Volkswagen is taking the fight to Nissan in the battle of EV hatchbacks for the 2016 model year with the new, less expensive e-Golf SE trim level. With a starting price of $29,815 (after $820 for destination but before incentives), the model undercuts the $29,860 2015 Leaf S (after $850 destination) by just $45. Lease rates are $199 a month. The 2016 e-Golf SEL Premium is $150 more than last year at $36,415, making the difference between the two trims a significant $6,600.
VW isn't letting out much of the info on the SE yet, and the company's release simply says the trim "offers most of the features of the SEL Premium model." The new entry does come standard with a 3.6-kW onboard charger, and a 7.2-kW DC fast charging package is optional later in the year. Inside, there's VW's 6.5-inch MIB II infotainment system, versus an eight-inch version in the SEL Premium with the company's Car-Net App-Connect and Travel Link.
The e-Golf is rated at an 83-mile range by the EPA, and it's electric motor produces 115 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The electric hatchback has already proven itself a moderate success in Europe through the first two months of 2015, and the VW actually beat the Leaf there in sales volume. In the US, the model has moved 1,831 examples through July, compared to 10,990 for the rival Nissan.