Volkswagen have invented the one-pedal electric car, a vehicle so easy to drive even Mr Bean could work out how to get from A to B in it.
Of course there are actually two pedals in the e-up! but you can effectively make do with one – and we did on our round town test route.
Whether the fact VW now make an electric car will spark a headlong rush of people waving their cheque books is open to conjecture. And certainly VW here in the UK are being coy about the outcome – they’ve put aside a mere 250 this year for UK sales, so it’ll be more a niche product than a volume seller.
e-up! - the first mainstream zero-emissions VW to be launched here - Is certainly whisper quiet. I pulled out on a country lane to pass a couple of horse riders and all you could hear was the cjip-clopping of their hooves on the tarmac. And being quiet means you’re not going to spook them and end up with a couple of hundredweight of uncontrollable nag on your bonnet.
And that’s one of the odd things to get your head round. People don’t hear you coming but you can hear them talking and kids shouting as you waft silently by. All you get behind the wheel is wind and road noise, and the occasional whine from the electric motor if you decide you want to get home a bit quicker.
The acceleration on tap in an e-up! proves a bit of an eye opener, one strong continuous surge. As with all electric cars, it delivers maximum pulling power from the off.
As well as a standard driving mode, the e-up! has two economy profiles as standard: ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’. And the range can be greatly influenced by regenerative braking. In D, the vehicle coasts when the accelerator is lifted. In each of the next levels, lifting off the accelerator pedal provides an increased level of regenerative braking. In D2, D3 and B, the brake lights are automatically activated when the driver’s foot is lifted from the accelerator pedal.
Kit includes heated windscreen and heated seats which actually take less power out of the battery than the air con system, but of course they are in use for a shorter period of time.
With the Government grant deducted from the basic on the road price, e-up! will set you back a hefty £19,250, but you don’t have to factor in a monthly cost for the hire of batteries as with other manufacturers.
Driving range is quoted at 75-103 in summer, 50-75 in winter, and it’ll fully charge from flat in under nine hours, or up to 80 per cent in 30 minutes on a DC fast charger.
One of its big plus points is you don’t need to learn any special tricks to drive it, and you don’t need to master a brochure to understand what the dash is telling you.
Volkswagen justifies the pricetag for this £19,000 city car by the equipment, the engineering, the promise of latest-gen electric car sophistication.
They’ll sell you one for £199 a month if you’re able to stump up a £7k deposit.