What is it?
Volkswagen The original Volkswagen e-GolfVolkswagen was easy to like. Where several notable contemporaries seemed intent on making a statement first, and functioning as a practical everyday car second, Volkswagen built its very first production electric car right into the world’s most recognizable (and arguably best) hatchback. Any wider quibbles about usability were thus rendered null and void from outset; it was still a Volkswagen Golf for all to see, albeit one with a range of only about 100 miles or so.
That, naturally, was the one limitation of the electric powertrain which Volkswagen could not readily conceal (decent though it was for the segment). Unsurprisingly then, that it is the main feature that the engineers have set about fixing on this, the Mk2. They have succeeded to the tune of 186 miles – or 300km as the New European Driving Cycle prefers to measure it. Not nearly as far as internal combustion would carry you on a single tank of fossil fuel, but enough now at least for you to potentially drive for an hour or so, and still get back home again.
The greater range has been achieved by the fitment of a bigger (in capacity terms) lithium-ion battery; increasing its charge limit from 24.2kWh to 35.8kWh. The output of the electric motor mated to it has improved, too: from 113bhp to 134bhp, meaning that the Mk2 takes almost a second out of its predecessor’s 0-62mph time. As before, it’s possible to charge the Golf from a standard domestic 230v supply, although it’ll take over 13 hours to return 80 percent of charge capacity. From a charging station (the home-installed kind) it’ll take a little over 4 hours; from an all-singing, service-based Combined Charging System, 45mins.
So it’s not at Tesla Supercharger levels of convenience then – but in comparison the e-Golf majors on affordability. Volkswagen isn’t quite ready to confirm the model’s final sticker price – but expect it to be only marginally more expensive than the current £31k version. Apply the £4500 reduction you get courtesy of the government’s plug-in car grant, and no-one will be paying more than £28k for an all-electric Golf, which makes it an appropriate halfway point between an entry-level Nissan Leaf and the range-extended BMW i3.