More Car Companies Set to Produce Electric Vehicles
Last year proved to be a great year for electric vehicles. Sales of plug-in and battery electric vehicles jumped from 52,835 in 2012 to 96,702 in 2013, according to statistics gathered by the Electric Drive Transportation Association. In spite of falling gas prices and problems besieging some electric vehicle makers (notably Tesla’s fire troubles), electric vehicles remain the hot ticket for eco-friendly motoring.
Volkswagen isn’t a name that most people associate with electric vehicles, but that’s all set to change shortly. The German automobile manufacturer has plenty of electric aces up its sleeve in the form of several new vehicles in various stages of development. The following takes a brief look at what VW has in store for EV buyers for 2014 and beyond.
Going All In
Despite ever-increasing gains in efficiency made by gasoline powered engines, Volkswagen has made it clear that it wants to be “the leader in electrification,” as stated by Volkswagen Group’s Dr. Rudolf Krebs during a recent presentation in Belmont, California. Krebs also revealed the company’s goal of having plug-in electric cars represent three percent of Volkswagen Group sales by 2018.
The company is relying heavily on its four-platform strategy – MQB (small cars), MLB (midsize cars), MSB (premium/sports cars) and NSF (minicars) – to quickly and economically develop upcoming and future offerings across the board. The flexible nature of VW’s automotive platforms makes it possible to develop pure electric, flex-fuel or plug-in hybrid variants of each offering.
Vehicles to Look Out For
First on Volkswagen Group’s electrification roadmap is the VW e-Golf, a plug-in electric variant of the seventh-generation Golf. According to VW, the e-Golf can be brought up to an 80-percent charge in just 30 minutes with the use of a DC Fast Charging station. If you’re looking forward to driving an electric Volkswagen in Phoenix but have a touch of range anxiety, you can relax. That’s because Phoenix is one of several cities throughout the U.S. that’s actively expanding the number of electric vehicle charging stations available to EV drivers under the Department of Energy-funded EV Project. There are over 524 charging stations alone in the Phoenix area, and several dozen stations located centrally downtown, according to the most recent information from ECOtality’s Blink Network.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group has plenty of other electric hybrid offerings in the pipeline, including the exotic Porsche 918 Spyder. The Spyder’s claim to fame is its ability to achieve an estimated 78 miles per gallon and travel up to 16 miles solely on electric power. It also remains capable of reaching 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.2 seconds, according to Porsche’s press release on the 918 Spyder. Volkswagen Group also has electric hybrid variants of the Audi Q7, A3, A6 and A8 lined up for 2014 and 2015, as well as hybrid variants of the Golf and Passat.
One battery electric vehicle from VW you might not see on these shores is the E-Up!. The E-Up! is the fully electric follow-up to the Up! minicar. With floor-mounted lithium-ion batteries and an 80-horsepower electric motor, the E-Up! offers a range of up to 81 miles and accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 11.3 seconds, according to Car and Driver. Unfortunately, the E-Up! and other members of the Up! minicar family are strictly for European consumption.