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TheStreet Open House

Volkswagen Launches the People's Electric Car

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This is an important moment in the electric car history. Volkswagen (VLKAY) plans to sell eGolf in America by year-end -- and I was one of the first people to test drive it on U.S. soil this week.

VW added the eGolf to the European sales roster approximately two months ago. It will arrive in U.S. dealerships around December.

When it comes to e-cars, VW is miles ahead of its two main rivals for worldwide automotive domination: Toyota (TM) and General Motors (GM). (The three were tightly clustered right around the 10 million units-per-year mark in 2013.) VW makes two electric cars: the eGolf and the eUp.

Unlike its rivals, VW's eUP is a mainstream, mass-produced, pure electric car broadly available across many countries. It has been selling the eUp in many European countries for several months. Unfortunately, it will not be sold in the U.S. market, because the U.S. has a lot of red tape surrounding crash tests.

As for the eGolf, the U.S. price has not yet been set, but I expect it will be priced not too far from its main rival, the volume leader Nissan (LEAF). Depending on equipment, that would mean somewhere between $30,000 and $35,000 before tax adjustments.

Let's ponder this situation for a moment: VW is now the only automaker with two completely different, 100% electric, mainstream cars delivering in volume across broad geographies, in several countries. It is clear that VW has the electric-vehicle volume leader Nissan in its sights, even though Nissan is, of course, the world's dominant EV unit volume manufacturer, at this point.

Speaking of volume and growth markets, VW now sells 3.2 million cars per year in China. Volkswagen told me that it stands ready to meet any demand from the Chinese market in terms of selling locally made electric cars in significant volume.

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