Electrification has been hailed as the next chapter in personal transport for some time. We’ve been promised interesting products, thoughtfully designed cars that are driven in full or partly by an electric motor. We’ve been teased with some intriguing visions for electric cars for a number of years. Yet until recently all these have been exactly that – visions.
Carmakers are not entirely to be blamed. A real infrastructure in most counties, even in the highly developed world, has simply not existed. Without charging zones and all the other furniture that completes electric driving, there seemed no real urgency to develop these visions. Until now. The new breed are nothing like the clumsy G-Wiz and other poorly designed older electric cars – products like the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and BMW’s i3 have already proved that you don’t need to sacrifice on looks or driving when you go electric.
The latest product to hit our roads is the Volkswagen e-Up. What sets this car and the other new ones apart from their predecessors is that they are actually a whole lot of fun to drive. It is pleasant cruising along in near silence. And with instant torque electric cars can be pretty swift. Range anxiety is an issue especially out on country roads where charging zones may not be in easy reach, but then battery life depends on how you drive these cars. In the case of the e-Up VW’s figures are around 75-103 miles in summer and 50-75 miles in winter. The driver has some degree of intervention through the energy recovery system and selecting from the three driving modes – normal, eco and eco plus.
Unlike the Leaf, Zoe and i3 that were born to be electric, VW is basing its electric strategy on existing models – hence the e-Up and soon e-Golf. And where the i3 is a brilliantly crafted machine that is perhaps not for everyone, the e-Up is a car precisely for the masses. Much like its conventionally-powered sibling, this tiny city car has been envisaged and created with a wider world in mind. And the electric e-Up holds the same promise of universal – and in this case – electric mobility.
Read our review of the BMW i3.