Much of the e-Golf’s appeal lies in its familiarity, which is something Volkswagen is clearly banking on in its quest to become a force in the electric car ranks. As with the e-Up, it is entirely conventional to drive. This ease of use should make it an attractive proposition, not only for private buyers but also fleet operators and rental car agencies.
The e-Golf starts with a simple crank of a key in the ignition, at which its instruments spring to life to indicate the electric motor is primed. You then press a button to disengage the electronic handbrake and select d (for drive) via the gear lever – just as you do in conventional Golf models fitted with an optional dual-shift gearbox. The weighting of the throttle is heavier than usual, but it is easy to modulate on the run.
Save for some roar from the tyres, progress is silent at city speeds. There is sufficient power on tap and nimbleness within the chassis to make the e-Golf fun in an urban environment. The steering is also pleasantly direct, albeit largely devoid of any meaningful feedback.
While it has focused on making the e-Golf easy to operate, Volkswagen has not shied away from providing it with variety of standard energy boosting functions that help the driver to extend its range.
By sliding the gear lever in to B (for brake energy recuperation), you can alter the amount of kinetic energy collected during braking and subsequently stowed in the battery for latter use – and with that comes an altering in the rate of deceleration on a lifted throttle.
There are four defined steps of energy recuperation – D1, D2, D3, D4 - engaged either via the gearlever or steering wheel-mounted paddles; the least severe of which sees the e-Golf gently slow as you back off the throttle and the most severe of which is equivalent to a prolonged nudge of the brake pedal.
There are also three different driving modes – Normal, Eco and Eco Plus - engaged via the touch-screen monitor. They progressively reduce the amount of power produced by the electric motor, allowing the driver to choose between the maximum 114bhp, 94bhp or 74bhp.
Performance wise, there’s little to complain about. With 199lb ft of torque available the moment you nudge the throttle in normal mode, the e-Golf bursts off the line with a strong and seamless surge of acceleration, hitting 37mph in 4.2sec – a time Volkswagen suggests is quicker than the Golf GTI to provide it with a likeable, spritely nature in an urban driving environment.
The 0-62mph time is a little less notable at 10.4sec, owing in part to the fixed gearing and effect of its 1510kg kerb weight, which makes it 230kg heavier than the Golf 2.0 TDI. However, the all-electric Golf is anything but slow, possessing plenty of urge on the run. Top speed varies depending on the driving mode, limited to 87mph in normal, 71mph in Eco and 56 mph in Eco Plus.
The inherent qualities of the electric driveline make for quiet and relaxed progress. However, the added weight and 205/55 R16 profile low-rolling resistance with stiff side-wall structures have taken the edge off the ride, which is noticeably firmer than other Golf models.
The e-Golf’s claimed average consumption of 12.7kWh/100km is quite impressive, providing it with an official range of 118 miles. With variances in route profile and driving style taken into account, Volkswagen suggests the real world range is between 81 and 118 miles