Wolfsburg’s electric hatchback is 'too new' for some motorway fast-chargers, posing potential challenges for owners

The first UK customers taking delivery of a new Volkswagen e-Golf over the coming weeks may encounter problems with fast-charging, Autocar has learned.

The electric Golf, which is fitted with ‘Combined Charging System’ DC rapid-charge functionality as standard, is currently incompatible with many of the ‘CCS’ charging installations already in place on the UK motorway network and operated by sustainable power provider Ecotricity.

It’s believed that a software problem with the chargers prevents them from establishing a connection with the car, and starting a charging session. 

Volkswagen UK is currently working with Ecotricity and charger manufacturer DBT-CEV to address the problem, but for the moment the electric VW’s longer-range autonomy is seriously hamstrung.

AC 'trickle-charging' – which takes some seven hours to completely refresh the car’s 24kWh lithium-ion battery – will be the only available solution at most public charging points. Via rapid-charge, e-Golf owners should be able to restore 80 per cent charge, and roughly 85 miles of range, to their car’s battery in 30 minutes.

The problem is specific to the e-Golf, with other cars using the ‘CCS’ fast-charging standard such as the BMW i3 and even the older VW e-Up city car charging from Ecotricity’s DBT fast-chargers without issue.

Meanwhile, other ‘CCS’ fast-chargers in the UK – specifically those manufactured by ABB and installed by network operator Chargemaster off the motorway network – will charge the e-Golf.

Both Ecotricity and Volkswagen UK were approached by Autocar for comment to clarify the situation.

In a statement, Volkswagen said: "A software issue with some DC fast-chargers means that they currently will not charge the e-Golf. In our testing with similar chargers, they operated as required.

"We are working with the manufacturers of the units to come to a solution. Volkswagen e-Golfs can of course also be charged using widely available AC charging using either a standard Type 2 connector or indeed a domestic three-pin socket."

An Ecotricity spokesperson added: "VW and DBT are working on a solution that will update the software throughout the network, allowing e-Golfs to charge on the electric highway. This should be completed within the next week or two."

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Our Verdict

Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf is typically understated and classy in a world of original and unique looking electric vehicles

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27 August 2014
Why the breathless reporting as if this is breaking news? This situation has been known about for a considerable time and could easily have been mentioned in your road tests of the E-up and the E Golf. I blame Euro manufacturers for insisting on a new standard just to try and break any momentum / head start that Nissan had gained with the Chademo system - it is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

27 August 2014
Every time it rains the very sensitive earth leakage trip decides to trip out, so you come out in the morning after a little light drizzle during the night and the thing's still completely flat. Awesome.

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