~3.5 Months and ~875 miles with short range EV review.

Mar 27, 2004
Atlanta, GA
So figure I would pop in quickly to post a short term review (~3.5 months and ~875 mile) review of my short range CPO 2016 VW E-Golf toaster on wheels. Why I bought it: After 2.5 years of driving an average of 6-7k/miles annually and dealing with horrific fuel economy with both gassers and a diesel due to my shortish commute I made the jump into an electric. There was only 2x in the past 2.5 years where a longer regional road trip was sudden and required so having a fueled vehicle really was not a necessity, just a what if for 1% of the time. If that time pops up again there is the 2011 TDI in the stable or a slew of rental car agencies that will happily put me into a Nissan Sentra or Altima for a few days. What I bought: 2016 VW E-Golf SE w/59.5k miles. CPO (2 year/24k bumper to bumper) from VW dealership with balance of 8 year/100k battery degradation warranty. These were not sold new in Georgia so we just get the lease return scraps from the CARB states. Mine was originally a 3 year lease in Connecticut and based on condition it looks like it was strictly used as a single person commuter - probably the most pristine 3/59k mile car I have ever seen. Does not look like they took it out in snowy and salty conditions much at all if ever, even the door hinges where you can typically see some rust formation still look brand new. How it drives: This will be my 5th VW - one MKIV (Golf TDI), two MKV (Jetta 2.5 sedan and Jetta TDI Sportwagen), and one MKVI (Jetta 2.slow). This is the best handling of the bunch due to the low slung batteries that give it nearly 50/50 weight distribution - feels very balanced. Heaviest of the bunch but handles the best - the batteries get rid of the typical nose heavy feel that you expect from a VW. Instant and seamless torque is addictive and smile inducing - 199 lb/ft available as soon as you put your foot down. Max output on 2015-2016 is 115HP/199 lb/ft torque - 2017+ are 134HP but not certain or torque values. 0-60 hovers in the mid 9 second range. I will say despite mediocre 0-60 numbers this thing cooks it off the line in the lower speed range, even up to speeds of 10-15 MPH you can get some front wheel spin if if you slam down the throttle. I typically drive in Eco (2nd of 3 driving profiles) that limits the electric engine output in the e-Golf and still can stay well ahead of traffic, Eco+ (3rd of 3 driving profiles) that neuters the engine down to ~80HP and ~130 lb/ft torque I can still keep up with traffic just fine - this mode shuts off the a/c compressor though so its really only meant for fair weather driving. Max speeds in the modes - Normal ~85 MPH, Eco ~75 MPH and Eco+ ~60 MPH. I use the Eco 75MPH limit as my cruise control (see cons below) when I have to do freeway driving. Pros: - Instant torque and easy drivability. - Low cost of ownership - VW build quaility - Electric driving in a "normal" car, not trying to look like an electric car/space ship. Cons: - SE model lacks cruise control - fortunately ECO mode limits your top speed to 75MPH and ECO+ to 60MPH so you plant the throttle before kickdown and it will maintain those speeds. - SE model also lacks steering wheel controls for the MFD display - have to throw back to MKIV Jetta/Golf/Beetle and B5 Passat windshield stalk controls on this bad boy. Charging: I took this plunge knowing I would not be able to charge at home (live in a condo) because I know I have a large charging network around me thanks to the Nissan Leaf being a very popular car in Atlanta. I have a handful of paid charging station ~½ mile from my home (including some DC fast chargers), there are charging stations in my garage at work and some free stations ~3 miles north of here at city parks in a neighboring city. If I played my cards and planned out my charges I could potentially go without paying for charges but life does not really work that way so the free charger only comes into play may 25% of the time. DC fast charging is still quite expensive so I have only used it twice - gets me from about 10 miles to 75 mile range in about 30 mins but costs $6 for the luxury, not to mention its not great for the batteries and even VW recommends you skip DC charging every other time (DC-AC-DC-AC). Typical level 2 charging is most economical - its about $.90-$1.00 for every 21 miles which takes about an hour. Cost to drive 874 miles - $44.52. (inflated by about $6 due to one ignorant Kroger visit where I left my car plugged into expensive DC charger much longer than needed) Cost per mile - $.051 This is about half my TDI Maintenance: Tire rotation, tire replacement and key remote batteries seem to be par for the course on this thing. Brake fluid is on VW typical schedule so guess I need to plan that in 2 years. Brakes are rarely used due to regen braking so don't ever plan on them wearing out - will probably corrode out before they wear out. Electric motor has cooling circuit with G13 coolant in it so guess I need to plan for that in about 5 years. This car is pretty much body maintenance. Overall: Despite being a short range (84 miles stated range when new - I'm seeing about 70-78 miles per charge at 60k) - I have been pleased as punch with this car. Wonderful city commuter - the instant torque from 0 has made my multiple squirts into or through traffic a breeze. Range anxiety is overblown and has been quite easy to adapt around with a substantial charging network nearby - in my situation it is no worse than when the low fuel light would come on in my TDI, just a different "refueling" process. But I will say it is still a city commuter car - you will need to plan for rentals if you don't have a long range car in your stable.
Nice writeup. Cheapening out and leaving off cruise control on an EV seems like such a weird decision to me. Once cars went DBW the cost should have been all in the stalk for the steering column. You'd think it'd cost more to leave it off!
Enjoy your new car! Your situation is clearly different than mine, but it seems to work for you. That's what matters. Good luck with your new EV!
How much does running the AC or heat reduce the range? Can you pre-cool the vehicle before using it? In Atlanta GA if it were mine, I would like to be able to pre-cool the cabin before use on hot days.
Originally Posted by JimPghPA
How much does running the AC or heat reduce the range? Can you pre-cool the vehicle before using it? In Atlanta GA if it were mine, I would like to be able to pre-cool the cabin before use on hot days.
A/C is not too dramatic - in "Normal" which is full cooling available it will drop the range ~3 miles, if you use regular Eco it "optimizes" the HVAC and A/C will drop the range ~2 miles. Eco+ pretty much shuts it down all together except fan so the energy manager shows it still is a 1 mile penalty. Heat on the other hand kills range - I have the base model SE which just has the strip resistance heat, SEL comes with a more efficient heat pump - bought car in March so really the end of cold season for us but it still saw a few 30 some odd degree days - it was a good 12-14 mile penalty as soon as I clicked Auto button @ 72 degrees. Seat heaters came in handy and it has a defroster grid in the windshield as well - seat heaters were a small 1-2 mile penalty and same with windshield grid - I'm curious to see what the depths of winter will produce but I am imagining I will be lucky to get ~60-65 miles per charge. Precool/heat - I went ahead and opted to renew the VW CarNet subscription that lets you start the climate control remotely among some other functions (locking, unlocking, time to full charge, etc.). I have used it a few times to pre-cool and it works amazingly - I just start the a/c a few mins before I walk out the door and its nice and cool once I hop in. I will say it will come in handy in the winter when the windows frost/ice over so I can turn on the windshield grid heat and avoid a scraping adventure.