CARS.COM — Electric cars have been on the market for years, but this year several automakers are offering all-new high-range models like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Tesla Model 3, and others are redesigning existing electrics to go farther on a charge, like the Nissan Leaf and the Volkswagen e-Golf. When VW's electric hatchback goes on sale later this year, it'll start at $31,315, including destination but excluding the federal tax credit of $7,500. The revised hatchback offers more range and power this year.
For 2017, the e-Golf's lithium-ion battery has more capacity at 35.8 kilowatt-hours — up from 24.2 kwh. That translates to more range per charge; the hatchback has an EPA-estimated range of 125 miles — a 50 percent increase over the previous model year.
According to the EPA, based on 13 cents per kwh, the e-Golf has an estimated annual electricity cost of $550. For comparison, the gas-powered Hyundai Elantra GT compact hatchback has an EPA-estimated fuel cost of $1,500 a year.
Power has increased too thanks to a more robust electric motor. The 2016 e-Golf used an 85-kilowatt electric motor good for 115 horsepower, and the new 100-kW electric motor bumps that to 134 hp.
Newly standard is a 7.2-kW onboard charger that enables the battery to be charged in less than six hours at a 240-volt charging station. When equipped with the DC Fast Charger Package (a $995 option on base models but standard on Limited Edition and SEL Premium trims), the e-Golf can be charged to 80 percent in about an hour, Volkswagen said.
The added range and power comes at a price, however. The 2016 e-Golf model started lower at $29,815, including destination but before incentives. Versus competitors, the new version offers less range and at $23,815 (including the $7,500 federal incentive) falls mid-pack in terms of pricing. With the federal incentive, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is good for 238 miles of range and starts at $29,995; the 2018 Nissan Leaf offers 150 miles of range and starts at $23,375; and the 2017 Tesla Model 3 gets an estimated 220 miles of range and starts at $28,500.