eGolf: Game changer EV

DRIVEN EDI­TOR TONY VERDON TEST DRIVES THE NEW eGOLF HATCH­BACK AND DREW THOMP­SON TAKES THE DIS­TANCE CHAL­LENGE

Weekend Herald - - DRIVEN -

The styling of most elec­tric ve­hi­cles de­lib­er­ately sets them apart from the main­stream, but Volk­swa­gen takes a dif­fer­ent ap­proach with the new eGolf hatch­back.

Only true EV en­thu­si­asts and mo­tor­ing anoraks will dis­tin­guish the all- elec­tric model from the con­ven­tional fos­sil- fu­elled Golf hatch­backs.

Given that the Golf is one of the world’s best- sell­ing mod­els, the strat­egy makes sense, and six years af­ter its orig­i­nal launch, the eGolf is fi­nally avail­able here.

It has gone on sale for $ 61,990 plus on- road costs.

But apart from the badg­ing and blue de­tail­ing streaks ( as op­posed to the Golf GTI’s red streaks) the eGolf is al­most iden­ti­cal to other mod­els. The elec­tric­ity plug is even dis­cretely hid­den be­hind what is nor­mally the fuel- filler cap on other Golfs.

A dis­tin­guish­ing fea­ture is sep­a­rate LED day­time run­ning lights sweep­ing be­low the LED low and high beam head­lights.

Volk­swa­gen NZ has taken its time in­tro­duc­ing the eGolf and, as a re­sult, it is of­fer­ing a model loaded with the lat­est driver as­sis­tance, safety aids and tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing a vir­tual cock­pit, large full- colour touch screen­with ges­ture con­trol.

How­ever, the big ben­e­fit is the eGolf’s im­pres­sive range — de­scribed by Volk­swa­gen NZ as a “real world” 220km.

This means the car will travel with two peo­ple and the air con­di­tion­ing on, from Auck­land to Toko­roa.

How­ever, the main ad­van­tage the eGolf has over most of its sim­i­larly- sized EV com­peti­tors is that it is fun to drive.

Many Golf en­thu­si­asts in this coun­try have been wait­ing for years for the eGolf to ar­rive, want­ing a con­ven­tional look­ing elec­tric hatch­back, so they can dis­cretely drive about clean and green, and sus­tain­ably, with­out ad­ver­tis­ing the fact.

The e- Golf may be more ex­pen­sive than the com­pet­ing Hyundai Ioniq mod­els, but it of­fers a greater range and comes with the han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics that have pro­pelled the Golf to the top of the sales charges in most parts of the world. The 30 mil­lion- plus Golfs sold world­wide make it among the world’s three topselling mod­els. The eGolf is the best- sell­ing EV in that bas­tion of EVs, Nor­way.

In this coun­try, you can for­get about the type of di­rect cash in­cen­tives or scrap­page schemes the Euro­peans are us­ing to en­cour­age the switch. But the

eGolf of­fers all the ad­van­tages of the lat­est sev­enth- gen­er­a­tion Golf mod­els, in­clud­ing adap­tive cruise con­trol, and the pre­mium in­te­rior look and feel that Volk­swa­gen has so suc­cess­fully mar­keted since the first- gen­er­a­tion Golf went on sale decades ago.

In­side the car there are blue ac­cents across the cabin and on the dig­i­tal cock­pit in front of the driver. There is also a leather­cov­ered multi- func­tion steer­ing wheel, with blue cross- stitch­ing em­pha­sis­ing this pre­miere feel. The cloth seats are a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing given the ex­ten­sive range of fea­tures on the car.

The dash­board is dom­i­nated by the 9.5- inch touch screen, which can be con­fig­ured to suit a driver’s re­quire­ments. It ac­com­mo­dates au­dio and other func­tions, although nav­i­ga­tion is through Ap­ple Car Play and An­droid Auto sys­tems, so keep your cell­phone fully charged. There is scope for nav­i­ga­tion on the eGolf but, with so many po­ten­tial buy­ers pre­fer­ring to use these two pro­grams, it makes sense to use the au­to­mat­i­cally up­dated route maps through the phone.

It takes about 10 to 13 hours to recharge the bat­tery on the eGolf, on a slow charge. For most users that overnight charge will pro­vide more than suf­fi­cient range for their daily com­mute.

At a fast charg­ing sta­tion, it can be charged to 80 per cent ca­pac­ity in 45 min­utes.

The car has a 100kW elec­tric mo­tor, pro­duc­ing 290Nm of torque, and cov­er­ing 0 to 100km/ h in 9.6 sec­onds. It has a claimed top speed of 150km/ h.

Our four- day test drive showed the car is a prac­ti­cal EV that en­cour­ages you to drive it — the eGolf is more than just a shop­ping trol­ley. It has plenty of feel in the steer­ing, and cor­ner­ing is good, no doubt helped by the weight of the bat­tery sit­ting on the floor of the car.

At the speed limit, the cabin is

IT HAS PLENTY OF FEEL IN THE STEER­ING, AND COR­NER­ING IS GOOD, NO DOUBT HELPED BY THE WEIGHT OF THE BAT­TERY SIT­TING ON THE FLOOR

eerily quiet, with vir­tu­ally the only sound be­ing the road noise. With the win­dows shut tight, driv­ing the eGolf at speed on a smooth mo­tor­way is a lit­tle like trav­el­ling on a mod­ern Euro­pean elec­tric su­per- fast train.

Pic­tures / Ted Baghurst

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