Volkswagen's doing a lot of work in building a future lineup of electric vehicles, a lot of which went into developing an electric race car that set a record at the Pikes Peak hill climb race in Colorado in the summer of 2018, but so far it has just one battery-powered vehicle to offer the general public.
That car is the e-Golf, a version of the brand's popular compact hatchback that replaces turbocharged gas engines with an electric motor and a big battery pack that promises 200 km of driving range. For 2019, the e-Golf carries over unchanged save for a barely noticeably updated front bumper and an extended exterior paint palette that now includes 40(!) colours.
The e-Golf's powertrain boasts 136 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque, so between that and its driving range, this isn't the leading edge of electric driving, but it's the most energy-efficient VW you can buy in the wake of the company's diesel emissions scandal.
Where Hyundai and Chevrolet (among others) have launched dedicated EV models (the Ioniq and Bolt, respectively), VW opted to lean on the Golf's already strong reputation to help boost its electric aspirations.
The e-Golf skips the three-door body style that serves as the base configuration for gas models and comes only as a five-door that's 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.
VW will let you option an e-Golf with 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.
As we alluded to above, Volkswagen faces a fair bit of competition for the e-Golf. The most significant is the Chevrolet Bolt with its nearly 400-km driving range, while the Hyundai Ioniq which matches the VW's driving range, and the Ford Focus EV promises about 185 km.
Volkswagen's energy consumption estimates are competitive with other entry-level EVs, at 1.9/2.1 Le/100 km (city/highway).