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Six-Month e-Golf Road Test: Why We're Doing It

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The all-new 2015 Volkswagen Golf is one of the best packaged compact hatchbacks on the market; and its combination of nimble, responsive driving performance and a very smooth, refined ride make a standout in its class.

Surprisingly, we can say the same so far of the Volkswagen e-Golf, the all-electric version of the Golf that went on sale late last year. Based on a few brief drives—one in which we compared it with the gutsy, high-mileage TDI—we understand some of the appeal of the e-Golf, as a zippy, tailpipe-emissions-free city vehicle, good for the commute, weekend errands, and pretty much anything but longer road trips.

To help confirm some of our speculation of whether an electric car like the e-Golf is up for all the daily-driving tasks, we’ve taken delivery of one—a 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium, adding up to an MSRP of $36,265.

Of course the federal $7,500 tax credit will lower the effective price of the model we have to $28,765, and then other state or local incentives may further lower the price. And leasing may actually present the best deal.

Over the next six months, in coverage here and at our companion publication Green Car Reports, we’re going to look at some of the ins and outs of electric-car ownership—including driving range, charging ease, and the overall ownership costs of an electric car.

Brilliantly packaged, perky-driving—but will the range satisfy?

We already appreciate how Volkswagen managed to package its 24.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack under the floor in a way that keeps the Golf’s excellent packaging—fold-flat rear seatbacks and all. And we love how it feels so light; it actually tips the scales at a little bit less than the Golf TDI.

The Volkswagen e-Golf’s 24.2-kWh battery pack is roughly the same capacity of that used in the Nissan Leaf, and it accommodates about the same range: 83 miles by EPA estimates. We hope to test that range, putting the e-Golf to use in daily driving in a wide range of conditions, and pushiing the boundaries with some rapid driving as well as some especially efficiency-minded time.

The e-Golf includes Combined Charging System (CCS) fast-charging, capable of bringing its battery pack up to an 80 percent charge in about a half-hour. For now, there aren’t many of those chargers in the Pacific Northwest and around Portland, Oregon, where we’ll be running the e-Golf. We’ll have to plan ahead for its 20-hour charge time on a standard 110-volt AC outlet, but its full charge time of about six hours on 240V (Level 2) isn’t bad at all.

We look forward to doing several thousand miles of quiet, all-electric motoring in the e-Golf in the next few months, comparing it to other electric cars along the way, and bringing you plenty of updates on the car’s features and details and on the ownership experience. Considering the e-Golf? Leave us your questions and requests, and we’ll do our best to get you what you need to make a smart decision.

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