Volkswagen’s e-Golf suffered that fate when the heater was turned up to warm the interior, making the driving range plummet from an acceptable 175 on the gauge to just 70 in the space of ta couple of miles.
But a swift re-adjustment of the heater control brought it back up to around the 120 mile level.
That’s when the range anxiety everyone talks about with electric cars hits home. There’s a different way of getting the best out of one of these cars and that involves driving a bit like Miss Marple. Very cautiously, well within the limits with 100 per cent full on concentration and a knowledge of where you’re going to charge the thing up en route. Forewarned is forearmed.
Because one of the current (!) drawbacks to electric car ownership is the fact there’s no uniform across-the-board charging system. So you might arrive at a handily placed charging post, only to find your cable won’t fit.
You can go to Zap-map.com for details of 5,800 charging points across the UK at this moment in time.
There’s work to do here, a lot of work, if 30 per cent on us are going to convert to this type of motoring by 2030. The current sales proportion of the UK market totals a measly three per cent.
Using the Golf’s various degrees of battery regeneration – where lifting off the throttle and coasting puts oomph back into the batteries – helps a great deal to eke out the distance you can travel. Braking has the same effect. As VW put it, it’s free fuel for the car.
When you read you can recharge the battery up to 80 per cent in 45 minutes, bear in mind this is on one of those DC current charger posts you find in shopping centres and service stations. That’s fine, but charging at home on your AC circuitry will take a whopping 17 hours, so you won’t be using the car much that day.
But let’s put away the big stick and stop hitting what is still a very decent car. This is just like any other Golf on the surface – practical, refined and packed with advanced tech.
It’s an electric car for those who don’t want to drive around in something tiny they feel like they’re wearing.
Power delivery is instantaneous, and while it’s been certified with a 186 mile range, VW claim a more realistic range of 124 miles, and of course emissions are 0g/km.
If you fill up a petrol car you never really know exactly how far that will take you, although you don’t get range anxiety mainly because fuel stations are plentiful. In the e-Golf it will show you maximum range under perfect conditions, which of course change all the time so driving in a different way is required.
And when they say these days ‘there’s an app for that’, there really is, so your electric Volkswagen can talk to your smartphone and set the car’s internal temperature (would have been handy), check the status of doors, lights and the battery and other features.
Price: £32,075 (£28,230 with £4500 Government PICG grant)
Engine: Electric motor powered by 35.8kWh battery
Transmission: direct drive single speed gearbox
Top speed: 93mph
0-62mph: 9.6 seconds
Economy: 124 mile range
CO2 emissions: 0g/km