VW Unveils Big Plug-In Plans: Electric Golf, Jetta and Up! City Car to Go Global in 2013

Over the last year we’ve seen and heard rather vague hints of Volkswagen’s strategy when it comes to electric cars, including the debut of their Up! city car concept last year in Frankfurt and then indications that it would be released at some point in the future along with another larger electric car meant for general use.

In the last couple of days, however, Volkswagen has presented a solidified plan for their ambitious electric vehicle rollout, and it appears that 2013 is the big year for VW plug-ins. It will start with the introduction of a production version of the Up!, followed by an electric Golf and an electric Jetta later in the year. The vehicles will see near simultaneous rollouts in Germany, North America and other key markets (presumably most of Europe).

All of VW’s new plug-ins will be labeled with the ‘Blue-E-Motion’ moniker to set them apart from their non-electric ilk. Details are sparse right now, but apparently the Golf Blue-E-Motion will be based on the current sixth generation Golf (Mark VI as it’s known in the industry) and will have an in-house designed “single-gear” gearbox driving the front wheels powered by a 115 HP electric motor mounted in the front.

The whole system will get juice from a 26.5 kWh lithium ion battery pack that VW is saying will provide a range of 93 miles. As with many of these new plug-ins, the battery pack is mounted underneath the floor of the car to keep the center of gravity low. Although the Golf Blue-E-Motion is a bit of a porker at 3,406 lbs., VW says that it will still get from 0-62 mph in under 12 seconds and have a top speed limited to 87 mph. 500 prototypes of the electric Golf will be built for a internal testing in 2011.

No news on the the electric Jetta yet, but in the past VW has said the tiny Up! city car will be equivalent in size to a Smart ForTwo and have an 18 kWh battery, an 83 mile range, a 0-60 time of 11.3 seconds, and a top speed of 84 mph.

I’ll be watching intently to see what kind of price points these cars have when they go on sale in 3 years. By then the Nissan LEAF, Volt and Mitsubishi i-MiEV will have had lots of time to get their toes wet in the EV market and battery prices should be steadily declining.

Source: Automotive News (subs. req’d)

Nick Chambers

Not your traditional car guy.