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Driving the VW e-Golf; strategy, assembly in Wolfsburg, Braunschweig battery plant

21 July 2014

E-golf_3587
The e-Golf. Click to enlarge.

The e-Golf (“Das e-Auto” earlier post), the Volkswagen brand’s second series production battery-electric vehicle after the e-up!, is a key model, as it is the best and most current implementation of its strategic decision to begin providing e-mobility based on large-scale production models rather than special “small niche” cars. The Golf is core to Volkswagen; the company has sold more than 30 million units worldwide since the first introduction in 1974. The e-Golf is based on current 7th generation Golf, itself based on the strategic MQB toolkit.

Put another way, Volkswagen’s goal, based on its strategic approach, is for the e-Golf to deliver the performance and handling of a Golf which happens to have a battery-electric powertrain. Based on a second, and slightly longer, chance to drive the new e-Golf unsupervised, we think Volkswagen has succeeded splendidly in this goal; we find the e-Golf to be a nimble and quiet electric delight.

Series production of Volkswagen’s e-Golf began five months ago in March at Volkswagen’s plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. The e-Golf is currently on sale in Germany, and will be launched late this year or early next year in the US, initially in the ZEV (zero emission vehicle regulation) states (i.e., California, and those states which have signed on to the California ZEV requirements). As part of the run-up to that introduction, Volkswagen of America brought journalists (including GCC) out to Wolfsburg to have some seat time with the new BEV, as well as to take a look at the assembly of the MQB-based e-Golf in the massive Wolfsburg plant; to have a walk through the new battery pack assembly plant in Braunschweig; and to get a better sense of Volkswagen’s (brand and group) thinking on e-mobility.

Strategy. Volkswagen began working with electric vehicles back in the early 1970s, noted Dr. Harald Manzenrieder, head of e-Golf production at the Wolfsburg plant. These—including, for example, an electric version of the T2, the iconic VW van of the late 1960s and 1970s—were mostly test cars and prototype cars, but also small fleets for special purposes.

Now, however, given all the market drivers facing the auto industry (regulations, fossil fuel availability, societal changes, etc.), Volkswagen is positioning itself for a broad-scale strategic shift in the types of powertrains in its vehicles—a shift that, because of its size, mandates an approach that can deliver the types of numbers it requires.

We are working on changing our focus from fossil fuel to higher efficiency for cars and to different possibilities to drive our cars. We are starting with optimizing our conventional drive trains—the TDI diesel engines, the TSI engines, the DSG transmission, all of those technologies have helped us to lower our fuel consumption a lot. We have different alternative fuels in our program such as CNG and LPG, we are working on some synthetic fuel. We have hybrids in our program to lower fuel consumption, mild hybrids, full hybrids, plug in hybrids coming out this year and of course we are working on the pure electric drive.

We are thinking that the right way [to do this] is large scale production, not special small niche cars and we think that a broad product range is necessary to bring this to the markets.

—Dr. Soeren Hinze, Volkswagen Electric-Traction (EL) Technical Development

(Dr. Hinze is the engineer in charge of the rollout of the e-Golf and e-up!)

As the number two OEM in the automobile business in the world, it only makes sense for us if we see a certain volume behind it. So we won’t just jump into any technology only to be the first. We are coming with a solution that we think is a fit for the market.

We believe that the right way to bring electric vehicles is to implement them into the models that the customers like the most. For us that is the Golf, the best selling car in Europe and one of the most successful cars in the world, but also in other vehicles.

—Christian Buhlmann, Volkswagen Product Communications

This approach requires not just the design engineering of the vehicle, but also the development of the integrated assembly process (enabled by the MQB), plus training of personnel in the plant. (More on this below.)

With the MQB-based designs and processes in the place, Volkswagen is confident that is can respond appropriately with whichever powertrain technologies become in demand.

If you look at the MQB cars, we started out with Golf now, and the successors of current PQ35 cars, which is Passat, Jetta and so on, will all be based on MQB, and are receiving MQB components at this time already, if you think of combustion engines like the 1.8 TSI, the 2.0 TDI latest generation. Those are all components that we are implementing from the MQB into existing models. Once the new generations are coming out, if we see a reasonable market share for EVs and PHEVs, we can deliver [those] without having to redevelop.

