Volkswagen e-Up (2014) Review
Volkswagen e-Up (2014) At A Glance
The Volkswagen e-Up is a pure EV version of its city car, sitting alongside Volkswagen Group alternatives like the Skoda Citigo i EV and SEAT Mii Electric, as well as alternatives like the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf. First introduced in 2014 with an updated version arriving in early 2020, the e-Up remains a city car first and foremost, not capable of the same generous range as conventional cars or more sophisticated EVs. Even so, the combination of sprightly performance, low noise and easy driving style arguably gives it the edge over the petrol Up in the city.
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While some manufacturers have decided to build dedicated electric cars - the Nissan Leaf being a case in point - Volkswagen has taken the route of developing models that can be powered by different types of motor. So from its initial design, the Up was always designed to be fitted with an electric powertrain, creating the e-Up. The compact motor provides 82PS and with a single-speed gearbox it's actually the quickest Up in the range.
Original versions of the e-Up from 2014 on were fitted with a 18.7kWh battery, giving a range of approximately 100 miles on a single charge at best. More recently the e-Up was revised and fitted with a 32.3kWh battery, almost twice the capacity of the original.
These later versions have an official range of 159 miles under the tougher WLTP measurement, so the real-world range is much improved. Of course the faster you accelerate the quicker you drain the battery, but there are regenerative braking modes. As all the electric motor's torque is available from zero revs, the e-Up is impressively nippy from a standstill and is similarly strong from around 30mph.
A standard charge takes nine hours from a conventional three-pin socket, but owners are better off getting a wallbox which offers a significantly faster charge of around six hours. All the various cables required come with the car and live in a neat slot in the boot. Unlike rivals like the Renault Zoe, there's no leasing of the battery - it's all part of the final price. The battery itself is modular and has an eight year or 100,000 mile warranty.
The e-Up is considerably more expensive compared to the rest of the Up range but it does come very well equipped as standard with a heated windscreen, DAB radio, climate control, navigation, rear parking sensors and 15-inch alloys.
It will certainly appeal to those who have to travel into the central London congestion charge zone and also makes a lot of sense as a second car. It’s also arguably better to drive in urban environments compared to the petrol Up, even without the congestion charge advantage.