Volkswagen presented its electric mobility vision to some very high-profile guests in Berlin this week. German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and transport minister Dr. Peter Ramsauer were treated to a closer look at the 93 mile (150 km) range Golf blue-e-motion, which is set for fleet testing next year ahead of a planned 2013 launch.
The Golf blue-e-motion concept car is powered by a 85 kW, front mounted electric motor which delivers 270 Nm maximum torque and a top speed of 87 mph (140 kmh) and acceleration of 0-100 kmh in 11.8 seconds.
With charging supplemented by regenerative braking, the 26.5 kW h battery is situated in the bootspace (leaving 237 liters for your luggage) and under the rear seat and has a separate air cooling system. Despite the weight of the batteries (1,545 kilograms), VW says the overall weight of the concept is only marginally heavier (around 200 kg) than a comparable Golf BlueMotion TDI.
Volkswagen plans to use the well-know Golf brand name to crack-open the e-vehicle market. Drivetrain and energy storage testing will take place via a fleet of 500 test cars. Mass production launch of electric Golf and Jetta models, along with the company's E-up! city car, is set for 2013.
Volkswagen points out some compelling stats for the uptake of electric vehicles in urban areas:
"According to the German Federal Statistical Office, 6 of every 10 people in the workforce commute by car – on average 45.8 percent drive less than 10 kilometres (one-way commute), another 28.1 percent between 10 and 25 kilometres and 16.2 percent over 25 kilometres. The Golf blue-e-motion can also handle the driving ranges typically covered by many service providers. In short-distance driving, the zero-emissions Golf offers a sustainable solution to private users as well."
VW's plans for mass production of electric vehicles sit well with the German government's commitment to the sector. The "National Development Plan for Electric Mobility" has set the ambitious goal of one million electric vehicles on the roads in 2020, and VW hopes that its badge will figure prominently.
The involvement of government also turns attention to the often ignored "long-tailpipe." For green motoring to be truly eco-friendly, the energy that goes into the batteries needs to come from a renewable source.
"Future electric cars give us enormous opportunities for reshaping mobility to be even more sustainable," said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. "When it comes to the environment, however, we must ensure that the energy used to operate these electric cars is produced from renewable sources. Since automotive manufacturers do not have any influence on the types of power plants that are built, the federal government must ensure that eco-friendly energy sources are utilised. Only then will we experience a genuine transition to a new era."
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