What is it?
It’s the Volkswagen Golf blue-e-motion, an all-electric, plug-in version of the firm’s trademark family hatchback that will be in a dealership near you in 2013.
The Golf blue-e-motion’s electric motor has a maximum output of 85kW (114bhp), but it can produce continuous power of 50kW (67bhp); it also has 199lb ft of torque, can reach 84mph and crack 0-62mph in 11.8sec.
The motor is fuelled by a 180-cell lithium ion battery pack, mounted in the transmission tunnel, under the rear seat and beneath the boot floor.
It gives the car a range of 150km, or 93 miles. VW claims that is more than sufficient for the vast majority of consumers; it quotes stats from Germany, saying that almost 46 per cent of motorists have a one-way commute of less than 10km (six miles), and a further 28.1 per cent are between 10km and 25km (16 miles).
VW has worked hard to keep the concept’s weight reined in, but it’s still hefty; the electric motor weighs 80kg, the battery modules weigh 315kg, and the whole car comes in at around 205kg more than a regular Bluemotion TDI with DSG transmission.
What’s it like?
You’re going to hear this more and more when it comes to electric vehicles, but here goes: extremely normal.
Stick the single-speed transmission in D, apply a modest amount of throttle and the Golf eases away with just a little whine from the electric motor. That instant torque is never far away, mind; the front wheels will happily light up if you apply full throttle in the hottest mode - and it doesn’t feel 205kg heavier than a regular Golf.
The car has three power profiles that control the output of the electric motor. ‘Comfort+’ offers the full 85kW, ‘Normal’ reduces this to 65kW, and ‘Range+’ limits power to 50kW and turns off the air conditioning system. The selected mode is visible in the Golf’s multifunction display between the instrument dials.
In normal cruising there’s little to choose between the three settings; I’d be tempted on a typical morning trundle into town to select Range+ and get an extra few miles on one charge. A kickdown function does provide the full power if called upon, incidentally; it’s a safety feature.