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VW e-Golf: EVs are not helped by charging that’s free of charge

VW e-Golf (2018)

Factsheet

Price: £37,040 (excl. £4,500 grant)

Power: 100kW/136PS

Performance: 0-62mpH 9.6 secs, top speed 93mph

Range: 124 miles (186 miles NEDC test)

Review

After three months with the e-Golf, the charging network’s foibles are still causing more than a little consternation.

A determined effort to veer away from the convenience of home charging – as detailed in last month’s report – led to mixed results.

With the zero-emission miles ratcheting up and the serene progress of the Volkswagen e-Golf being fully appreciated, I decided to head from home in South Yorkshire for a family day out in Whitby.

Bereft of a single franchised car dealership or EV charge point, however, the North Yorkshire seaside town is clearly not populated by EV lovers.

A stop at the A1’s busy Wetherby service station to charge at the Ecotricity 50kW CCS held a pleasant surprise – not only did it return me to 100% charge quickly, but my download of the charge point provider’s smartphone app proved unnecessary, with the energy flowing in straight away without registration or payment.

Ultimately, we diverted from Whitby to Scarborough, with its lesser distance (we would have had to stop on our return leg, too) and public charge points.

Days later, on a trip to a chaotic IKEA Sheffield I smugly swept into an EV space and plugged in to another Ecotricity charge point. When I returned 40 minutes later, no charge had been dispensed.

The most worrying part in all this? On both journeys, I was accosted by genuine EV owners exhibiting the same frustrations about the functionality of chargers and whether they would be charged or not.

While the Volkswagen e-Golf is still proving an effortless and stress-free steer for 90% of journeys, retailers clearly have their work cut out keeping customers informed of the day-to-day trials of EV use as they embark on the ‘Road to Zero’.

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