Volkswagen e-Golf Real World Range During Long-Term Test

JUN 3 2016 BY MARK KANE 39

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

Bengt Halvorson shared an interesting article about the real world range of 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf after nearly 2,700 miles (over 4,300 km).

With a new 35.8 kWh, longer range e-Golf (~124 miles) arriving later this year, we thought this would be a good opportunity to re-visit the original plug-in, all-electric Golf…as surely the remaining new/older model can be ‘had for a song’ in the near future.

Today’s e-Golf is rated at 83 miles (133.5 km) by the EPA via a 24.2 kWh battery.

A strong point of the e-Golf driving experience is the fairly accurate dashboard estimates on the remaining range…which is quite a rarity these days.

“…trip computer unfailingly suggested a remaining range that was maybe slightly less than what was actually remaining, and nearly as linear as a fuel-range estimation for a gasoline car

In normal conditions it was “quite easy” to do more than 80 miles on a charge. With the highest actual range achieved coming in at about 108 miles / 174 km (+3 remaining), and around 110 miles on two other occasions.  Overall the 100 mile mark was crossed six times over the first ~3,000 miles, so hitting triple digits was no fluke.

Conversely, the lowest return result stood at 58 miles (93 km), but at the time it was just 30°F (-1°C) with heating on/travelling at 70 mph – basically the “death” scenario for an all-electric vehicle.

Energy consumption overall came in at around 3.7 miles per kWh in mostly city driving (which was on par with EPA estimated 3.74 miles per kWh, and 3.12 miles per kWh on the highway).

“Over nearly 2,700 miles with the e-Golf (probably all but about 300 miles spent in city driving) we saw an average of 3.7 miles per kwh, according to the weighted average of three stretches with the trip computer (one reset accidentally, the other when we brought the vehicle in for service).”

source: Green Car Reports

Categories: Volkswagen


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39 Comments on "Volkswagen e-Golf Real World Range During Long-Term Test"

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Whoah that is terrible efficiency! How on earth did they get to 100 miles if driving anywhere close to that. Does the e-Golf actually have about 24 kWh available??

Notice that 3.7 is average. Many owners are reporting getting over 5 miles/kWh in moderate conditions (like no climate control, speeds under 60MPH). The e-Golf is actually a considerably efficient EV.


It is terrible (sort of). My SparkEV now shows 5.2 mi/kWh at 10K miles. At 6K, it was 5.1 mi/kWh. It all depends on one’s driving. Trips to Los Angeles seem to bump up the efficiency, so I suspect he doesn’t face much traffic.

Here in Dallas, I am averaging (lifetime; I’ve never reset it) 4.5 miles/kWh. That’s through our mild winters and our hotter-than-Hell summers. I don’t hypermile my car, either.

Actually the e-Golf is more efficient than all but one EV: the i3

11 to 12 kWh/100 is exceptional, half the consumption of a Model S.

The Spark EV is only available in the US so I don’t understand your mi/wh figure…

My point is that range / efficiency depends highly on driving habits and location, such as getting a (large) bump when I visit Los Angeles. I use SparkEV as an example, because that’s the only data I have to illustrate how vastly different it can be. If SparkEV is driven in conditions of eGolf, it would probably do almost as bad where speeds are high and weather is cold.

To convert my current number, it’s bit under 12 kWh/100km on average after 10,000 miles. It sounds great, except you have to compare other cars driven at similar circumstance. Tesla would probably do worse, but i3 might do better, and eGolf would probably get pretty close.

I know you love your Spark EV (and for good reasons), but calling the eGolf “terrible” is a bit extreme. According to the EPA (i.e. comparing apples-to-apples, not your driving style to someone else’s), the Spark is only marginally more efficient – 119MPGe combined versus 116MPGe combined. The Leaf, for reference, is rated at 112MPGe.

I’m not saying eGolf is terrible (well, non-cooled battery is terrible). I’m saying the mi/kWh shown is terrible without context. See my comment above.

