Will a realistic range of 124 miles suf ce?
Mileage 1889 List price £32,730 (before gov’t grant) Target Price £28,230 Price as tested £35,490 Test range 124 miles
I’VE GOT A new catchphrase. However, it’s not something iconic like “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do”, or inspirational like “Just keep swimming”. Mine is: “It’s a Golf. But it runs on electricity.”
That’s because I’ve just taken delivery of a new e-golf, a fully electric car that Volkswagen reckons will do about 124 miles between charges in the real world. That’s all very topical, but it needs explaining if people aren’t to assume it’s one of the countless conventionally powered Golfs on British roads.
Unlike some rivals, the e-golf doesn’t shout “I’m saving the planet”; unless you know what to look for, it’s all but indistinguishable from its uniquitous stablemates. The aerodynamic and exterior styling changes are subtle, while inside it’s the same classy yet conservative car we know and recommend.
Being an EV newbie, I’m inevitably going to suffer some range anxiety during my time with the e-golf. I live about 62 miles away from the What Car? office, in Southampton, giving me a daily round trip of 124 miles (I think you can see where this is going). However, I have the luxury of being able to recharge the battery pack both at home and at work, so the chances are that I won’t have too many problems.
Running costs aren’t zero, obviously; the e-golf costs around £4 to fully charge from home. From a three-pin plug and from almost empty, it takes around 14 hours to charge to full, but from a 7kwh home charger, it’s nearer a third of that.
Our e-golf is fitted with a few extras, namely an economy-boosting heat pump (part of the Winter Pack), keyless entry and start, floor mats and Atlantic Blue metallic paint, bringing its total cost to £35,490, or just under £31,000 after the Government’s £4500 plug-in car incentive.
On first impressions, as with most electric cars, the e-golf is eerily quiet and heavierfeeling than petrol equivalents, but with punchy acceleration. Volkswagen’s estimation of around 124 miles of real-world range seems bang on, although traffic makes a considerable difference to the car’s performance. The e-golf seems to last longer if you’re moving slower in heavy traffic – the opposite of what you’d expect from a petrol or diesel car.
The first time I found myself nearing the limit of the car’s range, there was plenty of warning to let me know that it was getting hungry – first when the range indicator read 30 miles, then at around 20 miles and finally at about 10 miles. Each warning was accompanied by a greater level of energy austerity than the last, with the first mildly limiting performance and comfort features, the second restricting them and the third basically strangling them.
By the third warning, I had sweaty palms and was already thinking about who to sheepishly call when I ran out of juice. Thankfully, it wasn’t needed, but I did feel like I was getting told off by the car’s increasingly stern warnings and limits. I’ll try to avoid a repeat in future.
Just another Golf? No; this one has an electric motor
Interior is comfortable and classy, just like any Golf’s
A full recharge takes four to six hours via a 7kw wallbox