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Volkswagen e-Golf (2014–)

Last updated 27 March 2018

Impressively swift and smooth performance. Maximum range is 118 miles. Regenerative braking makes town driving easier. Exempt from London congestion charge.
BMW i3 is cheaper.
Updated 5 September 2017
Updated e-Golf launched

The driving range is extended to 186 miles (NEDC), while with driving style and other parameters considered, the range is effectively 124 miles. New technology including Discover Navigation Pro. Available...

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Electric cars may not have taken off as predicted but if one car is going to truly boost awareness among the public it's the e-Golf. The electrically powered version of the ubiquitous Golf offers the same formula of practicality, quality and refinement as the rest of the Golf range, but with the big advantage of no emissions and no need to ever put fuel in it.

Instead you only need to plug in the e-Golf to charge it up. Using a wallbox, which are currently free to have installed through British Gas, a full charge from empty to maximum takes eight hours. With the electric charging network in the UK ever expanding, there are now far more charging points available at supermarkets, shopping centre car parks, railway stations and motorway services.

Of course the worry with any electric vehicle is that you will run out of power, miles away from a charging point. But with a maximum range of around 120 miles this is less of a worry with the e-Golf. Of course it's not a car that will suit everyone - but for many people who do even a reasonable distance commute, the e-Golf could be a realistic every day car.

It drives well too. This is no slow eco-special, instead it feels as rapid as a turbocharged petrol Golf. The power figures are reasonable with 115PS and 270Nm of torque, but what makes all the difference is that all the torque is available from a standstill, making the e-Golf a rocket at the lights. From 0-30mph it is effortlessly fast and really enjoyable to drive, even beyond the novelty factor.

It's just as good on larger roads with strong pace on the move. It's incredibly easy to drive with a single-speed gearbox plus there are clever regenerative braking modes which, although slightly disconcerting at first, make driving in town much easier.

The one sticking point is the price: the e-Golf costs £25,845 after the government electric car grant of £5000, about the same as a Golf GTD. However, the BMW i3 is a few hundred pounds cheaper and has more power, albeit with a slightly shorter range. What the Golf does have on its side is familiarity. It's very easy to get to grips with as, bar some different instrument dials, it's very much like any other Golf from behind the wheel. For those who want an electric vehicle without anything weird or wacky, the e-Golf has a lot of appeal.

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