Volkswagen’s pure-electric e-Golf entered the U.S. market five months ago, and is struggling to catch on. In fact, just 668 people have dropped the required $35,445 to take an e-Golf home. By comparison, Nissan found 8,057 Leaf buyers in the same period. So in early March, Volkswagen announced a less expensive trim level for the e-Golf in hopes of spurring interesting and sales.
Known as the Limited Edition, the new trim level carries a starting price that’s nearly $2,000 less than the e-Golf SEL Premium at $33,450, hoping to attract more customers to VW’s plug-in EV by trimming some of the features from the fully-loaded SEL model.
The e-Golf Limited Edition uses the same pure electric drivetrain as the e-Golf SEL. Specifically, that consists of a standard 24.2 kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor with 199 pound-feet of torque along with a 7.2 kW onboard charger. The 24.2 Kwh electric powertrain is good for 115 horses and 199 pound-feet of torque, along with the 83-mile range that results in an EPA-estimated Miles per Gallon of Gasoline Equivalent (MPGe) of 126 city, 105 highway, and 116 combined.
The e-Golf Limited Edition also keeps a host of features from the e-Golf SEL, including:
- DC Fast Charging with the Combined Charging System (CCS) that allows up to 80 percent battery charge in 30 minutes
- Standard 7.2kW onboard charger
- Versatile cargo area, with 22.8 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats; 52.7 cubic feet with seats folded
- Three driving profiles designed to preserve energy (“Normal”, “Eco”, and “Eco+”) and three driver-selectable regeneration
- KESSY keyless access with push-button start
- Navigation system
- LED Daytime Running Lights
- Climatronic automatic dual-zone climate control system
- Electronic parking
- Electrically heated windshield
- Automatic headlights and wipers
- Rearview camera
- Front and rear Park Distance Control
So, what did VW need to delete from the e-Golf SEL in order to reach the lower, $33,450 price point of the e-Golf Limited Edition? These four items:
- Rather than the e-Golf SEL’ 16-inch aluminum wheels, the e-Golf Limited Edition gets 16-inch steel wheels
- The e-Golf Limited Edition makes do with halogen headlamps rather than the SEL’s LED units
- Rather than leatherette seats on the e-Golf SEL, the e-Golf Limited Edition makes do with cloth seats
- The e-Golf SEL has a heat-pump system that helps it control cabin temperature in a more energy-efficient manner, while the e-Golf Limited Edition does away with it entirely
Will the $2,000 savings be enough to entice new buyers for the compact EV, or will the U.S. need to invest some more in its electric vehicle infrastructure? We’ll have to wait and see how the silent EV battle plays out.