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1993 VW Golf Stromer

The motor is powered by 16 lead-acid batteries. Six of them are found in the motor compartment above the electric motor, gearbox and final drive unit, the other 10 raise the flooring of the luggage compartment and take up the space of an emergency spare-wheel. The performance is, compared with the Diesel- and petrol driven Golf, very modest and the range is not worth talking about. In urban traffic a maximum of 60 kms is possible, on the open road, travelling at a comfortable 80 kmh, one can manage 20 kms more. The charging process takes about 1 ½ hours for the first 80%, after that it slows down. Indeed the cost of 'filling the tank' with electricity for just under 7 DM (approx.€3,50) is very reasonable. However, it was by no means environmentally friendly, because at the time there were no sources of renewable energie.

It is interesting, that compared with the electric cars of today, apart from the leaving out of the gearbox, the drive train has changed very little. The lithium-ion batteries available in the meantime, would quadruple the range compared with the lead batteries. The vehicle is reserved exclusively for commercial customers. Only through resale can it be bought by private buyers. The mileage reached, through the complicated charging process and the low operational range, hardly approaches the 40.000-km mark. Just about no VW workshop knows much about the vehicle. Indeed, the danger of larger repairs, apart from the replacing of the batteries, is very limited.

The operation of the vehicle is interesting. It is fitted with all the mod-cons and safety features of it's petrol driven counterparts, right up to ABS and airbags. Because the electric motor is installed in exactly the same place as the combustion engine, one must engage a gear and then release the clutch. Then however, nothing happens. Only when presses the gas pedal, does the motor move the car forwards. In urban traffic, despite the shocking power to weight ratio, one can still get around quite sharply. On the open road, all the changes. At least the car is very quiet, so much so unfortunately, that one can easily forget to change gear. Whereby, 'overrevving' this electric motor is just as critical as it is for a combustion engine.

Also the motor-brake in ths vehicle is different from that to which one is accustomed, although the motor does feed the current back into the batteries. One should also think twice before leaving the car with a gear engaged instead of using the hand-brake. Not only because the vehicle is heavier than normal, but also because the electric motor simply cannot hold the car. In this case the hand-brake takes on a new importance. At least the luggage compartment can take in a few cases of beer or soft drinks, whereby, the permitted loading maximum of just under 350 kgs is limiting. Actually, the high weight and low loading max. should provide for a comfortable drive, in this case, this is not so. All in all, there's not much to complain about as far as the running behavior of the Golf Stromer is concerned.

It also had two problems that still appear in newer electro-cars. They have a lot of difficulty heating- and nowadays, also cooling the interior. In the Stromer there is a heating system which uses Diesel fuel, so, at least every now and then, it must fill up at a filling station. It also has a temperature regulation, because the batteries don't take in or supply energy without getting warm.

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