VW is on a charge

Bobby Cheetham

VOLKSWAGEN will be unveiling two electric vehicles at next week's 65th International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt which will feature ground-breaking technology.

The global premieres of high-volume production versions of the e-Golf and e-up! will be the stars of the show.

One of the drawbacks of electric vehicles has been the charging time it takes to replenish a flat battery pack with most vehicles taking between five and seven hours.

Not so with the zero emissions Volkswagen e-Golf and e-up!

Volkswagen say the two vehicles will take only 30 minutes to recharge the battery pack up to 80% capacity when coupled to combined charging system (CCS) stations (direct current).

The long charging time has previously been a major drawback of electric vehicles – now in the time it takes to make a cup of coffee and have a smoke, the EVs should be ready to get back on the road again – a big plus for Volkswagen!

The vehicles will have up to a 190km driving range and feature LED headlights as standard.

The e-up! can drive 160km on one battery charge (18.7 kWh), while the e-Golf with its larger battery (24.2 kWh) has a range of 190km.

In Germany, studies by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development found that about 80% of all car drivers travel fewer than 50km daily.

So what's under the bonnet, and floor, of the Volkswagen EVs?

The e-Golf is driven by a 85kW electric motor which produces its maximum drive torque of 270Nm as soon as it starts off.

The results – the front-wheel drive e-Golf reaches 100km/h in 10.4 seconds, not earth shattering but acceptable!

On a motorway, the speed of the five-seater Golf is electronically limited to 140km/h.

The four-seater e-up! is powered by a electric motor which produces 60kW.

This motor transmits 210Nm of torque to the driven front axle from a standstill. It completes the sprint to 100km/h in 12.4 seconds. Top speed is 130km/h.

The battery packs are positioned under the floors of the vehicles.

One of the challenges faced by engineers has been the inclusion of energy draining equipment in the EVs which quickly sap power when in use.

However, in a move which will be of interest to competitors, the VW EVs will be equipped with automatic climate control with parking heater and ventilation, radio-navigation system, windscreen heating, LED daytime running lights and, in the e-Golf, the Volkswagen brand's first use of LED headlights.

The e-motors, gearboxes and lithium-ion batteries of the e-up! and e-Golf were developed in-house, and they are manufactured in large Volkswagen component plants in Germany.

The zero-emission cars are manufactured with the same high-volume production systems as their counterparts with combustion engines.

Volkswagen brand public relations manager Andile Dlamini says there are no plans at the moment to introduce the EVs in South Africa.