Volkswagen’s up city car has been with us since 2011, while the electrified version was its first mass-production EV to reach the market when it arrived in 2013. That car provided a useful taste of what was possible, but the early tech meant battery capacity – and therefore range – was relatively limited.
The big news is a new lithium-ion battery with 36.8kWh capacity, compared to just 18.7kWh for the old car, which has a significant effect on its range; Volkswagen claims up to 161 miles (260km) on a full charge. Switching from prismatic to pouch battery cells has increased the energy density and cut the battery volume by 20 litres.
The electric motor remains as before, providing 82bhp and 156lb ft of torque. Take the option of CCS fast charging and the e-Up will go from zero to 80% charged in one hour, while a conventional 7.2kW AC charger performs the same feat in four hours.
The e-Up is part of a revised Up range which goes on sale in January of next year, with updates including six airbags and Lane Assist as standard. The Up will also be the first Volkswagen to carry the new company logo that was unveiled at Frankfurt earlier this year.
Much of what the e-Up presents will be familiar; despite the modest tweaks inside and out it is a classy small car that manages to justify the premium price you pay for the (new) VW roundel on the nose.
The exterior has been lightly refreshed with a nose treatment similar to the current e-Golf, but it is its taut lines and chunky proportions that make it arguably Volkswagen’s most charming design.
The key mechanicals outside of the battery pack itself remain as before, with the electric motor delivering 54bhp continuous and 82bhp peak power, with 156lb ft of torque available from rest. The single-speed transmission offers four engine braking modes, while new to the revised e-Up is the choice of three drive modes, with Eco and Eco+ scaling back performance and climate control outputs in the name of energy saving.
The more capacious battery pack is only 15kg heavier than before, but that makes it over 200kg heavier than the lightest regular Up. The good news is that much of that weight is low down in the chassis as before, while the strong torque from low speeds makes it easy to forget about the additional mass.