Volkswagen e-Up! and e-Golf First Look

Volkswagen will show off two electric hatchbacks at its Frankfurt Motor Show stand, the e-Up! and the e-Golf. Both are headed toward series production at some point in the future, and Volkswagen board member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg previously told us both offer impressive real-world performance.

All the parts for both cars, including the electric motors and the lithium-ion batteries, are built by Volkswagen. With touchscreen navigation, automatic climate control, and LED running lights as standard, the cars aren’t stripped-out green machines. The e-Golf even adds full-LED headlights as standard, a first for the Volkswagen brand. Both cars have two driving modes, Eco and Eco+, as well as four modes for the regenerative braking that drivers can use to optimize efficiency. A fast charger will allow the Volkswagen e-Up! and e-Golf to be charged to 80 percent capacity in about four hours.

The Volkswagen e-Up! has been in the cards ever since the tiny Up! hatchback debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Its 18.7-kWh battery stores enough energy for a 99-mile driving range per charge. The electric motor delivers 81 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, enough for a leisurely 12.4-second run to 62 mph and a top speed of 81 mph. Volkswagen thinks the driving range, which is roughly on par with most other affordable full-electric cars, is adequate, citing a study that showed 80 percent of Germans drive fewer than 31 miles daily.

The Volkswagen e-Golf (which we previously drove when it was called the Golf Blue e-Motion) has a larger battery pack that provides a longer range, as well as a more powerful motor to compensate for the car's larger size. Its 24.2-kWh battery enables a range of 118 miles, while motor outputs of 113 hp and 199 lb-ft result in a 10.4-second run to 62 mph and a maximum speed of 87 mph.

Volkswagen has already announced plans to create a small test fleet of 20 cars in the U.S. (of which 12 are leased to VW employees) to see how the e-Golf performs in everyday use. Based on this, we can probably expect to see the Volkswagen e-Golf on sale in the U.S. market sometime after it launches in Europe. The e-Up! will not make its way stateside, given that the standard Volkswagen Up! isn't available here, but it will be offered to European drivers.

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