Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: October 12, 2017
Electric vehicles are more affordable than ever, and many automakers are audaciously stepping up, investing, and pouring millions of dollars into these zero-emission vehicles. Hence, the segment is burgeoning with examples like the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, Hyundai Ioniq, and the Chevrolet Bolt. But there is a newcomer to the Canadian ranks, the Volkswagen e-Golf. While this is not the worldwide debut, this is the first time this 100% electric e-Golf is available to Canadians.
I’ll get the important figures out of the way first. The e-Golf has a range of 201 km (as per Natural Resources Canada), uses a 100kW electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery, and transfers power to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. Outputs are 134 hp and 214 lb-ft, and it can scoot from 0-100 km/h in a scant 9.6 seconds. Price? $35,995, but after Ontario government incentives (up to $14,000 with a purchase or 3-year lease), you’re left with a payment of only $21,995, which is actually cheaper than a similarly loaded Golf TSI Comfortline with a 1.8-litre gasoline engine.
And therein lies the rub. If the pricing of the e-Golf is similar to the regular Golf, why not go electric and save your monthly fuel bills? Well that’s what we wanted to find out. So we spent a full week with the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf, which was aptly dressed in a spritely and charming Peacock Green colour, possibly to remind us of all the trees we were saving. Cues to tell the e-Golf apart from its evil brothers? The obviously badging, C-shaped LED daytime running lights on the lower front bumpers, coloured strip on the front grill, ham-cutter wheel designs, and fake exhaust outlets at the back (re: Audi SQ5 levels of exhaust tip fakery).
The good news first. The Golf hasn’t lost its zippy, zappy, and fun personality by going electric. Handling is still wonderful, even better actually, helped by a low center of gravity since batteries are mounted down low below the floor. The front end is still eager to bite down and it turns direction with ease. The brake pedal, unlike other electric vehicles, doesn’t feel like pressing down on a spongy springboard. The pedal almost feels natural, but not even the LC 500h that we recently piloted could replicate the organic feel of a brake pedal without a regenerative system.
As with all other electric cars, off the line acceleration is potent and exciting. The front wheels will even chirp and struggle for traction for a millisecond before getting maximum grip. Once that happens, the e-Golf whirls itself forward with vigour and doesn’t let up even past the highway speed limit. It glides almost effortlessly.
The electric range of the e-Golf is perfectly acceptable for city driving and the rare bout on the highway. The official range is 201 km, but our e-Golf quoted us a magical 228 km on a full charge. That’s quite impressive and competitive with the Hyundai Ioniq. We netted a total range of 215 km over a week of driving with the help of regenerative braking, which made it a rather self sustaining vehicle in stop and go city traffic. Range estimates go up when you use Eco+ mode too, which limits power delivery and if it detects that there is no one sitting in the passenger seat, it will disable their temperature zone.
The e-Golf also lets drivers pre-set their vehicle during chilly mornings to get it nice and toasty while it’s still plugged into the socket, meaning you leave with a warm car and a full charge. On that note, a full charge with a standard power outlet takes 26-29 hours, but if you buy a Level 2 residential charger, it only takes 4-5 hours.
Other notable fuel saving features include low rolling resistance tires, but the biggest drawback with these is tire noise, and lots of it. So instead of hearing the combustion of fossil fuels under the hood, you’re left with the wind and the whirling of the four tires. Drivers can further utilize a “Brake” mode which offers four stages of brake recuperation: whenever you let off the throttle, the car will immediately slow down and recharge its battery, meaning you won’t have to brake as often. It requires some skill to drive smoothly in this mode, and my lack of dexterity has made some of my passengers feel nauseated in the process. Best to just leave it in normal mode.
The bad news? Luckily there isn’t much. The only drawback is that the e-Golf is only available in one trim: Comfortline. So if you desired those extras like a panoramic sunroof, leather seating (over the e-Golf’s leatherette), and fully powered driver’s seat from the combustion burning Golfs, you’ll miss out. On the bright side, the e-Golf does offer notable standard features like a heated windshield, which is a godsend in the winter but the orange vertical lines running along the windscreen might bother the OCD. Also standard are a rear view camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and keyless access. There are available packages too for extra connectivity and another for safety options. The Driver Assistance Package even comes with a digital instrument cluster with a form of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit that everyone seems to love. It only adds to a neatly designed interior with great packaging, especially with the positioning of the battery beneath the floor so it doesn’t impact rear passenger space or trunk room.
Post-electroconvulsive therapy, the e-Golf is still a Golf at heart, offering dynamic thrills with enough functionality and usability to justify saving the planet, one electron at a time. It sacrifices none of the delightful steering and ride balance that we adored with the gasoline variant, and with enough government incentives to offset the EV premium, the e-Golf offers an attractive and compelling argument for any buyer looking to make the audacious switch from fossil fuels. Forget diesels or gasoline, this is the Golf to get.
型号 Model: 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf
顏色 Paint Type: Peacock Green
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $35,995
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,629
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,270 / 1,799 / 1,452
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,567
引擎 Powertrain: 100 kW electric motor + 35.8 kWh lithium-ion battery
最大馬力 Horsepower: 134 hp
最高扭力 Torque: 214 lb-ft
波箱 Transmission: Single-speed transmission
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
Range: 201 km