The Volkswagen “dirty diesel” stigma might still exist in some consumer’s minds, but the all-electric e-Golf could be a much cleaner option for those looking to save on fuel costs. And while Volkswagen’s electrified hatchback might not suit everyone’s daily needs, it provides a fair amount of practicality and reliability. But is buying a Volkswagen e-Golf really a good idea?
Why the Volkswagen e-Golf is a good idea, in theory
The Volkswagen e-Golf debuted back in 2015 as the first all-electric offering from the brand. While it wasn’t exactly a premium model, nor did it get the best range, it did offer prospective buyers a practical means of getting into an electric car without having to pay the hefty price for a Tesla. Price and range aside, the main draw of the Volkswagen e-Golf was that it looked and felt like a normal car.
And that’s because it was, as Volkswagen essentially took their seventh-generation Golf architecture, ripped out the internal combustion engine, and stuffed an electric motor under the hood and a battery beneath the car. The formula worked, as the e-Golf garnered good reviews from the likes of Car and Driver and Edmunds, however, the only drawback was that it was only offered in select states across the nation. While the thought of the electrified Golf sounded good in theory, it’s limited production was an Achilles heel.
The e-Golf works well as a used car
The main caveat today is that the Volkswagen e-Golf was actually discontinued for the 2020 model year, however, new 2019 models do still exist. But if you don’t live in a state where you can easily lease one, there are some used examples that you can currently find.
Just to recap, when the e-Golf was introduced in 2015, it had an electric motor that produced 115 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque that was powered by a 24.2-kWh battery pack. The most range that you expect back then was about 80 miles on a full charger, however, that number was increased for the 2017 model year when a bigger battery pack was put in place.
The newer 35.8-kWh battery afforded a 125-mile range and while it wasn’t exactly a Tesla-like, it was clear that the e-Golf wasn’t trying to be. In fact, if anything, it was trying to be a regular Golf with the exception of less overall driving range, but more overall torque. And that, it did have.
The Volkswagen e-Golf is a spritely sprinter
No, you wouldn’t win any races in an e-Golf, but you’ll be able to get onto the freeway just fine. Thanks to electric motor’s instantaneous torque, the e-Golf’s acceleration feels spritely but you can expect to get to 60 mph in about 9.6 seconds. Car and Driver noted that the e-Golf will do 85 mph as well as any other car and even net you “speeding tickets pretty much anywhere in America,” but if you can manage to keep the pedal off the floor, then you’ll be happy to know that the car drives just like a regular Golf.
It looks like a regular Golf, but it is not a regular Golf
Electric powertrain aside, the e-Golf does look and feel like a regular Golf hatchback. On the inside, you can expect the same tight fit and finish as the other Volkswagen products and the steering and brakes feel the same as its gasoline counterpart, however, the tell-tale differences come in the form of the digital cockpit in the instrument panel and the unique 16-inch wheels on the outside.
Charging the e-Golf
Of course, the main issue of owning an electric car is the notion of having to charge it. The easiest and best scenario would be to have a 240-volt charger hooked up in your garage so you can charge it overnight, or in about 6 hours. However, if you don’t then you can rely on the chargers that common in the wild, as some of those have fast-charging capabilities and could charge the e-Golf to 80 percent in about an hour. A standard 110-volt outlet is possible, but that would literally take days to completely charge the car and is only recommended for top-ups.
Is it a good idea to buy an e-Golf?
If you’re current daily commute and errand routes allow for an electric car with a 125-mile, then we say that the Volkswagen e-Golf would be a great choice as it’s well-built and can be found for an affordable price on the used market. However, if you have range anxiety due to a long commute, then a regular Golf might be better.