Plug and play with Volkswagen's new e-Golf

The new Volkswagen e-Golf is brilliant but pricey
The new Volkswagen e-Golf is brilliant but pricey

Volkswagen e-Golf

The word ‘charge’ understandably frightens the life out of Irish people.

From water charges to household charges we, as a nation, are sick to the teeth of the word.

There is a similar reaction from buyers in Ireland when it comes to car ‘charges’.

Unlike the rest of Europe, we haven’t really sparked off when it comes to electric cars.

Yes, I have seen numerous Nissan Leafs on the road and docked in charge points around the country.

BMW’s funky i3, and even a couple of 130k-plus i8 supercars have passed me in traffic. But, in general, the sales of electric, and even hybrid cars to an extent, are very poor here in Ireland.

However, there is no shortage of choice when it comes to electric cars here, and the new Volkswagen e-Golf is the latest model to try and turn the tide.

Unlike the futuristic-looking BMW i3 or Nissan’s quirky Leaf, the Volkswagen e-Golf is based on the award-winning Mark VII Golf. 

Volkswagen decided to take its time developing the e-Golf, and resisted the temptation of quickly putting something on the forecourts to take on its main rivals.

They wanted everything to be perfect inside and out, and I think they have hit the nail on the head — apart from the price that is.

On the outside, apart from a blue strip down the side and an e-Golf badge on the front grille and rear boot (and possibly the fact it is silent), there is very little to make it stand out from its petrol or diesel siblings.

Inside, too, it looks as familiar as any of the lines in the Golf range and the same space is found everywhere apart from a few litres in the boot where the car’s lithium-ion battery lives.

There are a few tweaks to the information dished out on the eight-inch touch-screen, which gives you a so-called range monitor and provides all the information from energy-flow indicator to charge monitor.

On the road I found the e-Golf a pleasure to drive. Like the BMW i3, it has an abundance of torque on tap and you would never even think you were driving an electric car.

The usual range anxiety will certainly be the question that keeps popping up in people’s minds and here is what I found.

I am one of the fortunate drivers to be already geared up at home if the electric car craze ever really does take off, and monitored the system closely on my week-long test drive in the e-Golf.

With a daily commute of 14km from my home to my office slap bang in the middle of Dublin city centre, I was curious to find out how accurate the range on it was.

Starting off on day one with an estimated 130km range, I was very surprised how close it was.

This particular morning in question I was greeted with some thick fog as I closed the door behind me. It was on with the headlights, fog lights and radio for my trip into work.

With this, and the addition to some heavy traffic as I reached the city quay, I was very surprised to find that I had 110km left on the range.

The second day I only used 16km of my range and, over the course of my working week, I charged the e-Golf up only twice.

That’s not bad at all if you consider that it costs less than €3 per night to charge it up. Put it this way, I’d have spent a lot more on petrol or diesel.

Overall the e-Golf is a superb car. But like so many of the other electric vehicles it comes at a price.

At just north of €32k, there is massive premium to pay considering you can get an entry-level Golf for just over €19k.

Electric cars are certainly not for everyone, but if you are considering one, the e-Golf is up there with the best of them.