E-Specially Electric: Volkswagen Details U.S.-Spec 2015 e-Golf [2013 L.A. Auto Show]

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen’s early info dump on the next-generation Golf, which isn’t due here until sometime next year as a 2015 model, has left us with a significant waiting period before we actually get the car. Something tells us VW is aware of this scenario, which has the potential to stagnate interest in its zesty new hatchback before it ever hits our shores, and thus is bringing the electrified 2015 Golf to the 2013 L.A. auto show to keep customer intrigue brewing. That the auto show services a state that likely will be buying up the majority of U.S.-bound e-Golfs probably also helped motivate VW to bring the car to SoCal.

So what’s the difference between the L.A.-destined e-Golf and the one Volkswagen debuted earlier this year at the Frankfurt auto show? Not a whole lot, really: The U.S.-spec car gets the same 115 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, the same 24.2-kWh lithium-ion battery, and even the same cosmetic enhancements, including full-LED headlights and blue-colored trim inside and out. One major change occurred during the e-Golf’s trip over the Atlantic, however, and it concerns the car’s range. In Frankfurt, VW boasted that the e-Golf could whir around for up to 118 miles at a time before needing a charge; now, range has been reduced to between 70 and 90 miles. This change likely came about after VW initiated testing for EPA certification; we were told the original figure was based on the optimistic European testing cycle.

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf

In the end, the range reduction is hardly damning, given that VW’s revised estimates still put the e-Golf in the thick of the compact-EV segment. (The EPA has christened the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric, the Fiat 500E, and the Fit EV with range estimates of 75 miles, 76, 87, and 82, respectively.) Volkswagen hasn’t released pricing for the car yet, but we know the company is aiming to be price-competitive with the e-Golf’s key competitors, the Leaf and the Focus. Browsing the list of standard features, which includes a touch-screen navigation system, a backup camera, Park Distance Control, keyless access with push-button start, heated front seats, V-Tex leatherette seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, we’re thinking VW might be bogeying the better-equipped versions of the Nissan and Ford, meaning a mid-$30,000 price tag wouldn’t be surprising.

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Bolstering the car’s potential value, VW will offer a unique solution for customers’ potential range anxiety that incorporates the company’s Roadside Assistance program. Should owners run out of juice within 100 miles of their home, VW Roadside Assistance will “deliver” the car to the closest charging source and “even pay the customer to take a taxi home or to work” should they not want to wait for the battery to charge. The best part? This plan covers unlimited events, meaning you could run out of steam over and over again—at least within the warranty period, during which the e-Golf–specific service will be free of charge. We’ll find out how the e-Golf performs closer to its on-sale date late next year. As is its competitor from Ford, the VW will be offered only in as yet unspecified “select” states, which you can bet includes California and other coastal regions.

2015 Volkswagen e-Golf photo gallery

2013 LA auto show

About Alexander Stoklosa