2015 Volkswagen e-Golf
It’s fun to drive, not only because it’s an electric vehicle – but also because it’s a Golf.
Certainly a Golf, I thought the first time I sat behind the wheel. The first thing I noticed, was a new instrument for charging and consumption instead of the ordinary tachometer. Furthermore, there are a number of small decor details spinning on VW’s “blue line” theme, like the blue line in the grill, the blue luminescent sill protector list, the blue threads woven into the seat cover and the blue threads that stitch together the leather on the steering wheel and the gear lever cover.
I especially like the characteristic daylight running lights which are also visible from the side. On the list of standard equipment you’ll find adaptive cruise control, navigation, leather steering wheel and a bunch of decor touches. My test car had also automatic folding mirrors, tinted windows from the B pillar and parking sensors front and rear.
My passenger commented that the seats seemed a bit simple – and that the sound of the radio was a bit weak. The fact is that she had recently been driving in a more costly car. The seats and radio in the e-Golf were quite okay, but not premium class. But who would complain? After all, both front seats were equipped with height adjustment, lumbar support and heatable.
You start the e-Golf as any Golf. One foot on the brake, turn the ignition key, release the hand brake, put the car in “drive” and off you go! E-Golf is very easy to drive. Since electric motors have a flat torque curve, the engine pulls off strongly from zero revs. Acceleration happens almost imperceptibly, with no engine noise.
You can run in three programs – “Normal”, “Eco” and “Eco+”. In “Normal” you’ll get 115 horsepower, torque like a diesel and a top speed of 140 km/h. There is plenty of power, even for a car that weights more than standard Golfs. In fact, it weighs the same as the Golf Alltrack wagon/SportWagen, but I recon that the e-Golf has a far better weight balance. It felt very close to 50:50. I also felt that the e-Golf is somewhat lowered compared to the standard Golf.
If you’re running in “Eco” mode, you’ll get the best of both range and performance – and a great portion of driving pleasure, too. In “Eco+” you’ll get less power from the engine and the air conditioning provides less heat or cold, but you’ll be able to follow the highway traffic as long as it doesn’t exceed 90 km/h (55 mph). Personally, I get a little panic every time the engine cuts. That’s why “Eco” is my favourite program.
From start, there are virtually no engine brake when you lift your foot off the throttle. But, by moving the gear lever to the left once, twice or three times, you select the recuperation level. The recuperation works like an engine brake. The higher recuperation, the more the engine brakes, and the more power are charged back to the batteries. It gives me a good feeling seeing the batteries being charged while driving. Of course, the batteries are also recharged by using the ordinary brakes.
I have not been able to determine how much the recuperation extends the range. I drove a distance of exactly 80 kilometers (50 miles) in temperatures of 14-15 degrees Celcius (59 F) and dry conditions. The range indicator’s kilometer reading matched the actual kilometres droven surprisingly well. On the beginning of the day, the range meter told me that I had 153 kilometers left. In the evening it said 71 kilometers. You can trust the range meter. Good to know for those who suffer from a bit of range anxiety, – myself included.
I wish the e-Golf had the same range as Tesla.
I’d like to point out that EVs like the e-Golf, give a special feeling of comfort during accelerations. It happens silently and almost imperceptible, – just like in a luxury limousine. The absence of engine noise is an advantage, but the very little sound you actually can hear, gets monotonous and soporific. I therefore recommend a good sound system.
On a nice september day, it was not possible to put the air conditioning on a proper test. Although most EVs produce satisfactory climate inside, I never want to utilize it to max extend in fear of loosing kilometers from the range – a consequence of my range anxiety.
At first glance, e-Golf’s cargo space seemed the same as the standard Golf. On paper, however, there is a difference of approximately 40 liters. In fact, less than expected, since the batteries are placed underneath the cargo compartment. Anyway, you also lose 100-150 kilogram (220-330 lb) of payload in the e-Golf, due to the extra weight of batteries.
According to NCAP, electric vehicles are as safe as any other cars in terms of passive safety, ie those caused by collisions. Golf feels like a safe car to drive. I would particularly emphasize the braking performance. I would also mention that the e-Golf has adaptive cruise control as standard. The sensor is visible in the lower front air intake.
At the moment, it’s good economy to drive an electric vehicle. You can fill your batteries 100% during the night for pocketmoney. Car buyers have never got more value for their money than today, and secondhand values are good. On the minus side is perhaps the danger of new battery technology. New technology means less demand for yesterday’s EVs.
If e-Golf had Tesla’s battery capasities, everyone could use it as their number one transport. Today, it is a typical car number 2.
Range is good compared to most, but still, I’d wish it was better.
⦁ Easy to drive
⦁ Total absence of engine noise
⦁ The list of standard equipment