Gotcha, I misinterpreted your first comment. And yes, the non cooled battery is an issue in most places. Not too bad in upstate NY if I’m careful about when I charge

I’m sorry. I accept your apology. 😉

The my Spark EV has gotten 141.5 MPGe from 29K miles with mostly driving on the highway, the i3 is not the most efficient even though the EPA is states that it is. How can the Spark have a smaller battery and the same EPA range as the i3 and not be more efficient? The Tesla model 3 should have a 5 mile per kWh for their base model.

EPA rating is skewed for lower speed (ie, under 55 MPH). i3 is 10% lighter than SparkEV, and I suspect low speed would be better due to lower rolling resistance. Highway might be similar due to both being boxy, though i don’t have any experimental data as such. Would anyone want to donate an i3 for me to test for few years? 😉

As for EPA’s MPGe vs range, don’t ask. I gave up trying to correlate the numbers.

” but at the time it was just 30°F (-1°C) with heating on/travelling at 70 mph – basically the “death” scenario for an all-electric vehicle.”
That’s shorts-weather in Michigan. I’d like to know how it does at -5°F.
(along with every other BEV)

To your point, it would be great to see the EPA rate the milage at -5F and 110F on the sticker of each car. I think if clarity is provided, automakers might make a larger effort to eliminate weather impacts.

Seriously. I need to know the range of an EV at -5F and 80MPH. Because that’s what the average consumer is going to see during the northern winters.

You always make me laugh! I own cars (and motorcycles) that wont even do 80 mph but yet in your state everyone drives 80 mph everywhere. Only time i’ve managed 80 mph in my state was at the dragstrip. Our highest speed limit is 65 and you’d be lucky to attain that with all the traffic.

MI Speed limits around here are 70, I’m usually driving ~75 and am often in one of the two slowest lanes because traffic flow is 80+. Also, this is exactly why my 110 mile round trip requires me to have a 200mi+ BEV! But 200 should be enough, I think!

To be fair, I never drive at 80MPH. Personally, I keep within 10% of the speed limit, so I drive about 71-72MPH in the 65 zones (most highways in NY state, outside of NYC). And when I’m driving 72, traffic is flying by me at 80+MPH. And those people aren’t going to be willing to slow down just so their shiny new EV can make it to the next charger. They’ll just keep buying gas guzzlers instead, and tell themselves that diesel really is “clean”.

Many US states have 80 mph speed limit:

And traffic goes above speed limit in most places. Germany has no speed limit on many highways. In practice it may be not safe or convenient to go significantly slower than everybody else on highway.

from my limited experience in autobahn 1rst lane mostly 90-110kmh, 2nd 120-150, 3rd 130+

It is so as you get close to a city, possibly in rush traffic. Try travel between cities, and in rural Autobahn you will have 2 lanes only. 1st lane is taken by full size trucks that all have 80-90 km/h speed limiters and don’t go faster. You either got stuck between trucks at that speed, or go on 2nd lane with cars that can go 150-200 km/h or whole 300 km/h if driver is crazy enough. Now if you got into 2nd lane at 120 km/h without noticing small dot behind and such crazy person comes at +180 km/h relative speed, you may be lucky if he burns his tires cursing you and reduces his speed by 180 km/h in time. But it is trying your luck really.

Sure more busy places will have limits posted, or limits will light up in rain at 130 km/h or so. But in general being unable to keep 150 km/h or so on Autobahn will make your longer road trip an embarrassment to yourself and drivers around.

That’s misleading. Many CA urban areas are posted 55 MPH. In places like Los Angeles, actual speed limit is 30 MPH all the time (I could go no faster even at 2 AM!), despite posted limit of 55 or more. And that’s where most people live and drive.

The speed is 65mph in Los Angeles, orange, and inland empire. 70-75mph in the left lane and 5 mph reduction as you move right.

