Needless to say, the e-Golf occupies the same dimensions as the rest of the seventh-generation five-door models and, save for a slither of space hacked from the boot to help accommodate the underfloor lithium ion batteries, it offers the same highly commendable level of practicality, too.
Mostly that’s because the whole shooting match is underpinned by Volkswagen’s standardised MQB platform and its body is built from the same high-strength steel – although the drag around it has been reduced by about 10 percent, thanks largely to a rerouting of the airflow usually used for cooling.
The chief difference, then – aside from the weight gain associated with those batteries – is the EEM 85 synchronous electric motor mounted in the engine bay. Delivering 134bhp and up to 199lb ft of torque exclusively to the front wheels, the 12,000rpm Volkswagen-developed unit is mated to a single-speed gearbox, also designed in-house.
The firm’s mastery of the new tech has helped to permit its integration with the existing car’s construction methods; the e-Golf rolls down the same production line as its siblings. By the end, only redesigned LED headlights, unique alloy wheels, a new front bumper and a closed-off grille distinguish the car. That and its almost complete absence of noise, but we’ll come to that in a minute.
It’s certainly true, however, that the e-Golf gets less Golf-like the further you delve beneath the surface. In fact, get the tin opener as far as the vehicle floor and, apart from the basic layout of the MQB architecture, it has been comprehensively altered.
That’s because here, close to the spine of the vehicle under the front and rear seats, Volkswagen has mounted its 318kg lithium ion battery pack in a reinforced frame.
The manufacturer claims that it is an in-house development, but its expertise has some limits; the 264 cells that make up the battery’s 36 modules are sourced from electronic giant Panasonic. They serve up a nominal voltage of 323V — stored as DC and converted to the AC that the e-motor requires by a power electronics module.
Total energy capacity is rated at 24.2kWh (although the battery is prevented from fully discharging) and it takes 13 hours to recharge from a domestic 230V socket. Via a special, optional wall box, that can be reduced to about eight hours.
Better still, a 40kW Combined Charging System dispensing DC will have the e-Golf at 80 percent of full charge within 30 minutes.