New to Volkswagen Canada’s lineup for 2017 is the brand’s first all-electric model, the e-Golf, which is, as its name suggests, a battery-powered version of the well-known Golf hatchback.
VW is a few years late to the EV party in Canada, but in delaying the car’s launch here by two years versus the U.S., the car makes a more impressive entrance thanks to a few important improvements compared to the 2016 model.
For one, the 2017 e-Golf boasts a driving range of a shade over 200 km, a 50 per cent increase over the 2016 model sold in the U.S., and there’s also an upgraded drive motor making 136 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque, both figures marking a notable bump.
Cars like this are very likely the future of hyper-efficient motoring for VW fans, as the diesel scandal that erupted in the fall of 2015 has more or less torpedoed the company’s desire to continue developing its diesel engines, which were sweet performers but, as we learned, were not the cleaning-running environmental saviours VW had us believe.
Electricity is the darling power source of the eco-conscious crowd now, and Volkswagen seems all too happy to jump on the bandwagon currently being towed by the likes of Tesla at the high end of the market, and more affordable EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Ioniq.
The Golf already has a strong and largely positive reputation in the marketplace (aside from the dirty diesel problem), so it makes good sense for VW to makes its EV debut with a recognizable nameplate and body shape, rather than with something all new. And the Golf already drives like a car a class above its compact status, so swapping in a smooth and silent electric drivetrain will up this car’s refinement quotient significantly.
In entry-level trim, the E-Golf comes standard with an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, passive keyless entry, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated cloth seats, heated windshield, LED headlights and taillights, backup camera and rain-sensing wipers.
Options include standalone leather seats; a tech package brings a larger touchscreen with gesture control and wireless smartphone/tablet integration; and a driver assistant group brings active safety features like blind spot warning, adaptive cruise, collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane assist, park assist and an all-digital configurable gauge cluster that looks and functions much like Audi’s virtual cockpit.
The E-Golf won’t be available Canada-wide right away: VW is doing a soft-launch that will see dealers in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and BC get the car first; it’s no surprise that plan includes the provinces that have the best electric vehicle rebates in the country. Volkswagen’s future plans for the car will be based on its sales performance in those jurisdictions.