HERNDON, VA – Volkswagen of America announced it will begin a pilot scheme to test 20 prototype E-Golf battery electric vehicles over a nine-month period in select locations in the U.S. Twelve of these vehicles will be allocated to selected Volkswagen employees during the time period. By studying E-Golf use across multiple geographical regions, Volkswagen will monitor the effect of climate conditions, driving patterns, and energy performance; the data and insights gained during the scheme will be used in the final development of future EV technology applications.
The E-Golf pilot program will take place in the Detroit Metro, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. markets, beginning in April.
In addition to testing the vehicle itself, users will also test specific services designed for the E-Golf. For example, 220v charging stations will be installed at the employees’ homes to charge the vehicles. Each E-Golf will be delivered with an iPhone and a dedicated app, allowing the user to check the battery’s charging status, regulate the car’s internal temperature, gauge how much charging time is left, or even remotely start the charging procedure, according to the automaker. Finally, Volkswagen has set up a web portal dedicated to the fleet test to support the users 24/7 in case of specific questions and in order to allow users to share their feedback on the E-Golf.
“As a part of our Think Blue strategy, the Volkswagen brand has shown an undeniable commitment towards investing in technologies that will help improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “This E-Golf test fleet will provide critical feedback on these vehicles that will prove essential in our sustainability efforts and in the drive towards electric mobility.”
“During this test, we will examine in detail all the technical and administrative aspects of typical consumers using electric vehicles on an everyday basis,” said Dr. Rudolf Krebs, executive vice president and head of Volkswagen Group E-Traction. “For a successful market launch of electric vehicles, the way that home chargers are handled is very important, along with easy access to public charging infrastructure. For the U.S., we also have to recognize the specific legal regulations as well as the different characteristics of the electricity supply: both the reduced 110-volt mains supply and the type of charging plugs.”
The appearance of the E-Golf is similar to the five-passenger, four-door Golf, and features an electric motor that delivers 199 lb.-feet of torque and an estimated driving range of 93 miles, according to VW. Charging is accomplished via a plug connector behind the gas cap on the right rear fender.
As it builds out its delivery fleet, Amazon is moving toward using a battery-electric delivery vehicle produced by Rivian Automotive, a Plymouth, Mich., manufacturer who earned media plaudits when it showed its first two vehicles at the L.A. Auto Show in November.