No one has any clue why.
Although the latest generation Volkswagen Golf is no longer sold in the US - the sole exceptions being the Golf GTI and Golf R hot hatchbacks - it remains immensely popular in Europe, especially in Germany. One of the eight-generation Golf variants offered is a plug-in hybrid, a vehicle that makes sense for the eco-conscious buyer whose next vehicle could very well be an ID.3. But now there could be a potentially severe problem plaguing the new Golf E-Hybrid.
According to Germany's Automobilwoche, a two-day-old Golf Hybrid exploded and burned to a complete crisp in Felsenberg, Hesse. The driver managed just 186 miles before the mysterious fire erupted.
Emergency services responded to the scene and the driver told them they saw a "bright blue flash and a loud bang" while driving. This was so violent that it knocked out the windows. Even people in other parts of the city heard the boom.
"We take the incident very seriously, but we can't say anything about it at the moment," a VW spokesperson said when reached for comment. The first step to solving the fire mystery is to examine the vehicle itself (what's left of it). For now, the automaker is treating this as an isolated incident. Equally troubling, the local fire department reported it had difficulties fighting the fire.
Only certain parts of the car were extinguished without any problems, but not the battery. Despite their efforts, firefighters had to keep extinguishing the battery several times because it kept catching on fire. This was finally resolved only by submerging the entire car in a water-filled container. Not helping matters was the extremely cold weather.
The outside temperature at the time was just over 3 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the extinguished water to freeze on both the vehicle and the road. It's certainly possible there's a connection between the extreme cold and the exploding battery, but this is something VW needs to get to the bottom of very quickly.