VW T4 electric multivan and Golf III CitySTROMer (1992-1996)

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The ancestors of ID. Buzz and ID.3 were then tested on the island of Rugen

VW T4 electric multivan and Golf III CitySTROMer (1992-1996)-citystromer

The subject of electric cars is not new. On the contrary: engineers have actually been concerned with it since the beginning of the automobile. Electric cars dominated the US market until around 1920, and companies such as VW had been testing electric vehicles with huge batteries, but rather poor ranges, since the late 1970s.

Here is the story of the ancestors of ID. Buzz and ID.3.

In 1970, a development department was founded in Wolfsburg that designed the first electrically powered VW prototypes. Even then, the aim was to develop alternative energy sources in order to become less dependent on fossil fuels and to glide through the cities emission-free.

In 1972 the company presented its first prototype as a flatbed truck with an open loading area at the Hanover Fair. Shortly afterwards, the small series production of the VW electric transporter, which was offered not only as a flatbed but also as a bus and panel van, began, which lived up to its name with a considerable payload of 800 kilograms. And that despite the 880 kilogram battery.

Picture gallery: Volkswagen Elektro-T2 at Techno-Classica 2020

VW T4 electric multivan and Golf III CitySTROMer (1992-1996)-1992-1996

The lead traction battery from Varta could be changed or charged via an interface in the rear of the van. In addition, the transporter from the future had a recuperation system on board more than four decades ago, which was used to store kinetic energy when braking. The energy content of the battery was 21.6 kWh; This gave the VW electric transporter a range of up to 85 kilometers.

In the early 1990s, the German government urged automakers to push the boundaries of what was possible with the electric car technology of the time. In order to create a realistic environment for testing electric vehicles, a long-term test was set up on the island of Rugen. The island offered daily driving conditions that were well suited to the limited range of electric vehicles, and since most of the electricity was generated from wind power, the vehicles had a low carbon footprint.

Various German automobile manufacturers contributed to the experiment between 1992 and 1996 with 60 specially built e-vehicle models, including 19 cars and vans from Volkswagen.

VW provided nine Golf III CitySTROMer models – an evolution of previous electric car prototypes that featured several innovations, including an AC synchronous motor, flexible battery layout, and the ability to use a variety of battery types, from lead-acid Gel to sodium nickel chloride.

Ten electric multivans from Volkswagen used similar technology, building on the work that Volkswagen had done in the field of electric trucks since the early 1970s. The continuous output of the Golf III CitySTROMer was specified by VW as 17.5 kW (23.8 PS).

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A total of 120 units were built by 1996 and went to large energy suppliers. On city trips at a constant 50 km / h, ranges of up to 90 kilometers were possible – a remarkable value for the conditions at the time. Charging the batteries to 80 percent took an hour and a half.

Over the course of three years, the people of Rugen covered tens of thousands of kilometers with the CitySTROMer and the electric transporter, but the experiment showed that batteries with a longer range, more engine power and a charging infrastructure were required.

Picture gallery: VW T4 electric multivan and Golf III CitySTROMer (1992-1996)

VW T4 electric multivan and Golf III CitySTROMer (1992-1996)-electric multivan Golf CitySTROMer 1992-1996

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