VW Up Blue-e-motion review
* Electric Volkswagen Up driven * Priced from 14,000 (est) * On sale 2014...
The VW Up Blue-e-motion or e-Up, as VW abbreviates it is a fully electric version of the award-winning Up city car.
Planned for UK launch in 2014, the Up Blue-e-motion is intended to compete with the imminent Renault Zoe and other electric superminis that will no doubt be on the way by then.
The e-Up has an 81bhp electric motor that can deliver 155lb ft of torque as soon as you floor the accelerator from rest, and a lithium-ion battery pack slim enough to be housed under the floor.
The car with battery pack weighs around 1160kg, which is about 200kg more than a standard, petrol-fuelled Up.
What's it like to drive? Lively. Like many electric cars, the e-Up has a lively step-off from rest, and continues accelerating with verve at urban speeds, although the gusto fades a bit on the open road.
Top speed is limited to 81mph, while 0-62mph is reached in less than 14 seconds.
There's just one forward gear, which is selected on this prototype car by an automatic transmission-type lever. Pull the lever back against a spring from the normal Drive position and you'll enter the regenerative braking mode, which means the e-Up slows vigorously as soon as you lift the accelerator.
This helps recharge the battery, but you might prefer the regular mode, which just lets the e-Up freewheel when you lift off.
The e-Up is quiet, even in this prototype form. An occasional distant whine is the only noise the engine and gearbox ever make.
What's it like inside? Just like a normal Up apart from a power consumption/recharge meter and remaining-charge gauge in place of the rev counter and fuel gauge.
Interior- and boot space are exactly the same as in conventional Ups, thanks to the battery's underfloor positioning. There's a little less ground clearance, but still enough.
Should I buy one? The big question concerns the range on a full 5.5-hour charge. Volkswagen reckons just over 90 miles when it's warm outside, which is comparable with current electric cars, and enough to make the e-Up a practical short-distance commuter car.
Prices are yet to be determined; the eventual figure will be a 'political' one to ensure the e-Up is competitive rather than immediately profitable. It will be the most expensive Up, but not by much. We think 14,000 would be a good estimate.
For now, we know it works and works very well.
What Car? says...