FANCY AN ELEC­TRIC GOLF?

New Straits Times - - Cars Bikes & Trucks - HANNAH EL­LIOTT chooses to buy things that are com­fort­able and prac­ti­cal and whose aes­thet­ics fit her fru­gal, Protes­tant na­ture. The e-Golf falls into that camp.

WHILE the In­ter­net goes gaga ev­ery time Tesla in­tro­duces a to­tally new car, less en­thu­si­asm is gen­er­ally af­forded to an­nual up­dates on elec­tric cars in the bud­get cat­e­gory. I don‘t need to ex­plain why.

But the truth is, though the brands that make these cars do not have Elon Musk‘s flair for launch­ing near-per­fect prod­ucts in an ex­plo­sion of pomp and ado­ra­tion, they are reg­u­larly it­er­at­ing. And their cars im­prove by leaps and bounds with each pass­ing up­date. A lot of progress on elec­tric car tech­nol­ogy is be­ing made - not least in ex­pos­ing it to new au­di­ences and test­ing what dif­fer­ent buy­ers like and need.

Which brings me to the Volk­swa­gen e-Golf. It‘s not a car I‘d typ­i­cally re­view — those tend to be rather more ag­gre­sand sive good-look­ing — but I wanted to check on a new of­fer­ing from a very sen­si­ble cat­e­gory. VW isn‘t reach­ing for the stars with this one, but is it meet­ing its own goals?

WHAT IT SHOULD DO

Volk­swa­gen says the 2017 e-Golf should add „all the ben­e­fits of an elecve­hi­cle tric to the Golf‘s „fun-to-drive, yet prac­ti­cal“formula, for­ever end­ing the idea that com­pact EVs must be bland and fo­cused only on ef­fi­ciency. In short: It should be just like the spunky US$20,000 Golf (RM149,000 in Malaysia for the 1.4TSi ) but elec­tric. (Pric­ing for the e-Golf has yet to be re­leased.) With its improved per­for­mance the lat­est it­er­a­tion of e-Golf, though it looks ba­si­cally the same as it did last year, gets pretty close to that goal. I‘d give it a solid B-plus.

Look, it‘s not fab­u­lous. The in­ter­nal fab­rics are thin, the brakes are al­ter­nately soft and abrupt, the body is boxy, and the ac­cel­er­a­tion feels as though the thing just woke up from a nap. But it‘s a per­fectly pru­dent car. It has a lot of room in­side, it‘s or­gan­ised ra­tio­nally, and ev­ery­thing in it has a purpose.

To many driv­ers, beau­ti­ful ob­jects can feel friv­o­lous - even too ob­vi­ously good-look­ing to ac­tu­ally buy. To wit: My mother thinks Tes­las are „pretty“cars, but she wouldn‘t buy one even if she could af­ford it. Just as she se­lects her shoes and her jeans, she

HOW TO MEA­SURE IT?

Usu­ally when we talk about the per­for­mance of an elec­tric car, the con­ver­sa­tion cen­tres around its elec­tric per­for­mance: How long can the car go on one charge and un­der what driv­ing con­di­tions? How long does it take to charge it once you‘ve drained the bat­tery? The e-Golf comes new this year with a re­vised bat­tery that leads the in­crease in range from 134km to 201km on one charge. (This is un­der the most ef­fi­cient „Eco+“drive mode.) Sim­i­larly, the power from the 2016 ver­sion has risen from 115hp on an 85kW mo­tor to 134hp on a 100kw elec­tric mo­tor. Torque is up 20.3Nm too, to 290Nm. It is faster than last year‘s e-Golf, with a 100kph sprint speed of 9.6 sec­onds.

You can also charge it to 80-per cent full in less than an hour un­der „DC Fast-Charg­ing“mode (the ap­pa­ra­tus

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