Volk­swa­gen e-golf

Will a re­al­is­tic range of 124 miles suf ce?

What Car? - - Contents - Jimi Beck­with James.beck­[email protected]­mar­ket.com

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.

FIRST RE­PORT

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

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