Volkswagen AG’s (FRA:VOW) American subsidiary announced Monday the price of the next electric car to hit the U.S. market. With a basic cost of $36,265, the 2015 e-Golf due in some U.S. dealer showrooms in November will bring to the country’s electric vehicle, or EV, market a new price point between the less-than-$30,000 Nissan Leaf and the more-than-$40,000 BMW i3.
Built on the same platform as all forthcoming normally powered Golfs, Volkswagen’s entry into the EV segment is a battery-powered e-Golf with a 24 kilowatt-hour, or kWh, lithium-ion battery pack that the automaker claims will get 85 miles per charge, or mpc. And its battery is the same size as the one in the Nissan Leaf, the bestselling electric car in automotive history. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has yet to verify VW’s claim, but if it’s true, the e-Golf would squeeze out a little more range when compared with the 84 mpc of the most recent Leaf or the 81 mpc of the BMW i3.
The e-Golf is available with different specifications and trims in Europe, but U.S. buyers will be given one choice, the top-end SEL trim that includes a heated windshield, light-emitting diode headlights and a touch-screen dashboard interface. The charger can top off 80 percent of the battery in 30 minutes via a combined charging system, or CCS, home-charging outlet. The car has a few more features than does the Nissan Leaf, and Volkswagen clearly is hoping to lure prospective Leaf buyers to spend a few thousand dollars more to upgrade to German engineering.
Volkswagen’s entry into the EV market will be limited to a few key U.S. markets, and considering the lackluster embrace of electric cars, it may never be as widely available as Nissan’s electric hatchback. Until there’s an affordable, diminutive EV with a more appealing range, small electric cars will be a niche market for green-machine fans.