—Christian Buhlmann

Roadmap
Volkswagen is electrifying all vehicle classes. The use of its modular e-drive components, within the context of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB (driven by the Volkswagen brand), MLB (longitudinal, driven by Audi) and the MSB (sporty, driven by Porsche), will enable rapid deployment of e-drive technologies throughout Group’s product lines—when consumer demand or regulatory requirements necessitate it. Škoda, as one example, will be offering a plug-in hybrid. Click to enlarge.

The e-Golf. The e-Golf is powered by a 24.2 kWh, 323V Li-ion battery pack—318 kg (701 lbs), or 21% of the e-Golf’s DIN unladen body weight—with the component 25 Ah cells and modules (6-cell and 12-cell) provided by Panasonic. The pack is located between the front and read axles. The front end of the battery is equipped with the Battery Management Controller (BMC) which performs safety, diagnostic and monitoring functions and also regulates the battery’s temperature in the Battery Junction Controller (interface to energy supply for the motor).

Glossy pack cutaway
Training pack cutaway
Left. Early display cutaway of the e-Golf battery pack. Right. Training cutaway of the production battery pack. The modules (in 6- and 12- cell versions) are shipped in from Panasonic, and assembled into the pack at the Braunschweig plant. The pack comprises 264 cells in 27 modules (88s 3p). One of the challenges for the battery team was working through the volumetric geometry of the pack and the orientation of the modules to fit the space available in the e-Golf in adherence with the MQB approach.

The pack has no active cooling system. At the beginning, noted Dr. Manz, Volkswagen thought it might need a thermal management system. However, as the engineers went through testing on the pack with the packaging and the Volkswagen-developed management system, they discovered that they did not need a cooling system. Click to enlarge.

The pack itself is assembled in Braunschweig, and incorporates Volkswagen’s energy and battery management control logic. The production configuration of the pack was a bit challenging, noted Dr. Holger Manz, the head of the battery development department in Braunschweig, because of the need to fit in the space made available by the standardized MQB approach.

The e-drive unit consists of a 85 kW (114 hp), 270 N·m (199 lb-ft) synchronous electric motor (EEM 85) and single-speed transmission (EQ 270) with integrated differential and mechanical parking brake. Both motor and gearbox, which form a compact, modular unit, were developed in-house at Volkswagen. The e-drive unit is made at the Volkswagen components plant in Kassel, Germany.

The power electronics module controls the high-voltage energy flow between the e-motor and the lithium-ion battery (between 250 and 430 V depending on the battery voltage). The power electronics converts the direct current (DC) stored in the battery to alternating current (AC). The primary interfaces of the power electronics are its traction network connection to the battery; 3-phase connection to the electric motor; connector from the DC/DC converter to the 12-V electrical system; and a connection for the high-voltage power distributor.

Overhead view components
Under the hood
 
Front components diagram
Heat pump
Top left. Overhead view of electric drive and battery components. Top right. Under the hood of an e-Golf on the Wolfsburg assembly line. Bottom left. Illustration of main electric-drive components. Bottom right. The heat pump for US and potentially other markets. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen developed a special electromechanical brake servo for its electric cars. This optimizes the driver’s braking force in the same way that brake servos do in conventional cars. However, with the electromechanical brake servo this happens by what is known as brake blending—a process in which low levels of deceleration are produced solely through the e-motor’s braking torque. Stronger deceleration, meanwhile, is achieved by combining the braking torques of the electric motor and the hydraulic brake system.

A newly developed heat pump—which will be applied in the US e-Golf—enables better driving range in colder temperatures. An add-on module to the electric heating (high-voltage heater) and electric air conditioning compressor, the heat pump recovers heat from the ambient air and the heat given off by the drive system components. This significantly reduces the high-voltage heater’s electric power consumption to keep the passenger cabin comfortable. When the heat pump is used, this increases the driving range in cold weather of the e-Golf by more than 30% compared to a conventional heating system.

Volkswagen was able to lower the air drag of the Golf by developing very specific measures such as reducing the volume of cooling air (via a radiator shutter and partially closed-off radiator grille), new underbody panelling, rear body modifications with a rear spoiler and C-pillar air guides, and by developing new aerodynamic wheels (essentially closing off gaps, making the wheels flush with the car’s exterior).

