Volkswagen Golf CitySTROMer: do you know the ancestor of the ID.3?

The large ID family at Volkswagen began at the end of 2019 with the arrival of the small 100% electric compact, l’ID.3. But did you know that long before that, more than 40 years ago, the German manufacturer had already made its debut with all-electric? Here is the little story of the Golf CitySTROMer, Volkswagen’s first compact without heat engine!

The beginnings of electric in 1972 at Volkswagen

You have to go back far, very far to see the first beginnings of electric power from the German manufacturer. The start of work on a battery-powered vehicle is embodied by the project on a TransporteurT2. We are then in 1972! Curiously, it is the same year or a certain Renault 5 was marketed… some of which were 100% electric! But back to the German design offices. This “electric” T2 operated at the time with lead batteries housed in the floor. This Combi weighed 2.2 tons and was produced in only 120 units.

Four years later, the project to electrify the Golf first name materialized, but only on a few test vehicles. We have to wait until 1981 to see the Golf I CitySTROMer to arrive. With 25 models built in collaboration with GES, a company created by the electricity company RWE in Germany, it is the 1st Golf that really runs properly on batteries. With a range of only 60 kilometers, however, the small city car could not go very far!

Volkswagen Golf II CitySTROMer (1985)

The second generation of the CitySTROMer was based on the Golf Mark II. It was unveiled in 1985 and built in 70 units. Much more accomplished, the electric city car was quite suitable for everyday use, but was not mass-produced. The copies were mainly used in the field of customer service in order to obtain new practical information on their day-to-day operation.

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Golf CitySTROMer versus ID.3: clash of generations

More than forty years separate our two electric city cars. If, at first glance, everything seems to oppose the two vehicles, these two models actually have a lot in common. If we dwell a little on the characteristics and on-board technologies, we can have fun comparing the two electric models. In the trunk and under the back seat of the old Golf is an accumulator from another age. A lead-acid battery with positive tubular plates. This generates a power of approximately 21 hp (15 kW). By way of comparison, the ID.3’s lithium-ion battery has a capacity of between 58 and 77 kWh, combined with a 150 kW motor (or 204 hp) for the most efficient versions.

The ID.3 has a top speed of 160 km/h and an acceleration of 7.9 seconds to reach 100 km/h. Figures that make the Golf II CitySTROMer look a bit old. Indeed the latter painfully reaches 70 km/h after 30 seconds, and takes more than a minute to reach 100 km/h, its speed limit. Small amusing detail, the old Golf hasa four liter petrol tank, necessary for hot-water heating of the passenger compartment for cold weather. Because if we used the battery, we would logically see its autonomy melt away… Last detail, its small battery can only be plugged into a household outlet and it takes between eight and ten hours to reach 100%! As a reminder, the ID.3 requires only 29 minutes to recharge its batteries on a 135 kW fast terminal…

Source: AutoplusAutoplus by

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