With an all-new ID range of electric cars already in the planning stages, in 2011/12 Volkswagen needed an electric-car stopgap to fill the hole – so the Golf Mk7 stepped into the frame. And so, at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the e-Golf was revealed: an all-electric hatchback with a zero-emissions range of up to 300km.
The original e-Golf, launched onto the market in 2014, had an 85kW (115hp) electric motor with a 26.5kWh lithium-ion battery powering it. A single-speed reduction gear drove the front wheels only, with 270Nm of torque provided by the electric drivetrain. Those early, smaller-battery e-Golfs had an electric range of 190km (in the summer and warm weather; it was more like 120km in the colder winter), with a top speed of 140km/h and a 0-100km/h time of 10.4 seconds. CO2 emissions were, of course, non-existent, so the e-Golf is cheap to tax. In 2017, as part of a wider update of the entire Golf Mk7 range, the e-Golf gained a bigger (35.8kWh) battery and a more potent motor - 100kW (136hp)/290Nm. That improved both the performance (0-100km/h in 9.6 seconds, 150km/h top speed) and the range, with Volkswagen now claiming its EV hatch could do 300km on a single charge; expect more like 240-260km in normal usage, however. In Ireland, Volkswagen sold the e-Golf in a two-tier model line-up: the regular car and then a better-equipped Executive Edition.
If you can stretch to it, a 2017-on e-Golf is the better bet. Additional range is always welcome in pure electric cars and the 2017MY updates also made the e-Golf an even nicer thing to live with than it already was before.
Volkswagen e-Golf (2017 100kW model)
Engine: 100kW electric motor
Maximum speed: 150km/h
0-100km/h: 9.6 seconds
Fuel consumption: N/A
• Cheap tax
• Ecologically sound
• Range anxiety on older models
• Only one body style
• Not cheap to buy
The Volkswagen e-Golf was a masterstroke by the German company in many ways: it combined one of its most desirable models, the Golf Mk7, with all the pleasant attributes of a modern-day EV. Later cars are a better bet and the e-Golf is going to be limited to a single-model life, as the ID.3 electric car will replace it – there will be no Mk8 Golf with pure electric power. However, if you want a VW Golf and you don’t need to go mega-distances in it in one hit, the e-Golf might be the perfect low-tax, low-sin model for you.