Andrew Bannister, Head of Environmental Management for Volkswagen Group (UK) said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to offer those customers who are making a choice to purchase an electric-powered car the option to adopt a green energy package, meaning their motoring can be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.

‘We reviewed a number of suppliers and Ecotricity emerged as the best choice for us and our customers.  It shares our ambitions for high levels of customer service as well as environmental credentials and we’re confident those choosing an electric Group product will appreciate the benefits this new tariff offers them.’

Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince OBE, said: ‘As someone who drives an electric vehicle, it is important where your fuel comes from.  Ideally an electric car should be charged using 100 per cent renewable energy; otherwise you are still powering it from fossil fuels.

‘Running a car on green electricity from the wind and the sun is the last piece of the jigsaw; it’s the ultimate in green motoring.  Now you can plug your car into your house at the end of each day and recharge it on renewables, it’s an exciting new world.’

He added: ‘We’re really pleased to be working with Volkswagen, a company which is bringing lots of new EVs to the market, and wanted to find the best green electricity to embed as part of its offer to customers buying electric vehicles.’

For more information on Ecotricity, visit www.ecotricity.co.uk.

WARRANTIES

The e-Golf comes with an eight year or 160,000 km (c.100,000 mile) high-voltage battery warranty.  In developing the battery, Volkswagen set the ambitious goal that the battery should still have 80 per cent of its original power after 10 years. This assumes a driving distance of 9,000 miles a year.
 

The battery warranty is on top of Volkswagen’s standard three year, 60,000 mile (first and second year with unlimited mileage manufacturer operated, third year retailer operated) mechanical warranty and the 12 year body protection guarantee, three year paint warranty and a year’s membership of Volkswagen Roadside Assistance which provides vehicle home and roadside recovery in the event of a breakdown in the UK or Europe.  

CHRONOLOGY

Volkswagen and the history of electric cars

  • Volkswagen Group has been driving progress for decades
  • 110 years ago the Lohner-Porsche was created with wheel hub motors
  • The first electric Golf was driven back in 1976
  • 43 years of continuous research in electric mobility

The Volkswagen Group has been working on electric cars since 1900, building up a wealth of experience and learning which now enables it to bring these cars to market with confidence.    

1976: The first electric Golf

In 1976, Volkswagen researchers equipped a production Golf with an electric drive for the first time; its E-motor produced about 20 kW (25 PS) of power.  The electric Golf was driven over 20,000 km until 1986, serving as a test platform for various batteries and electric motors. Its top speed was 80 km/h, and its range was 70 km.

The best known electric car from Wolfsburg was the Golf CityStromer, based on Golf model series I through III.  Its starting gun sounded in 1981, once again as part of a joint venture with RWE. The second generation CityStromer had an electric motor with 15 kW (20 PS), which accelerated the 1.7 tonne car to 100 km/h in 13 seconds.

In the third model series, the car’s output was increased to 17.5 kW (24 PS) continuous power and 22 kW (30 PS) peak power. The lead gel batteries with 11.4 kWh energy, arranged in the engine and luggage compartments, could handle a range of 70 km. Top speed was 100 km/h, and the Golf CityStromer recovered energy during braking.

About 100 units were built at the Mosel Plant in Saxony, selling for 49,500 German marks.  Volkswagen’s intended customers were primarily electric utility companies.

The future

  • Group sets sights on market leadership in electric mobility by 2018
  • Multi-billion investment in new technologies, 70,000 employees trained
  • Initially choice of 14 electric and hybrid models by 2014
  • Winterkorn: ‘We are starting at exactly the right time’

Speaking on the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft laid down the Group’s aspirations to adopt global market leadership in electric mobility. ‘We are starting at exactly the right time.  We are electrifying all vehicle classes, and therefore have everything we need to make the Volkswagen Group the top automaker in all respects, including electric mobility, by 2018.’

The Group is in a strong position to make this goal a reality.  Winterkorn added: ‘We have the most comprehensive approach to tomorrow’s mobility.  From highly-efficient, eco-friendly diesel, gasoline and natural gas-fuelled engines to classical hybrids, purely battery-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids – no other automaker can match the broad range we have to offer.’

The company wants to win new customers with electric vehicles that are technically mature, practical in everyday use, safe and affordable.  ‘The electric car cannot be a compromise on wheels, it must convince customers in every respect.’  He added that environmental compatibility and sustainability were increasingly becoming the main purchasing criterion: ‘From the zero-emission city car, through the plug-in hybrid all-rounder to the three-litre sports saloon: it is our customers who decide for themselves just how much e-mobility they want.’  He went on to say that electric-drive vehicles were a key building block for achieving the ambitious climate protection targets, and that the plug-in hybrid had the greatest market potential.

Initially, a total of 14 models from several Group brands will be available with electric or hybrid drive technology in 2014.  If there is sufficient demand, up to 40 new models could be fitted with alternative drivetrains.  Winterkorn underscored that Volkswagen had placed electric mobility ‘at the centre of the Group’: ‘We have developed the know-how for electric motors and battery systems at our own components plants, we have recruited 400 top experts for electric traction and qualified almost 70,000 development, production and service employees in this new technology – the biggest electrification training programme in our industry.’

The Volkswagen Group invests over seven billion euros in research and development each year.  A significant share is spent on developing technologies and components for electric mobility – more than in any other field.

The key to rolling out electric mobility swiftly and efficiently across all brands and vehicle classes is the modular toolkit systems which from the start have been designed for assembling electric drives.  Production in Bratislava, Puebla, Wolfsburg, Leipzig or Ingolstadt can now respond flexibly and at low risk to demand as it arises and can reduce both weight and costs through the use of proven components.

According to Winterkorn, anyone who genuinely takes ecological responsibility seriously goes one step further: ‘We must have a holistic mindset and a comprehensive approach to mobility – from generating energy through development, production, retail and vehicle operation right down to recycling.  Our clear goal, therefore, is to lead with holistic, modern mobility concepts.’

(ends)

 

e-Golf / KT 0514/ rl / mb / 0714rtlrs/0814BG

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