Volkswagen e-Golf plugs in to electric car market

PUBLISHED: 18:30 07 January 2015 | UPDATED: 18:30 07 January 2015

Volkswagen e-Golf runs purely on electric power with a range of up to 118 miles.

Volkswagen e-Golf runs purely on electric power with a range of up to 118 miles.


Volkswagen follows its electric city car with an electric Golf. The e-Golf boasts ample real-world performance plus the convenience of a regular family hatchback, says Iain Dooley.

What’s new

Outwardly Volkswagen’s e-Golf looks like any other Golf, but this is the German company’s latest foray into the world of electric motoring. Just like the e-up! city car, Volkswagen’s aim has been to normalise the electric car experience. This means a conventional design and an equally conventional driving experience.

The combination of battery pack and electric motor results in a very Golf-like driving experience, with performance figures matching those of a mid-range petrol model, while the car’s multi-mode recharging system allows a choice of overnight, rapid and super-quick (80% in around 30 minutes) scenarios depending on your daily routine and location.

Volkswagen e-Golf

■ Price: Volkswagen e-Golf, £26,145 including £5,000 government grant

■ Engine: 113bhp electric motor

■ Transmission: Single speed driving the front wheels

■ Performance: 0-62mph 10.5 seconds; top speed 87mph

■ Range: Up to 118 miles

■ CO2 emissions: 0g/km

Looks and image

The seventh-generation Golf can never be described as visually radical, but what it lacks in shouty ‘look-at-me’ appeal it makes up for with a sensible, confidence-inspiring design that’s unlikely to go out of date quickly.

It’s unmistakably a Golf and that’s the point – VW’s mid-size hatchback boasts universal appeal, is instantly recognisable and refreshingly fuss-free in looks and execution.

Space and practicality

The e-Golf is no less practical or accommodating than its petrol and diesel cousins. Cabin space and oddment storage are generous, while boot space is more than acceptable.

You’d never know the car was electric until you turn the key – and hear nothing. VW is quoting the range as ‘up to 118 miles’ – about 100 miles in the real world, a little less if driving hard or in chilly weather.

Behind the wheel

This electric Golf is every bit as good as its conventional stablemates when it comes to driver enjoyment, while the hushed progress is a pleasing bonus. Everything inside the car is conventional, with only a special gauge telling you of remaining charge and the level of energy regeneration achieved giving away the car’s true identity.

Brisk performance is easily achievable, while ride comfort and cabin refinement is top notch. Different driving modes allow fine tuning to extend remaining battery range by increasing the level of energy recuperation from braking – the most intense setting gives enough ‘engine braking’ to almost abandon the brake pedal completely in town.

Value for money

This e-Golf isn’t alone in the electric car market for being priced at a premium above a comparable diesel. However, factoring in the government’s green car grant brings the Golf’s price down to a relatively acceptable level. That said, the car’s fuel – electricity – can be bought for very little so considerably offsetting day-to-day running costs.

Following on from the e-up!, the e-Golf includes generous standard kit. And don’t forget, the e-Golf also attracts zero vehicle excise duty, is London congestion charge exempt, is eligible for free or reduced parking in dedicated charging bays around the country and affords business-users favourable tax rates over that of a regular company car.

Who would buy one?

Early adopters with a green leaning should form an orderly queue for the e-Golf. The car is conventional enough to attract mainstream buyers seeking to embrace eco motoring, while there’s enough technology to keep technology fans happy. It’s also the least futuristic-looking of this new breed of electric cars, which is a bonus if you don’t feel the need to shout about your environmental views.

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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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