The Golf has always been one of our favourite cars to drive here in Rev no matter which power plant it had fitted but we recently found ourselves taking delivery of the fully electric e-Golf. This is where Volkswagen have essentially taken one perfectly normal 5-door Golf, removed the engine along with the regular transmission in favor of a 36kWh electric battery with a single axle electric motor. It looks pretty normal too with no “look at me” electric car styling, just e-Golf specific wheels, front led lighting with blue detailing inside and scrolling indicators to the rear. All simple stuff and inside it’s no different. There’s an interface that looks just the same as in any high spec Golf and a traditional automatic gear-shifter which any VW driver will be familiar with. To start, it’s a simple turn of the traditional key although a keyless button start option is available. Once switched on, the dash indicates a green ‘Ready’ indicator and you can shift to “D” and off you go. It really is that simple and if truth be told, if I didn’t tell you it was electric there is no way to tell apart from the obvious silence.
The power delivery is linear as you would expect from any electric drivetrain and it gets to 100km/h in 9.6 seconds although it does feel a little faster. Naturally the harder you drive, the more you will deplete the claimed range of 300 kilometers. Our best was around 200km/h under load, driving in varied conditions. This might not seem like a lot but it’s fine for a daily commute on the fringes of any major city and with the national charging infrastructure set to improve further, you should never get caught short. If you are skeptical about the range left you have an option to shift the automatic lever from “D” to “B” for braking. This turns off the coast mode so that when you lift off the accelerator you engage the brake mode which in turn, harvests energy and replenishes your battery. It sounds somewhat complicated but it’s really not and very intuitive to get used to. Other EV’s such as the Leaf or i3 apply a much greater force of braking on lift off which can be disconcerting to a new driver but the e-Golf is very forgiving with an adjustable braking force of your choice.
At the time of writing we have been living with the e-Golf for four days. Every night we have charged it on a regular 230v, 50hz, 3 pin plug at home. It takes around 17 hours to fully charge or you can charge it from a dedicated 3.6 or 7.2kW wall box which our partner charged.ie can provide. On the 7.2kW unit it takes five-to-six hours to fully charge but the e-Golf is also compatible with fast and rapid-charge public stations which means you can get nearly 80% of the battery charged in under one hour. Each day we completed over 100 kilometers and felt zero range anxiety with in excess of 100 kilometers left in the tank. We drove it slow in traffic and we also pushed it a little bit on back roads to see how it handles. In the dry you would never notice any difference between this and its combustion powered brothers but in the wet it does understeer and wheel spin a little. This is no doubt down to the 300+kg of battery below the occupants but VW’s trick traction control is always there to keep the car in check.
In short, it’s no GTI but I doubt those looking to buy an electric car are worried about lap times. So what does the super silent e-Golf cost and who are the competitors? Including the SEAI electric vehicle grant scheme you can be driving the e-Golf for around €35,995. That pushes it north of Renault Zoe or the Nissan Leaf price point but still below the BMW i3 or Tesla Model 3. It just depends on which suits your needs and style. If you are looking for a robust refined hatchback that doesn’t shout ‘electric’ then the e-Golf is certainly worth a test drive! Right now punters can avail of 0% PCP meaning you could be in the e-Golf from as little as €379 per month!
Volkswagen e-Golf Specifications
Engine Size – Electric 36 kw
Fuel Type – NA
Power – 134 hp
Torque – NA
Acceleration (0-100km/h) – 9.6 seconds
Top Speed – 150km/h
CO2 Emissions – Zero
Boot Space – 341 Litres
Road Tax – €120
Price – €35,995