About Volkswagen Electric Vehicles

For nearly five decades, Volkswagen has been actively developing, testing and building electric vehicles. Originally driven by oil shortages in the early 1970’s, the company developed a battery system to power its first all-electric concept vehicle – the Elektro-Bus/Elektro-Transporter.

Built in 1972, the bus had a short production run of only about 120 vehicles. Powered by heavy, low-capacity lead-acid batteries that were located on the vehicle floor in the center of the chassis, the 1,847-lb. vehicle had a range of just 25 miles, and a top speed that was only 43 mph.

From that point until 2011, as the company continued to explore concepts and technologies that could make electric vehicles more accessible, VW designed a series of electric models. Included among the vehicles that helped pave the way for the German automaker’s electric future were the following:
  • 1976: The Electric Golf Mk1, a concept based on the four-cylinder gasoline powered Golf hatchback that featured a 27-HP electric motor and a large battery pack that required taking out the rear seats. The car’s range was roughly 31 miles.
  • 1981: The Golf I CitySTROMer, developed with a German utility, was considered one of the first electric vehicles suitable for everyday use. A total of around 25 prototype vehicles, with room for four people and a range of around 37 miles, were built as part of a small-scale production run.
  • 1985: The Golf II CitySTROMer, the first electric vehicle built by Volkswagen for series production, offered gel-electrolyte batteries, cutting enough weight to allow a top speed of 62 MPH with its 31-HP electric motor. While its range was down slightly to 31 miles, 70 of the vehicles were used for customer service by power utilities.
  • 1988: The Jetta CitySTROMer, while boasting up to 75 miles of range and a top speed of 65 MPH, proved unsuitable for mass production. However, it was an effective test bed for significantly lighter sodium-sulfur chemistry batteries.
  • 1993: The Golf Mark III CitySTROMer featured 16 gel batteries that could offer a range of up to 55 miles and had the ability to capture energy through braking. Over three years, 120 of the vehicles were built and sold in Germany.
  • 2013: The e-Golf, the first Volkswagen model produced in high volume with a purely electric drive and the first fully electric VW to go on sale in the U.S., had an estimated 83 miles of range. Later versions offered an estimated range of 125 miles by using more energy-dense batteries.
  • 2021: The Volkswagen ID.4 EV, the automaker’s first all-electric SUV arrived with an estimated 260 miles of range in the RWD Pro model. The 2022 ID.4 added 15 miles of range in the RWD ID.4 Pro model.
As part of a five-year global spending plan that earmarks $98 billion for "e-mobility, hybridization and digitalization," Volkswagen has announced plans to invest at least $7.1 billion in North America. The automaker also plans to add 25 new electric vehicles here by 2030 and anticipates at least 50% of its U.S. vehicle sales to be fully electric by that year.

During the second half of 2023, as the company prepares to increase production of its ID.4 models, Volkswagen expects to significantly increase U.S. availability of electric vehicles. The company has been importing between of 800 to 2,000 ID.4s per month from Germany since 2021, but U.S. production at its Tennessee plant is expected to ramp up quickly.

Here’s what to know about the latest electric VW models (base trims as of Q4 2022):

ID.4 – The VW ID.4 is available in eight available trim levels, and comes in RWD and AWD versions with ranges up to 275 miles. With Level 2 charging the batteries can be fully charged in 7.5 to 11.5 hours. Built on a common platform, the models all feature five-passenger seating and 30.3 cu. ft. of cargo space. Named a 2022 TOP SAFETY PICK+ by the IIHS, the all-electric MY23 ID.4 is fitted with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Active Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert, Front Assist, Emergency Assist, Lane Assist, Park Distance Control, Light Assist, Dynamic Road Sign Display, Area View and Park Assist Plus with Memory Parking technologies.

ID.4 (Standard)

Base Price



275 miles



Cargo Capacity

30.3 cu. ft.

Base Drive


Volkswagen Id.4 Electric Vehicle

TBA: ID. Buzz – Returning to its electric vehicle roots and looking ahead, VW's Microbus is now being revived as the ID. Buzz. The electric van will be offered first in Europe while plans call for an official U.S. unveiling in 2023 and availability in 2024. The ID. Buzz will initially be imported from Germany, but ultimately could be assembled in the U.S. or Mexico.

Volkswagen ID. buzz