It's a Golf. Look closely, however, and you'll spot the closed-up radiator grilles since batteries don't need as much cooling, and that lower ride height, which also improves aerodynamics to increase the range. The logic seems unassailable, if people like the Golf, why wouldn't they like the battery Golf? Why indeed?
This was the logic that motivated VW engineers as long ago as 1976, when they created the first 20kW electric Golf, the Mark I Citystromer, one of the first EV hatchbacks. VW has produced battery-powered Golf models in all seven of its guises; most of them test vehicles which didn't go on sale. But all this research did help to develop the technology and provided a spur to the company's 'Strategy 2025' plan, which will see the introduction of over 30 electric cars before 2025. For this year, the e-Golf gets an uprated battery pack and motor to increase its performance and range, as well as its weight and recharging time.
The VW-made synchronous AC motor now delivers 134bhp/100kW (increased from 113bhp) and 214lb ft, turning at a maximum of 12,000rpm and driving the front wheels via a single-speed, step-down transmission. The 345kg battery pack contains 264 Samsung lithium-ion cells providing 35.8kWh (up from 24.2kWh) and 323 volts. Prices start at £32,190 and as tested including £4,500 Govt grant it cost £27,690.
The car is based on the Mark VII Golf, underpinned with VW's MQB architecture, which was designed to accommodate an EV driveline from the start, so the battery is under the floor and the control electronics are low in the frame. The NEDC Combined range is quoted at 186 miles, which is a big improvement on the previous model's 99 miles, but VW cautiously (and more realistically) quote an all-conditions range (think hills, extreme heat or cold and/or fast driving) of 124 miles. Not that EV cars are a complete environmental free lunch. Using e-Golf's over optimistic NEDC range and a conservative estimate of average UK electricity generation carbon dioxide emissions of 470g/kW, the Golf's well-to-wheel CO2 emissions equate to about 56g/km.