Volkswagen’s newly electrified Golf goes on sale this week. The five-door electric version of the multi-award-winning Golf takes all the practical features of the petrol version without the CO2 emissions. However, VW’s BlueMotion diesel engine has the upper hand in “fuel” efficiency. Or has it?
At face value, the e-Golf is one of the most reasonably priced electric vehicles on the road. Inclusive of battery ownership, prices start from £25,845, including Plug-In Government Incentive (PIGC). This is only two thousand more than its 1.6l BlueMotion cousin. When kitted out with similar specs, the 1.6l TDI 105 is £23,620. (Pretty impressive, when you consider the e-Up! starts at more than double the price of the basic petrol model!)
Surprisingly disappointing MPGe
The e-Golf sports the chassis of the Golf SE. This model can be equipped with the BlueMotion1.6l turbocharged diesel engine boasting a fuel efficiency of 74.3 and CO2 emissions of only 99g/km. The e-Golf may have no emissions, but in calculating the MPG-e – the industry’s bewitching mathematical equation to obtain some semblance of familiarity and common denomination – the e-Golf tracks just over 66MPGe.
Welcome wallet relief
Some contest MPGe figures. MPG itself is arguably outdated. So let’s talk in something we all understand. Good ol’ fashioned money. First, some stats: the 318 kilograms of lithium-ion batteries power an 85kw electric motor. Though the e-Golf has a nifty 270Nm of torque, its NEDC (official) range is only 118 miles. This means the e-Golf probably does closer to 100 miles in reality. Is this a bad thing? No, not at all. Research has shown that drivers average around 8-10 miles of driving a day. So 100 miles covers most round trips. Based on 100 miles, the e-Golf costs only £1.71*, whereas the Golf will set you back £8.32 based on February’s AA diesel prices. If an average month is 30 days and we drive around 10 miles per day, the e-Golf saves you around 79.4% in fuel each month. If you’re really savvy, you can charge away from home, which in most cases currently is free to do.
Less remarkable charging times
In terms of charging, the e-Golf isn’t particularly fast. It can be charged from a standard three-pin socket in 13 hours. British Gas is still offering free home wall-box fittings. This 3.6kw supply reduces that time to eight hours for 0-100% charge. Generously, VW’s standard UK package includes the fast charging cables (our continental neighbours have to pay extra). This means you can make use of Volkswagen’s partnership with Ecotricity and charge to 80% in just 35 minutes. Not spectacular, but if you find yourself doing significantly more miles, you’ll be charging for free and may find these required breaks useful for catching up on messages, tweets and emails mid-journey.
The e-Golf sports full LED headlights – the first VW production car to feature this energy-saving technology. As with the e-Up! VW uses ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’ buttons to engage a more limited motor for more frugal battery consumption. Volkswagen’s engineering proves itself unparalleled with the different levels of regenerative braking, which also conserve battery. Volkswagen has also capitalised on the recent boom in smartphone integration. Connectivity via VW’s ‘Car-Net’ app allows drivers to control charging, heating and cooling remotely. This makes the most of the car’s features while it’s on charge, saving precious battery power. The price includes a three-year subscription to Car-Net.
Sure enough I’ve scratched an arbitrary 18 miles off the range for convenience’s sake. This can only mean one thing, in light of all the work Volkswagen has done to maximise the battery efficiency: my figures can be improved upon in the real world. For now, though, they give a fairly realistic picture of what you can expect to pay. Without the benefits of higher range, free charging, less servicing, no road tax, you’ll only break even at the back end of a decade. The BlueMotion technology offers a persuasive argument for staying with fuel. That said, longer breaks between filling up however are difficult to compare with the cleaner air quality and over 79% in month-to-month savings.
*based on British Gas Economy 7 overnight tariff.