Volkswagen e-Golf long-term test review

We like the regular Volkswagen Golf family hatchback, so surely an all-electric version is going to be one of the best cars around? Let's see if that theory holds up across four months of use...

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Jimi Beckwith
12 July 2018

Volkswagen e-Golf long-term test review
  • The car Volkswagen e-Golf
  • Run by Jimi Beckwith, special contributor
  • Why it’s here To prove that electric cars aren’t just for short trips and those who live in the city
  • Needs to Be reliable, leggy transport for three-figure daily mileage, with the comfort and convenience of a long-distance cruiser and the talent to match conventional petrol and diesel models

Price £32,075 (excluding government grant) Price as tested £35,490 (excluding government grant) Miles 5000 Official range 180 miles Real-world range 124 miles Options fitted Heat pump (£830), Winter Pack (£400), Active Info Display (£495), keyless entry and start (£375), carpet mats (£85), metallic paint (£575)

12 July 2018 – stop me and ask about an electric car

People ask a lot of questions when you’re custodian of an electric car, because owners today can still be considered early adopters. So, to avoid having to repeat myself every time I meet someone new, I’ve written a handy guide to anyone with a common query.

Questions vary from technical information to lifestyle questions, and with such a fast-growing segment, there’s bound to be confusion and a little misinformation. Here are the those that I’m most frequently asked:

Is the e-Golf an automatic?

Technically, no, because it doesn’t change gears. It has an automatic shifter to select park, reverse and neutral, but it actually has just one forward gear, so doesn't need a gearbox as we know it.

How long does it take to charge?

That depends entirely upon the charger's power output. Five hours is about the maximum from a 7kW home charger, and that’s the highest capacity that the e-Golf can take. Wall plugs, if compatible, can take nearly three times as long for a charge from almost empty.

Volkswagen e-Golf long-term test review

Why would I need a home charger when there are public chargers?

Public chargers, depending on the network, can be jolly expensive. Especially when considering you’re often not only paying for use of the charger but also for the time to park in that location. Some chargers are in free car parks, but these often have a time limit, and it’ll cost you dearly if you’re caught exceeding the maximum stay.

What’s to stop someone unplugging it mid-charge?

The charger locks into the car when the car is locked. You press the unlock button on the key to release the charger.

How far can you get in it?

That depends on how you drive. Harder driving can stunt your range acutely, but with the right driving style and comfort choices, you can actually exceed Volkswagen’s real-world estimate for the e-Golf’s range. Providing you’re not travelling by aeroplane, a UK-based holiday would be reasonably stress-free. You’ve just got to check charger availability where you’re going. It’s all part of the package, and you trade a little bit of forward planning for a considerable saving versus at the pumps.

Why aren’t there any chargers near me?

That’s a question for your local government to answer. That said, the private sector is doing an eye-opening amount of work to improve the UK’s charging infrastructure. BP, for instance, is working on putting a charger at every one of its UK filling stations. There are also apps that allow you to book someone else’s home charger if you need to, although there are some dry patches.

And finally… what happens if you charge the car in the rain?

The car will charge. It will not explode. You will not die.

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