What’s life actually like with an electric car? Ginny Weeks tries a week with the Volkswagen e-Golf.
What is it? The zero emissions e-Golf has all the looks, size and practicality of the original Golf, but it’s powered purely by electricity. With a range of 190kms in between charges, this car is best suited to shorter trips rather than long commutes.
First impressions of the e-Golf? The solid, sophisticated look and feel is very much the same as the standard car, but this model has subtle design tweaks that give it its own distinctive look. These include LED daytime running lights, aerodynamic alloys, a closed grille and blue design details such as the logo badge and model plaque. Unlike many other electric cars it looks very much like a ‘normal’ car.
So how does it work? The e-Golf is powered by an electric motor that produces 85kw and 270Nm of torque. What this means in the real world is that the e-Golf can achieve a top speed of 86mph and accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds. Like many other electric cars the motor regenerates lost energy from braking and recycles it back into the battery for later, whilst the handy Powermeter guides you through the energy performance and acceleration.
What about charging? The battery can be charged three different ways – either by a domestic mains socket at home, which can take up to 13 hours (best for overnight charging), by a charging station (sometimes as quick as 30 minutes for 80 per cent charge), or by a wall box (around seven hours for 100 per cent). Charging is very easy – simply plug the connected charger into the socket where the petrol flap is and you’re good to go!
What does it feel like to drive? The e-Golf has a rapid acceleration that will take you by surprise. It is seriously quick and much faster than its 115bhp (and 0-62mph figure) would suggest. With no lag or sound from the engine it takes some getting used to, but I loved the smooth, fast drive and easy automatic gear changes. The only downside with its lightning fast acceleration is that the instant surges of power can be quite nauseating for passengers.
What was it like to live with? A real pleasure. I, like everyone who hasn’t had much experience with electric cars, had a touch of ‘range anxiety’ until I realised the car could quite happily do my regular trips without any hint of running out of miles. The only time I felt slightly worried was on the motorway when the mile range dropped dramatically, but as soon as I was back in town the miles crept back up again as the battery recovered. It takes a bit of getting used to.
What was the real life range? With two charges I managed to cover 200 miles with some miles left on the clock. During my seven days with the car I did a mixture of motorway and town driving and in the middle of the week I charged it overnight at home using the supplied charging lead and a normal plug. The charge took 10 hours to reach 100 per cent and cost me approximately £4.80.
How much? From £31,680 with £0 tax and congestion charge costs.
What about my options? There is only once choice of engine, but the e-Golf comes well equipped as standard. You get a very user friendly sat nav system, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, LED head and tail lights, DC fast charger, body coloured bumpers and a multi-function steering wheel. Optional extras include sound packs, park assist and a rear view camera.
3 words to describe the e-Golf? Fast, practical, efficient
8th June, 2016