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LA show: Australia not ready for electric VW e-Golf

Power ranges: Volkswagen has increased the driving range of its all-electric e-Golf small car to 200kms by upping battery energy capacity to 35.8kWh.

Updated Volkswagen e-Golf EV revealed at LA, but not yet on the cards for Australia

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Volkswagen logo18 Nov 2016

By TUNG NGUYEN

VOLKSWAGEN has plugged into the Los Angeles motor show with an updated e-Golf pure electric vehicle (EV), but the emissions-free hatchback is unlikely to make it to Australia any time soon.

Speaking to GoAuto, Volkswagen Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Paul Pottinger said the priority for the German car-making giant was to bring in a plug-in hybrid performance Golf first before the all-electric version.

“What we are working hard on is the GTE, the plug-in hybrid that would be the more immediate prospect,” he said.

“The rest of the Golf range is launching here in late-June or early-July, 2017.

The GTE won’t be part of that immediately, but we are hoping to secure it shortly thereafter.

“The e-Golf would certainly be in the longer term, as of course the electrification of the whole range, that’s something that applies to us globally.

“In terms of Australia, eventually, yes (for the e-Golf).”

Mr Pottinger said one of the biggest difficulties in bringing an electrified Golf to Australia is the low demand for EVs.

“People are going to have to want them, EVs have thus far been quite marginal and there’s not a lot of infrastructure to support them,” he said.

“We’re ready, Volkswagen is clearly ready, but it’s a broader question of getting with the program as a country.”

The new e-Golf features a revised battery, increasing energy capacity from 23.2kW per hour to 35.8kWh, resulting in an increased driving range of about 50 per cent, or 200km of real world driving.

This would be enough to get the e-Golf from Melbourne to Apollo Bay in a single charge, depending on the use of air-conditioning, radio and traffic and weather conditions.

The new battery has also increased power and torque figures by 15kW and 20Nm respectively, for a combined output of 100kW/290Nm, reducing the zero to 100km/h sprint time from 10.4 seconds to 9.6s. Top speed has been lifted from 140km/h to 150km/h.

Compatible quick-charge stations will fill the e-Golf to 80 per cent in 60 minutes or, through a conventional power outlet, will charge to full capacity in less than six hours.

The new e-Golf features the same styling updates as the rest of the recently revealed Golf range, with new LED tail-lights, Volkswagen’s green-car blue grille stripe extending into the headlights, and revised front and rear bumper designs.

Volkswagen has also added gesture controls to the 9.2-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, which, according to the German car-maker, takes just “a hand swipe gesture to move the horizontally arranged menu items to the left or right, allowing the driver to navigate through the main menu, change radio stations, or browse through the playlist or music album covers”.

Sitting behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch colour display for instrumentation, with all information including speed, driving range and battery charge on display, which can also be customised to show navigation, music and phone call information.

Increased safety technology is also included with the e-Golf, including the addition of Traffic Jam Assist – a semi-autonomous driving mode up to 60km/h to help in heavy traffic congestion – and pedestrian monitoring with autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

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