Driven: Volkswagen e-Golf
The electric age of mobility is upon us. There is no denying the fact manufacturers are pushing to transform their product offerings from the good old petrol engine to electric. In order to test the waters, Volkswagen South Africa let us get behind the wheel of the e-Golf. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the e-Golf
The e-Golf is an all-electric Mk 7.5 Golf that looks just like any other Golf. To the untrained eye, nobody will know that this is a fully electric car. Our test unit did however say Electric along the side. Other than that, upon closer inspection, you will notice little e-Golf badges, blue accents in the headlights and unique rims. We like this, electric cars don’t need to look as if they have come from the future. The e-Golf looks relevant, it looks current and relatable.
What is the interior like?
Just like the exterior, the interior is just like any other Golf. A quality filled cabin features a familiar-looking facia, a large infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay compatibility. There’s an easy to use digital instrument cluster. The centre console is also just like that from any other Golf. Expect if you look closely there are three things that stick out.
One is the fact that this car doesn’t have a rev counter. The second is that it says e-Golf on the centre storage compartment lid, and next to the the gear-lever is a ‘B’ mode.
Other than that the cabin is spacious, well built and we could easily live with this car on a daily basis.
What’s under the bonnet?
Ok, let’s talk numbers. The e-Golf is powered by a 35.8 kWh Li-ion battery system that powers a 100kW and 290Nm electric motor which provides a realistic range of between 170km and 230km on a single charge.
What’s great is that when you select ‘B’ model it uses the Brake Regenerative technology to recoup some charge when costing and braking. We saw up to 10km of regenerated range in some cases.
How easy is it to live with?
Charge times can take anywhere from 12 hours when using a 3kWh charge source (typically found at home) to as little as 40-minutes with a high-output 60kW fast-charging solution. We made use of a 22kWh charge port for 1 hour 30 minutes and saw a range increase of 80km.
When we plugged the car into a DC charger it went from 35km range to 263km in around 45 minutes. This cost is a total of around R173 to charge, which is not bad.
The e-Golf is a brilliant little thing. It offers the same driving experience as any other Mk 7.5 (excluding the GTI). Living with an electric car was relatively easy. Making use of the charging network was also fuss-free and Grid Cars have made the process of signing up to their service, payment and customer support extremely user friendly!
It is worth remembering that this is relatively old technology already and manufacturers have already improved in design as well as battery range since this car came out a few years ago. Despite this, we would definitely want to own this car, unfortunately, Volkswagen South Africa is not going to sell them. Let’s hope they introduce an electric car that we can purchase soon.