Rush hour is 6-10am and 2:30-7:30pm

Nobody really disputes that commuting doesn’t need long range nor sustained high speed. It not a question and battery cars are great for that.

The point is that many people still want and do long range travel. Even if they don’t do it for a year, they still don’t want to give up the freedom to go whenever they want on whatever road. Now you can keep your second gas SUV just for that purpose if money doesn’t matter. But it really defeats any environmental benefits if you keep second car just as backup that would be sold for somebody’s else use otherwise.

I wouldn’t call 6 out of 50 “many states”. And look where the 6 are located. In the middle of nowhere. No offense guys, id rather live out there.

The e-Golf sells quite well in Norway.

That doesn’t sound that different to the Nissan Leaf’s 24kWh battery performance ?

Agreed, similar performance to the 24kWh leaf. A major difference is the Nissan Leaf is sold across the entire USA. The VW eGolf is only sold in compliance States.

Yep, I get similar figures and definitely better range than the EPA claims. Actually, if I pay attention and try to break earlier at lights, stops etc., I can often get a consumption of around 11 kWh/100 km which is even better than the manufacturer’s claim.
Sorry, in practice the Leaf doesn’t come close. It’s less efficient and has weak regen. Crappy interior, noisier etc. Don’t get me started on handling (Leaf’s torsion beam is a major let down)… Only big downfall with VW is their onboard software which even the dealer and VW themselves are struggling to update (they’re still trying to figure out why the car won’t accept the update that needs to be installed). The bug is ridiculous: the temperature always resets itself to 22°C a couple of hours after driving. Same for the drive mode (I like to use eco and see no point in the using normal mode all the time). The gasoline Golf of the same year remembers the temperature… Still, I shouldn’t complain too much given that Nissan’s app doesn’t even work. At least car-net works albeit quite slowly.

Maybe the bug is a feature? Could it be that VW wants you to reset the temp to 22 after driving so that the next time you drive you make a conscious choice about the temperature and not accidentally lose driving range?

Maybe, but the dealer also thought it wasn’t right that it reset like that. The loaner car, a gasoline Golf VII (same generation) would remember the temperature. I’ve had a number of VWs in recent years and they all stayed at the specified temperature.

I’m happy that the only bug I’ve found in my Fit EV is that the bluetooth pause function won’t work. Drives me insane, but it’s such a little problem…

Great; I still can’t buy one in PA.

But that performance and range is much better than my 12 Leaf was.

I have a lifetime, no reset of 6.5 km per kWh.
It goes down in winter to 4.5 or under 5 and up between 7.2 and 8 kilometers per kWh in summer.
Just observing the speed limit, no more no less.
It’s better than any Tesla, but better regen would help a lot.
But I don’t see what make the e-Golf so efficient.

Better regon? Try the B mode

Sorry, Leaf MY2012, no B mode and any car that is not AWD lose some regen sometime.

What makes it efficient is the drivetrain (in-house design), the LED lights everywhere including headlights, the modes that further increase efficiency, improved aerodynamics with aerodynamic rims, low resistance tires, heated windshield with electric defrost instead of using the heater, it’s weight which is only 50 kg heavier than a regular Golf and the heat pump option. Probably other improvements as well. Germans are generally good at making efficient cars (ex: i3 and e-Golf).

I have 5800 miles on my 2015 SEL e-Golf. I’ve lifetime averaged 5.5 mile per kwh the whole life of the car, from Oct to June, driving in Los Angeles. I drive carefully, and don’t use ancillary frivolous features unless absolutely necessary. More AC will be used this summer, I expect a 10 to 12% loss of range as a result.

If you have to drive 80 mph and your trip is that far that 80 mph might make a time difference of significance in your driving time, including surface street time to and from the job, an electric is not the car for you. Include all the time you waste plugging and unplugging your car, finding an available public EV to recharge, etc, and you’ll see what a huge waste of time an electric car is like this with an 83 mile range.