Car Reviews

What will the E-Golf mean for the business traveller

The E-Golf is VW’s first entry into all-electric vehicles, powered by a 24.2kW lithium-ion battery that generates 114bhp and produces zero emissions. VW is rolling out an entire fleet of cars that will be similarly powered and if the presentation at the VW Drive Day is anything to go by, these will be exciting and disruptive.

Always conscious of the intrinsic styling, the E-Golf is small and stylish with its own brand of class. This is a city car, capable of reliably driving 120 urban miles per charge (180 in testing conditions), so it’s good for a family school and shop run. This being said, it is a little dangerous if you’re planning on going for a long drive in the country. Because of this, it looks like a city car; small, compact, easy to park and easy to manoeuvre.

 Technical specifications can be found here on VW’s website.

What does the E-Golf mean to us?

1. E-Golf = CARBON EMISSION REDUCTION

There were whispers in 2013, from the Financial Times, regarding businesses being taxed more for their carbon footprints generated by the long employee trips. If this sort of tax returns (if it is not already being implemented) a reliable electric alternative is the perfect mode of transport when in the city and running around.

Charging stations are becoming all the more abundant. Rental companies with fleets made up entirely of electric vehicles are springing up everywhere. So, business travellers will be able to actively lower their carbon footprint and businesses will be able to jump on the ‘go green’ bandwagon by highlighting this usage in marketing materials. The potential tax relief isn’t an unattractive incentive either.

2. CLEANER CITIES TO LIVE AND WORK IN.

Pollution adds to physical stress and in bigger cities, there is a lot of pollution about. For a long time, if a business were able to, it would base its business headquarters outside of a city, to improve on transport accessibility, parking and breathability. The only problem is that when one big company does this, others follow suit and gradually this expands the boundaries of the city. London has grown this way; pulled out wider by the businesses trying to escape it.

VW e-Golf
no exhaust

There will be a time, in the future, but within our lifetimes, when electric cars will become the norm. The tax on carbon emissions and general pollutants will continue to rise, especially as alternatives become more widely available. Leaded petrol vehicles are no longer on the roads and sooner than we think, petrol and diesel cars will follow. Major cities across the board could, feasibly, replace public transport vehicles with zero-emission electronic vehicles or alternatives, then transport companies will do the same with fleet trucks. Cars that puff out smoke will be next. Out of sheer necessity, most of us will all end up driving electric cars in our lifetime and the generation being born today is going to learn how to drive in them too.

3. SIMPLER DRIVING FOR SIMPLER DRIVERS.

Learning to drive is comparable to learning how to play an instrument. You learn pedal control, gear control and learn the different sounds and vibrations of the engine. Driving is one of the most challenging milestones for many of us to get through because it’s a case of learning something completely new and multitasking at a phenomenal rate. However, getting into a bumper-car at the funfair requires no licence at all.

Did I just accidentally compare the E-Golf to a bumper car?

The E-Golf requires no gears, so no clutch control is necessary and there’s no shifting. Your full attention can be on steering, speed and the road around you. The E-Golf lives in an era where vehicle AI Assistance is standard for its class. Because it is battery powered, efficiency is a priority in the creation of its systems, and every important detail is right in front of the driver.  It does not feel like a normal car; there is no rumble, no engine rattle, no engine noise at all. And assuming that auto-driving cars don’t make driving completely redundant within the next decade, the generation that learns to drive in E-cars will only be able to drive in E-cars.

4. A NEW ERA OF SOPHISTICATION

Which are the most famous cars in the world? The cars that are on screen heroes drive! The Ford Mustang, Impala and 1964 Thunderbird, to name a few, are all heavy engines and greedy fuel guzzlers. Consider formula one racing- the engine noise is louder than jet engines- and it’s clear that we are part of a generation where loud vehicles represent a level of freedom, strength, vitality and power. That is all going to change and quickly.

Right now, having an electric car is the smart option. No road tax, no emissions and no noise. It’s easier to hold a conversation in the car and of course, you’re cleaner than most other cars out there. It just isn’t as fun as you might like it to be, yet. Also, freewheeling road trips are out because the driver can’t  walk to the nearest pump to get a can of fuel. This constraint flies in the face of what cars represent and doesn’t feel natural to us. Electric cars still feel gimmicky.  But…

…Electronic cars will inevitably travel further with less cost than petrol/diesel engines and eventually will offer even greater freedom and comfort. The sensibilities of drivers will change. From the ‘muscle car mentality’ representing masculinity, speed and vigour to something a whole lot more sensible. The days of the muscle car may be passing, but let’s see if the new engines are strong enough to keep up.

The E-Golf retails at around: £33,000, excluding cashback deals.

Donnie in VW e-Golf
Incidentally, also loads of leg room for 6 foot six-inch writers.