Century of 'e-traction technology'

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Volkswagen Group has been driving progress in automotive technology for decades. When it comes to the most forward-thinking "e-traction technology" that points to the way for future, Volkswagen is drawing on a tradition of electric car research and development that began more than a century ago, according to information provided by the auto giant.


In 1900, only 14 years after the first car hit the road, Volkswagen founder Ferdinand Porsche created the Lohner-Porsche, the world's first electric car.

Porsche's creative design ran without gears, belts or chains. His stroke of genius was a pair of wheel hub motors mounted on the front wheels. With minimal mechanical friction, the powertrain attained an efficiency of 83 percent.

Reaching a speed of 50 km/h, Porsche's electric car was lauded by engineers and newspapers of the time as the first transmission-free car and a masterpiece.

T2 series

In 1973, Volkswagen built the T2, a multifunctional commercial vehicle, marking the dawn of Volkswagen's modern electric drive technology. The T2 achieved a maximum speed of 70 km/h, and accelerated from zero to 50 km/h in 12 seconds.

In the following years, Volkswagen Group produced more than 70 electric T2 vehicles at customer request. It built more than 50 new-generation T2 and T3 electric vehicles from 1979 to 1984.

Electric Golf

Volkswagen built the first electric sedan based on the production model Golf in 1976. The electric Golf demonstrated striking performance on long-term road tests and ran more than 20,000 kilometers before road tests ended in 1986. It had a maximum speed of 80 km/h, and could drive up to 70 kilometers on a single charge.

Perhaps the most famous early electric car produced by Volkswagen was the Golf CityStromer, which used the electric Golf as its prototype. Designed in concert with NRW Electric Group, the first batch of CityStromers rolled off the line in 1981.

The second-generation CityStromer, equipped with a 15 kW electric motor, had a body weight of 1.7 tons and accelerated from zero to 100km/h in 13 seconds.

The third-generation CityStromer was equipped with a motor with 22 kW in peak power. It reached a maximum speed of 100 km/h and increased its power through regenerative braking.


The technical accumulation of Volkswagen Group's 100 years in electric car research gave rise to the groundbreaking E-Up! electric car in 2010. The car has been praised for pointing toward a new future in automotive engineering.

The E-Up! realized drivers' dreams of efficient transportation with zero emissions. Its sporty body and smart profile fully reflect Volkswagen's design sensibilities.

A 22.7 kWh lithium cell battery allows the E-Up! to achieve a single-charge driving range of 160 kilometers. When a special charging stud is used, the car reaches an 80 percent charge in just one hour. If the battery pack is recharged with a common 220-volt power supply, full recharging time is just five hours.

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