Our best EV of the year is a VW
Electric newcomers should start swarming in 2019, with the promise of Tesla Model 3, Jaguar I-Pace, and Audi e-tron among others, but 2018 wasn’t so busy.
That said, the NZ EV fleet more than doubled last year, thanks mainly to second hand Leafs. Regarding new EVs, Tesla did good numbers (250) in 2018, but was outpointed by Hyundai with 317 thanks to Kona and Ioniq, the latter the best new EV seller of 2018 and the least expensive. But of the newcomers, the one we took a bit of a shine to was Volkswagen’s e-Golf (109 sold).
It preludes a slew of new EVs from VW, which has professed a desire to become the leader in the field. It’s first dedicated EV, the ID, will debut this year and VW is suggesting this may become the new price leader in the area.
Meantime, the e-Golf impressed us the most as a discreet EV package, looking like any other Golf as opposed to a visual oddity and adopting a simple approach in the cabin. There’s 39L less boot space, the battery pack intruding slightly but 341L is certainly adequate.
At launch it was one of the least expensive new EVs around, costing $62,990 (now $68,490). Standard spec includes active cruise, AEB, blind spot monitoring, fatigue detection and the like, plus three drive modes. Its 38.5kWh battery offers around 220km. Drive it at urban speeds and you should get 250km. The battery takes 10.5 hours to recharge using the supplied 3.6kW charger. A 30-min fast charge replenishes the battery from 50 per cent to full.
Performance you’d describe as similar to that of a regular Golf, though the electric version is quicker off the mark with 290Nm available from zero revs. It’s also a regular drive, differing little from that of a conventional Golf for ride and handling. The main point of difference is that it’s whisper quiet in operation, so beware jaywalkers who might not hear you coming.