1976: The driving force – Elektro Golf I
Just two years after the debut of the Volkswagen Golf, the bestselling compact car was already being built with an electric drive system. However, the project launched in 1976 involved just a few test vehicles, built in response to the oil crisis that had only recently been overcome and a growing awareness of the scarcity of oil reserves. Technically, the first e-Golf was really simply built: in place of the 75-horsepower petrol engine was a DC electric motor mounted on the production four-speed gearbox. An on-board charger made it possible to charge the 16.6-volt lead batteries via a normal 220-volt plug socket, which took around twelve hours.
1981: Silent in the city – Golf I CitySTROMer
Based on the Elektro Golf I, this pilot project was produced in conjunction with GES (‘Gesellschaft für elektrischen Straßenverkehr’, or the Electric Road Transport Corporation), a company established by the utility company RWE. Twenty CitySTROMERs were initially trialed in a fleet test and were also used privately by RWE employees. A total of around 25 vehicles of this type were built as part of a small-scale production run. The CitySTROMer is considered one of the first electric vehicles suitable for everyday use. The car had room for four people and weighed in at one and a half tons with its lead batteries. Its range was around 60 kilometers; with recharging it could cover around 100 kilometers per day.