VW e-up!, motoring review: The electric car of the future is very nearly upon us

 

PRICE £19,250
ENGINE CAPACITY 80bhp electric motor
TOP SPEED (MPH) 80
RANGE Up to 100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS (G/KM) 0 at tailpipe

It would be all too easy to slide predictable jokes about the Yorkshire vernacular with the name of this car. Even the unnecessary exclamation mark of the e-up! annoys me, but that would be stupid. It would be particularly stupid because this little VW city car is probably the most important motor that I'll drive all year.

Essentially it's the all-electric version of VW's excellent up! run-around, so instead of a petrol engine it has a sprightly electric motor and 230kg of electric battery, which should, so the people at VW say, give you a range of about 100 miles before you need to find a charging station or plug it in at the mains (with a normal plug) at home.

Quite simply it's a revelation; as good as the petrol version on pretty much every front (except its limited 100-mile range) with a smooth power delivery, supple ride and well-behaved cornering manners. It just happens to run on electricity, not refined hydrocarbons. Unlike many "green" cars, there aren't even any garish lime-green panels or fancy displays to constantly remind you that you've bought an electric car, which is good. Electric cars will catch on when they don't feel compromised or handle like some futuristic but risky endeavour.

Great as it is, drivers will have to make two sacrifices. The first is its limited range and the second is its price, which at close to £20k is staggering (a petrol model costs just £8,265).

Of course, electric-car prices will drop eventually as the technology matures but as far as I can see they'll only really start selling when they pass what I call the Great Aunt June test. You see, most commuters do fewer than 30 miles to work and back by car each day. But what about my fictional Great Aunt, who lives 110 miles away? What happens if the e-up! is my only car and she has a fall in the night? There are no trains, hire car companies are shut and the street car down the road is booked out?

For my money this fear, along with the price-tag, is why VW has taken so long to introduce an all-electric model; customers still expect to be able to dash off down the motorway at the drop of a hat.

As wonderful as the e-up! is, it's still a limited second-car proposition for wealthy city types. That said, give it a year or two for VW to knock the price down and add some range, well, then we'd be in business.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Order Processing and Sales Administrator

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have worked within the...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company provides mortgages, savings and i...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee / Qualified SAP Energy Assessor

    £14000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well-respecte...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Consultant - OTE £35,000

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to sell somethin...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen