Volkswagen e-Up! is “Shockingly Good” – Almost in BMW i3 Territory


All we keep hearing is rave reviews for the Volkswagen e-Up!



Sure, it has serious range restrictions, as do most all EVs without a Tesla badge, but as an urban runabout, the e-Up! may well be at the top of the class…or darn close.

As Tech Radar writes:

“Back in November, we crowned BMW’s radical i3 the best electric car in Blighty – or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.”

“Just a few months later, that title is already under threat and from a surprising new entrant into the EV market. It’s the new Volkswagen e-up!”

Tech Radar isn’t surprised by the existence of the e-Up!, but rather by how good it actually is.

“Not surprising in the sense that it exists. We’ve known the Volkswagen e-up! Was coming for some time. But surprising in the sense that it turns out to be such a compelling proposition.”

In this urban EV grouping, the BMW i3 and Renault Zoe need to be tossed into the mix for the sake of comparison.

e-Up! Interior

e-Up! Interior

So, here we end up with 3 urban EVs priced as follows in the UK:

  • Zoe – £15,195 plus battery rental
  • e-Up! – £19,250 
  • i3 – £25,680

Here are a few snippets from the Tech Radar review of the e-Up!

“Crikey, it’s quite quick. That’s your first thought when spool up the e-up!’s electric motor.

“With the e-up!, you don’t know quite know what it’s going to be like and so it’s a pleasant surprise to find it feels significantly gutsier off the line than a conventional hatchback.

VW e-Up!

VW e-Up!

“50 miles out of it, even driving like a berk. 60 to 80 miles is probably a realistic expectation for most normal drivers.”

And now onto the verdict:

  • It’s a properly engineered EV.
  • It’s much better to drive than you might expect.
  • The range is more than adequate for its remit.
  • And it looks good inside and out.
  • In fact, in many ways, it’s one of the best EVs you can buy.

But is it better than the BMW i3?

“In simple terms, it’s not as accomplished or as innovative as the i3. Yes, the i3 is around £5,000 pricer. But then it’s so much more advanced, that price premium actually seems cheap.”

Source: Tech Radar

Categories: Volkswagen

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12 Comments on "Volkswagen e-Up! is “Shockingly Good” – Almost in BMW i3 Territory"

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I would consider a Leaf first. Some advantages:

1) DC fast charging. Handy if you have unplanned driving around town and need to stop 10-20 minutes for some extra miles (or km).

2) heated seats front and rear, and heated steering wheel, all standard equipment

3) More room for passengers and luggage

4) option for overhead view of car to aid parking


1) The e-UP has DC fast charging as a standard.

2) A lot cheaper

3) Different regen-modes

4) Not fugly

An overhead view to aid parking?
Have you seen the size of the E-Up?

Like the late Rodney Dangerfield of comedy, the Nissan Leaf can’t get no respect. I cannot figure why it doesn’t get included in the list of urban EVs in the UK. It sells well enough.

The Leaf gets plenty of respect. But some seem to think it’s gods gift to mankind. It’s a good EV but nothing spectacular more than being first to get a lot sold.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Gawd, what is it with VW and slow-ass EVs?

Let’s see em in the 7s for 0-60 guys!

Is VW going to make something more like a
2- seater runabout, like the Fiat 500e?
That would be faster. I hope.

Whatever an absurd comparison. I own an i3, a model S and 4 standard Up’s that are driven by my personnel. I have been driving these little box-shaped Volkswagens often and they are handy little city-dwellers. But comparing it to an i3, just because of a similar drivetrain? Up’ a have low end plastic interiors, bad seats, no space for an adult in the back ( and hardly in the front if you’re over 6 ft or 1.80 meters), very unstable drive with speeds over 70 mh or 120 kmh, it has a very low tech entertainment and navigation system, etc.

Just like I will not compare my Model S to the i3, I think comparing the e-up to the i3 is not doing right to both cars.

It’s very strange that people make those comparisons. Just because they are EV’s people start comparing brands and models of different sizes, price ranges and different quality/status brands anyway they like.

I know it’s a new market and there are limited options which makes you want to compare the few options that are avaliable but it often gets very absurd.

Charging Speed!!!

Here in Europe we have still a small Tesla supercharger network and there are hardly any Chademo or other DC quickchargers available.
So what currently matters most when you compare EVs is the max. charging power and flexibilty.

(Sorry, didn’t finish yet)

In Central Europe almost every house is equipped with a 400V 16A 3 phase CEE connection and you find at least some 32A three phase charging boxes.

So currently the 32A,22kW is the most important and most available charging option for journeys longer than the max. battery capacity.

But exactly this issue is never mentioned when EVs are compared.
Only the Model S and Renault ZOE can charge on all 3 phases. The ZOE can utilize the power even better than the Model S. The Tesla draws just 26A at every phase. We have measured the full 32A when the ZOE was charging. So the ZOE can be fully charged in one hour a the normal 3-phase grid (32A). And in two hours at every house if you are in range trouble (16A).

i3, Leaf, eUp, eGolf can’t do that.
I recently heard an i3 owner complaining that he loves the performance but he can’t really use it. At 110 km realistic range he has to charge for 5 or 6 hours since the i3 charges only on one phase. He said, if he had known, he would have definitely chosen for the ZOE.

Just addressing the “not any chargers in Europe” statement. There are well over 1,000 of the CHAdeMO chargers used with the following EV’s:

*Nissan LEAF – over 45,000 in the USA and over 100,000 worldwide
*Nissan e-NV200 (coming 2014)
*Citroen C-Zero – not sold in USA
*Mitsubishi i-MiEV – over 30,000 worldwide with its variants C-Zero & iON
*Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (coming 2015)
*Mitsubishi Fuso Canter truck
*Peugeot iON – not sold in USA
*Kia Soul EV (coming 2014)
*ZERO motorcycles
*Tesla except Roadster with adaptor