Last week I had the opportunity to drive a Volkswagen E-Golf for a couple of days. Having some experience with Electric Vehicles, I thought it might usefull to share my opinion on this car.
The VW Golf
The VW Golf itself is a terrific car. It’s a well equiped car, it drives smoothly, looks great. In short, I really love this car.
Volkswagen has made steps forward in their Navigation/entertainment system. They now support online traffic information, remote access where you can manage and see the car’s status. It’s all in their new Car-Net platform (which was not enabled on my testcar). Looking through the site you can see it has some wonderfull features.
The VW E-Golf
The E-Golf itself drives well. It has the same instant power as in other EV’s, and more then enough power to follow the traffic flow on highways. I particularly like it’s Adaptive Cruise Control, which is standard on this E-Golf. A feature to which I could get used too quickly.
But there’re some things that could’ve been done in a much better way.
The E-Golf has a battery pack of 24.2 kWh giving it a NEDC range of 118 miles (= 190 km). That’s theoretical range. Stepping into the E-Golf with a fully charged battery with A/C on, Normal driving mode it displays a range of 146 km. Assuming you could use the full battery to cover these 146 km, you’d have an average consumption of 165 Wh/km.
I managed to get a realistic consumption of 180 Wh/km with this E-golf. This was without making compromises. I always used A/C, when he wanted to cut power with only having 33km left, I put him back in Normal mode. Also note that the weather was really bad for an EV with lots of wind and rain. Getting this 146km is definitly possible, but not in cold or rainy conditions.
For me this range is not sufficient. And I think owning a car like this, you’d need an extra car with a bigger range for longer trips.
The E-golf doesn’t support 3 phase charging and can only charge at 7.2 kW. Because it doesn’t support 3 phase charging it will have to take all its power on 1 phase. At a Voltage of 240V this means 30A of current. The strange thing about this Golf is that you need to set the charging speed to predefined options (5A-10A-13A-16A).
I’ve limited my Keba charger to 25A, to not disrupt my home electricity. The E-Golf should be able to charge at 240V x 25A -> 6 kW at this charger. But because of the predefined options, I could only charge it at 240V x 16A -> 3.8 kW. This almost doubles my charging time.
Luckily the E-Golf can also do DC charging using the DC Combo plug. There it can charge at 50 kW, which fills it up to 80% capacity in half an hour. Giving you an extra 112km.
This E-Golf is a good effort for making an electric car. But no more then a good effort. The car still ‘thinks’ as a classic car with an internal combustion engine. For example, to start the engines, you still need to turn the key, like you’do in an ICE to trigger the starter motor. You can’t ‘start’ the engine when the car is not in Park. It would be a lot easier if you’d turn on in the ignition and put the gear leaver in ‘D’ and drive off.
And the battery is a bit small to make the car really practical. I can think of tons of occasions in which I drove more then 146 km in one day.
But more batteries makes the car more expensive. I enjoyed driving it, but this EV gave my real range anxiety. It gives you the feeling you’re constantly driving with a ‘Please Refuel now’ warning, a feeling I’ve never had in my Tesla.
I hope the battery technology evolvs in the near future, so that EV’s can become more practical and affordable for all people. If the E-golf doubles it’s battery capacity, it would be a handy car for my wife, but untill then, she’ll drive her VW Golf TDI.