By Clive Funizwe
Yes, you read that right. It’s an all-electric eGolf, not a hybrid. So what makes the eGolf different to the normal golf it is based on, either than being powered by electricity?
The most obvious will be the 16-inch rims that are designed for reducing drag along with the tires, which too are low rolling resistant. Less noticeable, is the redesigned front bumper that has “C-Shaped” DTR lights, redesigned side skirts all which assist to reduce drag. Not reducing drag, is the blue stripes on the front bumper.
The interior is very much a normal Golf 7.5. The digital instrument cluster has more blue illumination to signal that this is an electric car and once again, eGolf badging in front of the gear lever.
Power is 100 kW/290 Nm from the 35.8 kWh lithium-ion battery and propels the front wheels through a single drive. [Read that as, No gearbox]. 0 – 100 happens in 9.6 seconds and top speed is 154km/h.
The retro fitting of the electric motor and batteries meant that compromises were going to happen. Either than the limited range that we will discuss in a short while, the boot space has dropped by 40 litres, because the batteries are underneath the boot floor. Under the false floor, the two charging cables are kept in two bags. One is for a fast charger, if you can find a reliable one, or a normal charging cable for use at home.
Drive and charging
How was it living with the eGolf? What remains true of the eGolf is that everything else is familiar barring the way in which you pilot the car and trip planning. VW claims a range of approximately 200km’s (170km to 230km) from a full charge. In our time with the eGolf, we did not get to see a full charge for several reasons. Within close proximity to our head office – the fast charge App that we downloaded showed us that we have 2 locations, one of which was shut down and the other being intermittently available. When it was available, the claims of 80% charge within an hour did not happen. We charged the eGolf from 20kms range to about 130kms over a 2-hour duration. By then we had had enough of re-ordering cappuccinos and fries.
So, our time with the eGolf saw us using our home charging points to keep the batteries boosted. Overnight, range boost only went up by around 35kms.
This is however not necessarily an issue with the eGolf, but rather, the infrastructure that supports electric car ownership. If fast charges are evenly spread out – it is easy to travel normal day to day distances and know that you can get somewhere and not struggle to top up the charge, without unexpected sleep overs. Piloting the eGolf also means that you need to modulate the accelerator in a way that you maximise on coasting (by completely letting go of the accelerator to allow the car to regenerate/motor brake).
The eGolf is about 300kgs heavier than the normal Golf and as a result, VW has fitted a slightly stiffer suspension to reduce the lean around corners. The eGolf is whisper quiet too, which makes for a very relaxing drive.
Overall, the eGolf is a step in the right direction barring the let down on the infrastructure for fast charge points. At this stage, the eGolf is not for sale in South Africa.
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