Volkswagen last week started testing a battery-electric version of its Golf hatchback in the San Francisco Bay Area as the German automaker looks to test about 20 of its so-called "Golf Blue-e-motion" vehicles on U.S. roads, said.

VW, whose Electronic Research Laboratory is in Belmont, CA, will test a vehicle whose battery pack can be split into a few sections in order to better balance the car, the website said. The 114-horsepower plug-in can accelerate from 0 to 62 miles per hour in about 12 seconds and has a top speed of 87 miles per hour as well as a single-charge range of about 90 miles.

VW, which hasn't announced official plans to start selling the battery-electric Golf, said earlier this month that it would start selling a Golf plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in 2015. That model will likely pair a 1.4-liter turbocharged gas engine with a 107-horsepower electric motor and will be able to go as far as 30 miles in electric-only mode. VW will unveil a Golf PHEV concept vehicle at the Paris Motor Show this September, according to

In late 2010, VW unveiled the Golf Blue e-motion in Germany and said at the time that the prototype had a single-charge range of about 100 miles and that the range would be "significantly improved" by the time the model was sold to the public in 2014 (read this for our first-drive review).

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