Back in the early '80s, VAG-group cars had a formula to save gasoline which was called "E" and was used for large cars such as the VW Passat or the Audi 100. The trick was a button on the steering wheel that turned off the engine at traffic lights. The engine came back to life when engaging first gear. Sound familiar? Basically, this is what modern Stop/Start systems perform automatically. However, the 1981 Golf E with a stick shift of 3+E gears, could only save fuel with improved aerodynamics on the A-pillars, narrower tires and a fuel economy display that also suggested when to switch gears. The engines? A whopping 50hp gasoline or a 54hp atmospheric diesel.
Regarding EVs, Volkswagen introduced an all-electric Golf in 1995. Called the "City Stromer" (City Electric), it really showed the effects of the 16 massive (and, at 480kg, heavy) lead-acid batteries that fed the 24hp motor: 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) took 27 seconds. After some additional research, we found that this Golf could only carry 4 people, used a SIEMENS three-phase alternating current synchronous motor with permanent magnet excitation which was water cooled. Performance is far from a Tesla Roadster's: maximum speed of 100 km/h, and a range of 70 km in summer and 40 in winter. But it had brake energy recovery, and those numbers aren't too terrible, right? We even found a video of this one after the jump (in Czech).