Whereas on the standard Golf (1.6 TDI with 77 kW) air drag is 0.686 m2, air drag was reduced to 0.615 m2 on the e-Golf, which represents a 10% improvement. Correspondingly, the cD value was lowered to 0.281.

Volkswagen was able to achieve another positive effect on energy consumption and range by optimizing the tires (205/55 R16 91 Q). Reducing the rolling resistance coefficient from 7.2 per 1,000 (Golf BlueMotion) to 6.5 per 1,000 for the e-Golf (likewise an improvement of 10%) also improves the range.

The Golf offers the CCS charging system, enabling both AC and DC fast charging. A 3.6 kW charge to 100% SOC will take about 8 hours; a DC fast charge to 80% SOC will take about 30 minutes.

Driving. We had the opportunity to drive the e-Golf from Wolfsburg to Braunschweig—a drive of about 36 km (22 miles) that offers some higher speed highway driving as well as in-city conditions.

The e-Golf reaches a speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) within 4.2 seconds, and 100 km/h (62 mph) in 10.4 seconds, with top speed limited to 140 km/h (87 mph. Range is estimated, on the NEDC cycle, to be up to 190 km (118 miles); Volkswagen suggests a realistic real-world range of 130 km (81 miles) to 190 km, depending upon temperature, driving style, etc.

As we noted earlier, the e-Golf is essentially a Golf: comfortable, quick and with good handling. The weight of the battery pack helps keep the car anchored to the road, but there is no wallowing sensation in quick cornering maneuvers, even at higher speeds.

Control panel with labels
The instrument cluster. On the left, the conventional tachometer is replaced by a power display (which indicates if the motor is ready, the battery is being charged via regenerative braking or power is being consumed) and the indicator of output availability.

The speedometer, which goes up to 160 km/h (99 mph), remains on the right. Added at the bottom of the speedometer is an indicator showing the charge level of the high-voltage battery.

The color display located between the powermeter and the speedometer (premium multifunction display), now shows a continuous display of driving range; the regenerative braking level that is active; and information on remaining charging time and the connected charging plug.

In a separate LED field in the lower segment of the multifunction display, the ‘READY’ message also appears after starting the motor, indicating that the car is ready to be driven. Click to enlarge.

With its limited top speed, the e-Golf is not designed for scorching down the Autobahn, but it is more than capable of delivering an enjoyable driving experience in standard city and suburban conditions. We had no problems at all with high speed merging onto the highway, and, as with electric drives in general, the immediate torque after starting up from a stop was most satisfying.

DB2013AU01207_large
Range monitor
Recuperation
Left. The e-Golf features a standard 8" touchscreen radio-navigation system with e-mobility specific functions. Sample functions, top right. The graphical range monitor illustrates the vehicles current driving range (blue); it also shows the range potential (lighter blue) that could be gained by deactivating any of the displayed auxiliary consumers that are active.

Bottom right. The recuperation monitor measure total regen energy since trip start to help the driver to adjust driving behavior. Other functions include an energy flow indicator, e-manager to pre-program up to three departures and charging times; and current potential driving radius of the e-Golf.

Left, bottom. The shifter also provides the means to step through 5 levels of regenerative braking: “D”, no regen; “D1”, “D2”, “D3”, and “B”. With the gear lever setting in “D”, the driver just taps to left to shift D-levels. I.e., one tap, “D1”, another tap “D2”, etc. Tapping to the right moves back down the D-levels. “B”, activated by pulling backwards on the lever, is the most extreme level of regen. All regen states are displayed on the instrument cluster (above). Click to enlarge.

The e-Golf offers two technologies to balance optimal utilization of the vehicle’s energy against the driver’s wishes. One is the five different levels of regenerative brake settings, described above. Higher levels of regen allow the driver to slow the vehicle almost to a stop (with “B”), while recharging the battery. Levels “D2”, “D3” and “B” decelerate the car sufficiently that the brake lights come on.

