Volkswagen has showcased a fully electric four-wheel-drive e-performance Golf R concept car, featuring technology that will underpin future electric cars from the R performance brand, at the GP Ice Race event in Austria this weekend.
The machine is one of a number of motorsport-based machines Volkswagen is running in the showcase event, which takes place around an ice circuit on a frozen airfield in Zell am See. But while other machines either on display or competing include the record-breaking ID R hillclimb machine and a number of Beetles, the Golf R concept – given the designation eR1 - is described by VW motorsport boss Sven Smeets as offering “a view of the future”.
While no technical details of the e-performance Golf R have been released, it is a development of the test mule for the ID R hillclimb car, featuring a development of the twin-motor powertrain from that machine. It will now be used "as an ambassador for future performance cars for Volkswagen R”. The R division is working on a high performance ID 3 R, which is expected to be launched by 2024.
Volkswagen R boss Jost Capito said the eR1 was "not built to any race regulations, and it's not intended to race - but we'll use it to get experience of electric performance cars and to do fun stuff with the car to showcase the technology." That will include promotional events in both Europe and the US.
Capito said that the eR1 moniker was chosen deliberately to highlight that the performance division's intent that "there will be more. If we call it 1, then there will be a 2."
The car uses a Golf TCR touring car shell, albeit fitted with an electric four-wheel drive system more akin to a rallycross machine. VW previously developed the powertrain for the 671bhp twin-motor ID R hillclimb car by running it in a Golf TCR. It is also unlikely that any electric performance powertrain will make it into either a production or competition car in a Golf, with VW focusing on its ID line for full electric vehicles.