What is it?
Volkswagen’s first modern battery car to hit UK showrooms. It’s on sale as of today, with deliveries starting in January 2014. And it’s an interesting introduction to the fledgling EV segment largely because of how apparently uninteresting it is.
This, after all, looks just like another Up: just another of VW’s current city car range. If you missed the ‘Tezzle’ alloy wheels, the one or two minor exterior styling changes and a model name that surely deserves a mention in Monty Python’s reunion performance, you could fail to recognise this as a member of the automotive new-age entirely. There’s no chance of that with a Renault Zoe or a Vauxhall Ampera.
But then making so little fuss about the showroom launch of its first mass-production EV seems rather typical of a company as centred around engineering as Volkswagen is.
Because if you could engineer your battery car to use the same platform, go down the same production line and benefit from the same economies of scale as one of your petrol-engined models, and thereby significantly mitigate the financial risk of investing in a stand-alone EV, why wouldn’t you?
Suffice it to say, VW could. The e-Up is no half-measure battery car, though, featuring a 81bhp, 155lb ft AC electric motor in place of the regular Up’s 74bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine, and drawing power from an 18.7kWh lithium-ion battery pack in place of the regular Up’s fuel tank. It has the same passenger space as a normal Up, it’s quicker to 62mph, and it’ll do up to 93 miles on a nine-hour three-pin at-home charge – according to the claims.