Switching levels of regen easily with a tap of the shifter allow the driver to customize the vehicle’s performance in response to terrain and driving styles. In combination with the recuperation monitor (again, above), this also gives drivers the chance to learn how best to drive their e-Golf.

The other driver-focused optimizing technology is the three driving profiles: “Normal”, “Eco”, and “Eco+”. The Volkswagen automatically starts in “Normal” mode. In “Eco” mode, the electric motor’s maximum power is reduced to 70 kW, and drive-off torque is limited to 220 N·m (162 lb-ft). In parallel, the electronics reduce the output of the air conditioning system and modify the response curve of the accelerator pedal. In this mode, the e-Golf can reach speeds of up to 115 km/h (71 mph) and accelerate to 100 km/h in 13.1 seconds.

In “Eco+” mode, the electronics limit power output to 55 kW and drive-off torque to 175 N·m (129 lb-ft). At the same time, the accelerator pedal response curve is made flatter, and the air conditioning is switched off. The e-Golf now reaches a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph) and accelerates at a slower rate. Nonetheless, drivers can still obtain full power, maximum torque and a top speed of 140 km/h in “Eco” and “Eco+” mode by kick-down.

(Our favorite combination in general was “Normal” with “B”.)

e-Golf driving modes
  Normal Eco Eco+
Air conditioning Normal Reduced Ventilation only
Acceleration (0-100 km/h) 10.4 s 13.4 s 20.9 s (to 90 km/h only)
Power 85 kW 70 kW 55 kW
Top speed 140 km/h 115 km/h 90 km/h

Under the NEDC, the e-Golf is rated with energy consumption of 12.7 kWh/100km. Based on our short “real world” drive (with a bit of a heavy foot on the accelerator), we appeared to achieve between about 11-16 kWh/100 km, based on different conditions; sometimes much lower, sometimes a bit higher. (The touchscreen monitor will show you exactly how much you are consuming, adding to the driver-training aspect over time.)

Volkswagen implemented an acoustic concept for the e-Golf that is specifically tailored to the characteristics of an electric vehicle, greatly enhancing its already quiet attributes.

As one example, the motor’s suspension system was switched to a pendulum mount with modified response characteristics, which greatly enhances the acoustics despite the e-motor’s high torque build-up when accelerating. In designing the motor housing unit, Volkswagen was also able to achieve an extremely low level of noise emissions.

Furthermore, the highly sound-absorbent and yet very lightweight materials used in the interior produce a luxury-class level of acoustic comfort. It is indeed quite quiet.

Owners of e-Golfs can order nearly all the optional features and assistance systems of the full Golf model series.

Production overview. One of the mantras of the Volkswagen Group surrounding the benefits of its modular assembly toolkits is that they enable the streamlined production of a variety of vehicles using common components on the same line. The MQB-based e-Golf is certainly a case in point—with the exception of a detached loop added, for the time being, for high voltage (HV) component assembly. This includes the battery pack, power electronics and all the connections, and first pack power to the vehicle.

Egolf-production-flow
Top. Building an e-Golf: the basic production flow for the e-Golf at the Wolfsburg plant. Essentially, the e-Golf is assembled much as other versions of the Golf are, the primary exception being a new loop inserted into the assembly process for the installation of the high-voltage battery pack, the subsequent high-voltage connections, and first power to the car.
In the diagram above, the area for that is designated as “Kleinserie” (“small series”), an area in which Volkswagen also works on specialty vehicles such as taxis, emergency responder vehicles, etc.

The e-Golf moves through assembly of its MQB components, including the “marriage” of the powertrain and drivetrain, and then is towed from the line to the small series area for the installation of the high voltage components. The e-Golf then re-enters the main assembly flow.

Bottom. HV assembly. This sequence outlines the flow of assembly through the small series area from the e-Golf’s being towed in by walkie tow trucks to its self-powered departure. Click to enlarge.

HV assembly

Aside from the detached assembly for the high voltage components, the e-Golf is just another Golf moving through the assembly process; the electric powertrain and drivetrain components are assembled in an area on a floor beneath the main assembly line, along with conventional powertrain and drivetrain elements. These assembled powertrain and drivetrain elements—with a significant gap in the middle in the case of the e-Golf to accommodate the battery pack—are automatically “married” to their appropriate bodies, rising up from the floor underneath in a tightly controlled process.

