• Apr 27th 2010 at 8:01AM
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Volkswagen e-up! concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Our German is not quite as good as it once was. Truth is, our understanding of the language is limited to Google translations. With that aside, a news agency in Germany is reporting that Volkswagen has shaken up plans for its upcoming electric vehicles. According to the DPA, one of Germany's independent news groups, the first mass-produced electric vehicle (EV) from the company will be the e-Golf scheduled for 2013 followed by the e-up! and the e-Jetta.

This scheduling departs from previous reports stating that VW would release a small test fleet of e-Golfs followed by the e-up!, then a mass-produced e-Golf and finally an e-Jetta. The DPA points to corporate circles as the source for this information adding that the Golf is the company's most important product and, fittingly, should be first in line for the electric setup. As stated by the DPA, VW had to go with the Golf first or risk being flushed right out of the market by stiff competition in the compact segment coming soon. If your German is up to par, follow the link and see if there's any more insight to glean from the report. If not, our take on it is probably close enough. Hat tip to Jan!

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dan, I respectfully disagree. When the other automakers see what the Nissan leaf is achieving in dominance (mainly because they are the first practical EV to hit the showroom) and the market share they are gaining, they'll get serious. Stockholders love it when the company gains market share, but hate it when they lose market share, and they hold whichever Jackass that's in charge responsible. Time will tell if you are right on this one (and you could be). Of course I am just guessing here (as are you).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmmmmnnn. Quite frankly I would have liked it if VW had pushed the e-up faster and in larger numbers.

      A Golf is not a lightweight car in that class and will need alot of batteries (heavy) to give it what it needs. Good luck to VW with this, the more EV's out there the better.
      • 5 Years Ago
      German guy here... your understanding of the article is pretty spot on. There's not much else to gather from it. Maybe that they've partnered with Toshiba, Sanyo and BYD for battery development.

      I'm not surprised at this change of strategy, frankly, though I'm not terribly thrilled by it.
      I'm pretty certain they ran into packaging problems with the up!, so they chose the larger Golf platform. But I'm neither convinced that they can integrate a BEV drivetrain well into an ICE chassis (and a heavy one at that) nor that they can sell them, at least not in Europe. That segment of the market just isn't particularly suitable for EVs right now, not to mention the fact in the last few years they've gone to great lengths to convince people of the superiority of diesels.

      Not that the up! would have been any better. If they had sticked to the original concept, i.e. lightweight RR layout urban commuter, it could have worked, but the production version has turned into barely more than an updated Fox.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am really surprised to hear you say that EVs are not suitable for Europe. From my perspective, Canada, I think Europe provides the world's best market for EVs. Generally driving distances are shorter than over here, gas prices are twice, there are huge anti-gas taxes making EVs very price competitive. EVs are not economically justifiable in NA, just a desire to wean us off foreign oil and reduce pollution. So why unsuitable for Europe?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Although I do indeed like the Golf better then the Jetta, I still see and records show the Jetta out sells the Golf in North America and we would still probaly see and electric Jetta before the Golf here anyways.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Only a few months ago the VW CEO was saying that EV`s are a dream, a long way off and that there are none close to market availability yet .... I guess they ate their words.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have a feeling VW will need a few more corporate shake ups.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Mini E is not a good example of a conversion. The mini is very heavy, has a large pack as a result and gives up the entire back seat. The same pack and drive in a lighter or more suitable chassis would have worked. Not a good example.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Considering the popularity of the golf, and how many variants are built on the platform, this makes sense. The Golf will also better compete (size wise) with the Leaf. Nothing like competition to improve the product.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The change of tack seems to me to be due to two factors.
      The first is that the Leaf is happening, and VW realizes that they have to get a move on.
      The second is that their battery supplier is telling them that they can produce batteries which will do the job to their specs.
      Toshiba has made astonishing progress in their batteries:

      The 20ah battery due in 2011 gives 240wh/kg and has excellent longevity.

