FANCY AN ELECTRIC GOLF?
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