Audi A3 e-tron production
Audi, one of the Volkswagen brand’s Group siblings, is not using a detached high voltage assembly loop for the production of its A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid.
With the exception of an added station where the battery pack is installed, the A3 e-tron is moving along the line like every other A3, says John Schilling, Manager of Product Communications for Audi of America.

There were a number of reasons driving the decision to implement a detached high voltage assembly, said Dr. Manzenrieder. These include:

  • The possibility of an unbalanced work load for each operator due to different bill of materials;

  • The restricted workshop area ensures optimal safety control;

  • Flexible production equipment enables optimized process design. This is a learning laboratory as well as a production loop;

  • The opportunity to establish specific high-voltage component expertise. All operators are HV-experts and ensure best process and quality control; and

  • The possibility for technical reviews at the car without disrupting the assembly process.

By running this production line, I have the opportunity to focus and to gain expertise on high voltage components, their characteristics and, which is very important, the interaction between components. If it was produced on a stepped production line in one minute steps, I can see only very limited steps. Here I can see all the parts together.

The operators we use in this area are all experts, not only mechanically, but they also know the components. We have optimized this way to control the process and the product. We have the possibility to call other experts from R&D, from the quality department to take a look at each stage within the assembly. Our equipment is flexible so that we can do any other model or generation.

—Dr. Manzenrieder

The operators work in teams of two, each team handling the entire final high-voltage assembly process from start to finish.

Hv components

Pack installation
Connecting
Top. The high-voltage components addressed in the detached final assembly loop. Bottom left. Installing the battery pack. Bottom right. Connecting the power electronics. Click to enlarge.

Braunschweig battery plant. Volkswagen’s facility in Braunschweig is one of the larger producers of running gear in the world—and the oldest plant in the Volkswagen Group. Since 2007, it has also been the site for the development and production of battery systems for electric vehicles. Beginning in 2012, the pre-series center for the e-Golf was situated there.

Braunschweig is now responsible for the development and production of the battery packs for the e-Golf and the e-up!, and features a new, discrete automated facility dedicated to battery production.

In the run-up to series production, the Braunschweig team had evaluated using prismatic 25 Ah cells from Panasonic, or 18650 cells (i.e., similar to Tesla), said Dr. Manz. Volkswagen opted for the 25 Ah prismatic cells from Panasonic.

We tested several cells and several manufacturers of the cells and Panasonic was the best we could use for this project.

—Dr. Manz

Battery1
Battery2
Battery3
Battery4
Automated battery assembly at Braunschweig. Top left. Panasonic ships pre-packaged modules, which the operators at Braunschweig remove from their shipping crate (foreground) and slide into the reach of a robot, which stacks the modules by type. Top right. The robot then places modules on the battery base, where they are then automatically bolted into place.

Bottom left. Humans connect the modules. (Note the large panel display screens which provide documentation on the task being done. These are also prevalent in the detached HV assembly area in Wolfsburg. The underlying system is also recording all relevant data for each part for 10 years.) Bottom right. The battery pack covers (a carbon fiber reinforced plastic shell with an aluminum cover) are secured using the same fastening system used for windshields. It is also screwed to the base with 8 screws.

I myself don’t want to be a battery system, because I know what is done with such systems. Before we get the release of a battery system we make a test of about 12 weeks with shocks, vibrations and we do a temperature test. At the end we dip it 20 times into water; we heat it before and then dip it into cold water. And after the 20 dips, there should be no leakage. These are the heaviest tests I’ve ever seen for such a system.

—Dr. Manz

Currently, the e-up! battery pack production line is producing 40 packs per day. The e-Golf line is producing 44 packs per day; by the end of the year it will produce 100 packs per day. The new Braunschweig facility has plenty of room for adding additional lines.

Battery futures. The great advantage of Volkswagen doing its own development on the battery system—especially in areas of packaging and management, is that it is now “relatively free to change from one cell supplier to another,” said Dr. Manz. “It’s a great advantage that we have.

Volkswagen is pursuing a number of advanced chemistry options through its different organizations, including its Palo Alto, California-based research organization.

