Volkswagen E-Golf test fleet

Volkswagen will bring an electric version of its Golf small car, called the E-Golf, to U.S. dealerships as a 2014 model. The automaker will also launch a nine-month, 20-car test fleet program starting next month to assess the E-Golf’s performance, features and charging capabilities.

Though VW hasn’t announced the official launch date for the E-Golf in America, Automotive News spoke with Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Jonathan Browning at the Geneva Motor Show, who said the E-Golf would likely launch in late 2013 as a 2014 model in limited markets before being sold nationwide.

Volkswagen says in a statement that it expects the E-Golf to travel 93 miles on a fully-charged battery. The E-Golf’s electric motor will be powered by a lithium-ion battery, which VW says will produce 199 pound-feet of torque, though the automaker did not say how much horsepower the plug-in electric car will make.

Volkswagen hasn’t said how long the E-Golf will take to charge, but Volkswagen employees who are participating in the test fleet program will have a 220-volt charging station installed at their home to evaluate all aspects of the battery charging process. Complete pricing and specs have not been released.

According to preliminary data from the EPA, the E-Golf will have a top speed of 84 mph, a range of 90 miles and 115 horsepower. The EPA notes that data on its site for upcoming electric vehicles could change at any time, and is more of a prediction because it is based on information from the manufacturer and reliable news sources.

The E-Golf will be VW’s first all-electric car, but it is not VW’s first green car. The automaker introduced the Jetta Hybrid at the Detroit Auto Show in January, and currently sells a Touareg Hybrid. Volkswagen is also known for its fuel-efficient turbocharged direct injection (TDI) clean diesel engines, which are currently available on the Jetta, Passat, Touareg, Golf and Jetta SportWagen.

“The automaker expects just three percent of its new vehicles to be EVs or hybrids by 2018,” Autoblog reports.

The four-door Volkswagen E-Golf will seat five and compete with other small electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i, Ford Focus Electric and Smart ForTwo Electric Drive.  

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