VW eUp! review All an electric car needs to be Tech News Digital Spy

7 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи VW eUp! review All an electric car needs to be Tech News Digital Spy отключены
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VW e-Up! review: All an electric car needs to be

The latest entry into the ever-growing world of electric cars is VW ‘s e-Up! Boasting a no frills approach to petrol-free motoring, it takes a stripped-back approach to the automotive tech that we rather like.

So how does the Up! fair against its other slightly more expensive rivals? Is it all an electric car needs to be? Or does the technical wizardry of the pricier BMW i3 justify the cost?

Design and Build

First of all, a bit of review-based housekeeping. As much as we like VW’s ‘fun’ use of exclamation marks in the e-Up!’s name, lets just stick to Up for this review.

In terms of build, the Up is VW’s answer to the Fiat 500. It’s designed to be as small and stripped back as a city car can be, while still retaining some of the brand’s signature build quality.

The big deal here is that the design of the standard Up remains the same in the electric car. A few hints, like a special set of alloy wheels and some LED daytime running lights highlight this car as the electric offering.

Digital Spy

LED daytime running lights sit on the front

Crucially, VW has managed to cram the car’s electric power plant into the Up without a huge amount of boot space being lost. Rear passenger leg room and interior space also remain unaffected.

Standard on the e-Up is VW’s ‘Maps and More’ infotainment system. While it isn’t comparable to the far more complex units found on top-end Audi and BMW cars, it is a fantastic piece of kit to see on a car at this price point.

Essentially, it behaves like a beefed up aftermarket SatNav made especially for the Up. Navigation, complete with voice-based directions and, in the case of the e-Up, charge-point locations, is included.

Then you have a means to browse music stored on microSD cards as well as manage Bluetooth phone connections.

The Up will allow you to both make phone calls over Bluetooth, as well as stream music. Interestingly, you can pair two separate devices at once, so music can be streamed from one and calls made from the other.

Digital Spy

The e-Up’s ‘maps and more’ infotainment system

Unique to the e-Up is a power management and monitoring system that shows in detail where all the vehicle’s electricity is going.

What you don’t get is the rather incredible i-Drive setup found in BMW’s i3, or the slick Nissan Leaf’s start-up animation found on the car’s dash. It’s a shame really, as it stops the e-Up from feeling anywhere near as special.

Instead, the only thing to really hint at the e-Up’s electric car credentials is the fuel readout on the dash being replaced with a battery gauge and the rev-counter instead showing the amount of battery regeneration and drain.

Driving electric

Tucked away on the car’s center console are two buttons, one with the word ‘eco’ and the other with ‘eco+’.

These two modes reduce the amount of power output in the motor to further maximise the e-Up’s total range (100 miles on one charge is the theoretical max). In standard eco mode, power drops from 60 to 50kw, while Eco+ drops things further to 40kw.

Switching between these modes, you barely notice a difference — bar periods of heavy acceleration. In city driving, Eco+ is perfectly acceptable and drastically increases range.

More significant a difference in the way the e-Up drives can be made using its customisable regenerative braking.

Once you slot the car into D, it’s possible to then switch between three separate driving modes. Each mode (D1, D2 and D3), gradually increases the amount of regenerative braking on offer. Turned up full whack, you can basically drive the car without braking, while putting charge back into the battery every time you lift off the accelerator.

Digital Spy

The dash on the e-Up!

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The effect is largely the same as that on the BMW i3. It takes some practice, but in the end, you can drive the e-Up completely using a single pedal. In the city, this makes it perfect.

A special ‘B’ drive mode requires one click of the gear level back in order to activate. This makes regenerative braking severe enough to bring the car to a complete stop when you lift off the accelerator pedal. It might not be for everyone, but this struck us as the best way to drive the Up.

Just a note on charging. As was the case with the Nissan Leaf, you get two different charging cables, one for main AC charging and the other from an optional VW wallbox. Expect around nine hours for a full charge from flat on a domestic socket and six on the VW box.

In the end, the e-Up’s electric drive is all it needs to be. You plug the car in, charge it and go. The lack of electronic bells and whistles only acts to further emphasise the car’s money-saving credentials.

Digital Spy

The VW e-UP! features two charging points

Taking the e-Up out on test, it felt like it was the ultimate money-saving vehicle, perfectly suited to urban living and having the added bonus of being eco friendly. Living with one for a year and not spending a single penny on petrol or congestion charging fees would be very rewarding indeed.

The e-Up ticks almost every conceivable box that an electric car needs to. First up, it will save you money. VW doesn’t implement any of the silly battery rental schemes of competitors, so aside from paying for the car, you really could (theoretically at least) spend nothing else on running it.

That said, the e-Up lacks some of that special something that the likes of the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf have. It never really ‘feels’ like an electric car, aside from being … silent when it runs.

Some would argue, with electric cars being on the cutting edge of technology right now, they need every piece of tech a company can throw at it.

Of course, there is the opposite to this argument, which is that they are purely an exercise in being eco-friendly, so some batteries are all you should be after. If you are one of the latter, it strikes us as the perfect vehicle for you.

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