“We are thinking about 28 [Ah] to 34 [Ah] and more. Never have so many people surged and developed on new technologies and new chemsitry and new cells like today.”
—Dr. Soeren Hinze

In a presentation at the Barclays Future Powertrain Symposium in London earlier in July, the Volkswagen Group’s Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Steiger suggested that the Group has identified a short term roadmap that will increase battery energy density to about 220 Wh/kg (compared to the 170 Wh/kg in the cells in the e-Golf.) Beyond that, the Group is looking to Li-sulfur (500 Wh/kg) and Li-air (1,000 Wh/kg) as future solutions.

Put another way, he noted that the group sees a pathway from the 25 Ah cells currently used in the e-Golf and e-up! to 28 Ah, 34 Ah, and 36 Ah cells in the future. Combined with other refinements in energy consumption, weight, aerodynamics and rolling efficiency, the Group expects to be able to deliver significant increases in battery-electric range.

Batteryfuture2
Battery3
Left. Range will improve not only from increased battery capacity, but also a number of improvements in different vehicle systems. Right. Projections of increased range in the e-up! and e-Golf based on projected increases in cell capacity. Click to enlarge.

Think of diesel in the early 1990s where it had tiny single digit market shares, and now it’s up to 50%. The market for this [e-mobility] must develop. We have a new technology here that is coming into the market that will also start with single digit market shares but it will grow eventually. We can already see it in some of the markets.

—Christian Buhlmann

July 21, 2014 in Batteries, Electric (Battery) | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Its interesting that they have opted for Panasonics.
They seem to be in something of a lead over other manufacturers at the moment.

The projected increase to 220Wh/kg should enable about a 1.3 times increase in range, which puts them over the 100 mile range mark.

Personally I would guess that so long as we don't have another oil crises, then many people as opposed to enthusiasts might consider switching if it is their only car when range hits maybe the 150 mile mark.

That still leaves plenty of folk looking for a second car etc as well as those prepared to live with more limited range as a market, but I would guess that VW are correct that for the time being PHEV is the alternative most will prefer, in spite of Volt sales lagging that of the Leaf..

VW have got it covered whichever way they jump though, that is the take away message.

Incidentally the VW group's investment budget of, from memory, around $114 bn over 5 years, ie $22 bn a year or so, is enough to build 4-5 of Musk's 'Gigafacgtories' per year!

Don't write off the big boys yet.

I agree,

The market strategy of VW is high volume at competitive price. They don't go for niche markets or market experiments.
I am confident that when do enter the market with those PHEV, it will be highly reliable and large scale.

All their models are PHEV, so electric range is not so critical.
Even a modest 80 mile electric range will for many people represent 90% of all miles driven (and therefore replace 90% of fuel consumption).

Looks like a good job of retrofitting the Golf; and, it's interesting how close the specs match the Leaf at this point in the development. I'm encouraging to see VW address a battery upgrade path publicly; something Nissan has not done. and should do to instill confidence in potential buyers.

Excellent story Mike, thanks for the in-depth review of VWs EV program. One of the best I've read so far from any publication.

I agree Davemart, that 150 miles is the general public tipping point, even though Alain is correct that most people don't need that much range very often. There are three reasons:

The first is that people want their car to handle most of their edge cases. Even if they only visit grandma once a month, they don't want to have to rent a car to do it (the Fiat 500e allows people to do this now at no additional cost, but they'd rather drive their own car).

The second is that 150 mile range means you don't have to ever use public charging if you're staying in town. Even if you drive to the edge of the metro area and back. No trip planning. No range anxiety, ever. You just don't have to think about fuel for in-town travel. That peace of mind is the killer app for widespread public acceptance.

The third is that at 150 mi range, with good DC Quick Charge infrastructure, long distance travel is not only possible, it's easy. You might spend a little more time on rest breaks than you would otherwise, but not that much. Most people are still going to have a meal, or at least a cup of coffee, a snack and a bathroom break. An extra 30-60 mins on a cross country trip the few times a year most people do that kind of travel is an easy trade-off for the $150 they'll save by no using gasoline on that trip.