      A pack of 30-35kwh should give a genuine range of 200km in this sort of car, and 124 miles is surprisingly more useful than 100, as even in cold weather (especially with lithium titanate batteries, with very good performance in the cold) with the heater going full blast not many will have range problems for everyday use.
      Don't count on the weight of the EV Golf being the same as at present either, as they are in the forefront of weight reduction:

      So it is not VW that has changed, but the batteries available to them.

        • 5 Years Ago
        " 20ah at 12v in the 1kg pack is 240wh/kg"

        LOL !
        • 5 Years Ago
        " 20ah at 12v in the 1kg pack is 240wh/kg"

        LOL !
        • 5 Years Ago
        according to Wiki:
        'The energy capacity of a battery is usually expressed indirectly in ampere hours; to convert watt hours (W·h) to ampere hour (A·h), the watt hour value must be divided by the voltage of the power source. This value is approximate since the voltage is not constant during discharge of a battery.[10]'

        If you know better, how about enlightening us, instead of trying to be a smart-ass?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Where do you get that mythical 240 Wh/kg from? The link you provided shows 51 Wh/kg. Toshiba's claim to fame is that by using Altairnano's Lithium-Titanate design, it has many thousands of re-charge cycles, can produce high instantaneous power, and is safe. However the trade-off has been low energy density. LGChem's lithium-polymer-manganese are just over 200 Wh/kg (as used in the Volt),and Panasonic Li-ion cells as just announced for Tesla are about 250 Wh/kg.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It helps if you read the link:
        'Now in production are high energy density 4.2 Ah cells. Additionally, Toshiba is aggressively pursuing a product roadmap focused on further increasing SCiB™ capacity, energy density, and power density. 20 Ah cells with the same characteristics will be available in 2011.'

        20ah at 12v in the 1kg pack is 240wh/kg
      • 5 Years Ago
      in general I'd say that any date further out than 2 years from an automaker is a lie.
      and if it's shorter than 2 years it's also a lie : ) the premise is that you the people can't remember more than 3 weeks back and that's if it's really important to you. otherwise your memory is a few seconds. so they make a lot of announcements they don't mean in order to pacify you. I'm sorry to say it's working.
      VW promised us hybrids by 2008 and the VW 1L by 2010. VW is a bunch of lying douche bags. so what else is new..

      as for the merit of the very hypothetical decision to go with the Golf first, here's the thing and this is the absolute truth, no EV or REEV will truly be succesful until the change to the drive train from ICE to EV is matched by equal improvement in the weight and aerodynamics of the car. one obvious way is an aerodynamic ultra light fiber glass car. (not to be confused with being small) something like the GM ultralite concept car or the kia ray shape.
      the reason that's important in this context is that the premise of holding on to the Golf is thus null and void. they need a new car if it has to work for the long run. and it will be a huge succes whether it's called golf or not.

      mark my words. write it on a post it and hang it on the wall. keep a timeline so you can plot the lies.

      but knowing how stupid and obtuse the car makers are this will likely not happen for another 10 years. and in 3 years we'll be in big doodoo from rising oil prices and of course the car makers didn't the see the obvious coming and it will be problematic years as a result. possibly a substantial 5 year depression of world economy. if you thought the financial crisis was bad, imagine what a lack of gasoline will do..
      and the shithead automakers take about 4 years to do anything new and that's under good financial conditions. imagine if noone can afford buying new cars..
      2012-2016 can become quite interesting. good will come of it but might well be a huge pita during the transition.
      sigh what a world. o fools who run it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        it's not so much that it's built from scratch, it's that energy efficiency is the premise, vis a vis ultra light weight and aerodynamic. it's certainly possible to electrify the current heavy cars as the Volt, Leaf and iMiev shows but the EV just shines that much more when it's much lighter so it's quicker and can do the same with smaller battery.
        an EV done right like that will just murder the competition
        • 5 Years Ago
        Of course a BEV designed from the ground up is best, but aside from removing the back seat, the MINI-E proves that it is possible to electrify a pre-existing car with acceptable results.
      • 5 Years Ago
      EV hold out VW seems to be jumping in with both feet now.
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