Let’s get right to it, as this is the first question everyone is going to ask when you bring up an electric vehicle. How far will it take me? Am I going to get stranded if I get caught in traffic?, etc., etc.
Here’s the skinny. VW’s e-Golf offered a top range, in my testing, of about 135 miles per charge. And here’s the caveat -- with regenerative braking at play while you drive, you can boost your overall mileage by driving the correct way. So that number could stretch into the 140+ range if you’re not trying to be a speed demon and drive in an eco way.
Turning off climate controls also boosts your ability to go farther in the e-Golf.
So how does this compare to the competition?
Well, it’s better than most electric vehicles, but falls behind the Nissan Leaf (which offers just over 150 miles) and the segment leader Chevy Bolt (with a dominating 238 miles per charge). But be aware that the Bolt costs more, starting about $36K, so you pay for that extra range. The Leaf, on the the other hand, is priced similarly to the e-Golf, and has slightly longer reach.
Be aware, too, that tax credits and incentives can lower the price of an e-Golf or other electric vehicles.
What these numbers mean practically is that this vehicle is targeted at those who live in cities or nearby cities that just need a commuter vehicle. There is not yet the infrastructure in place to take a plug-in vehicle like this on a long road trip, which is the biggest obstacle I see to them becoming a mainstream vehicle in the short-term.
While we all love the concept of not having to go to the gas station, here’s where the idea of electric vehicles turns many people off. Charging is not a quick process.
Without a special 240-volt outlet in your home, charging is excruciatingly long (or as Lionel Richie would say, “all night long”). That’s just not practical.
If you have the proper setup in your home/garage, charging is a four-hour process. Cost to install is about $1,000. This is much more reasonable, and a must if you’re going to get a vehicle like the e-Golf. But again, on the roadways your ability to charge, fast or slow, is limited. Hence the reason this is not a car for long trips.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
The regular version of the Golf is lauded annually as one of the best vehicles anyone can buy. It’s truly an enjoyable ride in all of its many variants. Usually, that can’t be said of electric versions of vehicles, which tend to be slow and uninspiring.
VW has pulled off quite a feat with the e-Golf, maintaining the smooth and well-handling nature of the base vehicle while turning it into the e-ride. If it weren’t absolutely silent due to its electric nature, you might not even be aware of its eco-updated status. It really does drive like a regular car, just a bit quieter. Numbers on the e-Golf are 134 horsepower and 214 lb.-ft. of torque.
One small note about the lack of noise: It’s easy to forget to turn off ignition due to lack of sound. Luckily it reminds you with a beep as you are trying to exit.
The heritage of the Golf name is well-upheld here … with the added bonus of driving past all gas stations.
The e-Golf is low to the ground, and it’s small but roomy for its segment.
You get a high-quality but not overly fancy interior setup. It’s the usual VW simple but effective design. Similarly, the tech/infotainment setup is the usual simplistic but effective/easy to use setup that VW offers on all its vehicles.
It did offer good tips on voice commands, and what to say to control navigation, phone, music, etc. Connecting your phone to the vehicle via Bluetooth is an easy process too.
The e-Golf is not meant for long trips, but if you live in the city and want to avoid ever getting gas, the e-Golf is a decent option in this growing segment, especially considering how well it maintains the quality of the ride that the Golf name promises.