I've come to these conclusions after driving three EVs exclusively over the past year:

Ford Focus Electric - 73 mi range
Fiat 500e - 87 mi range
Tesla Model S - 265 mi range

I've driven both the Fiat and Ford as far as 170 miles from home, and the Tesla has been on a half dozen 1,400 mile road trips.

The public perception observations have been collected from over 800 ride and drives I've personally conducted with people all over California as part of the Electric Car Guest Drive series.

Although I still own a gas powered car, it hasn't been driven in over a year except by friends or employees who needed a loaner. I don't think I'll ever buy another ICE car again, except possibly a PHEV with good electric-only range (35+ miles).

Alain,
Unless I have misread what you said I think that you have misunderstood what VW are doing.

They are producing both PHEV and electric only models of the Golf, with the latter having no combustion engine or range extender.

Their PHEV has an electric range rated at around 20-30 miles depending on the testing cycle, it is the fully electric Golf with no ICE engine which has the electric range of 80 miles.

Lad:
In no way is this a retrofit of an existing Golf.
This is a platform designed specifically to take a variety of drive trains, including BEV, PHEV, NG, FCEV and of course just a combustion engine.

All utterly different to Ford, for instance, stuffing electrics into bodies designed only for a combustion engine..

That explains the VW's having little or no intrusion into accomodation regardless of what drive train is used, and is what VW spent $5 billion or so on 5 new platforms for.

I can't reconcile the figures given on the battery pack.

From the above and from the linked presentation the pack weighs 318kgs for 24.2kwh and has a cell specific energy of 170Wh/kg.
That drops massively at the pack level to around 76Wh/kg, which is a lot considering that it does not have active cooling or anything.

For comparison the Leaf uses (or at least used) batteries with a specific energy of only 140Wh/kg at the cell level and still gets around 110Wh/kg for the 218kg pack at the pack level:
http://articles.sae.org/7714/
(The link Wiki uses for its figures)

The Tesla S which also uses Panasonic cells although in the 18650 format gets 85kwh from a 600kg pack or around 140Wh/kg at the pack level!
http://www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-s-weight/

So why does the VW E-Golf need so much more weight at the pack level, or why are the figures not comparable?

Here is the linked VW publication:
http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/info_center/en/talks_and_presentations/2014/07/FM_04_07_14.bin.html/binarystorageitem/file/06_2014-07-04+Presentation+Barclays+London+Steiger+TOP+COPY.pdf

DM:
Thanks for the correction. Because its designed for ICE drive lines also, excludes a flat floor and dictates a tunnel which restricts battery space. The Leaf or Tesla both have flat floors. Now I like the Golf less.

The only thing that I can think of is that perhaps VW have done the same as Mercedes, and aren't counting a lot of the pack which is used to ensure good SOC, and so the pack is actually maybe 30kwh, not 24kwh, and this is simply good, conservative engineering.

Its an odd way of describing it though if this is the case.

@Lad:
Now we have better information I would agree that the pack design has had restrictions in its layout.
VW's idea as it details above though is that it is a price worth paying as long as this enables them to get economies of scale whilst still producing different drive trains.

I agree though that this does involve compromise which would not be needed if it were intended for BEV use only.

Engineering is about compromise however, and at this stage of the game that may be a better option than the clean sheet BEV design, which VW could certainly have done if it had seen the volume there to justify it.

The mass producer who tried it, Nissan/Renault, have not got anything like the volume they hoped for so far, and that is very, very expensive.

If I were a shareholder I would prefer VW's approach.
They aren't the world's most profitable manufacturer by coincidence.

For the heck of it, someone should build a simple urban EV, like http://www.hybridcars.com/renault-nissan-to-use-phinergys-aluminum-air-battery/ .

At 20 miles range per pound of aluminum, a lead-acid starter size/weight A-A battery could get ~400 mile range before swap-out with ~80mpg 'fuel' cost.

A refitted Citreon C1 4-place size car(Metro?), without expensive Li-ion battery, monitor/control electronics, .. could sell under $10K with ~1 moving part drive train maintenance.

This could meet the needs of most students and seniors.

Thanks for posting the link to the VW Barclays presentation, Davemart.

EVIc:
Thanks for being so gracious to a grumpy old man! ;-)
It can be tough driving Mr Daisy!

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