what is this?
Volkswagen’s car has been with us since 2011, while the electrified version was its first mass-production EV to reach the market when it arrived in 2013. That car offered a useful flavour of what was possible, but new technology meant battery capacity – and therefore range – was relatively limited.
With Volkswagen’s electrified direction changes now in full flow with the ID3, the E-Up is the next EV to benefit from the latest-gen technology.
The big news is a new lithium-ion battery with 36.8kWh capacity compared to just 18.7kWh for the old car, which significantly impacts its range; Volkswagen claims up to 161 miles (260 km) on a full charge.
Switching from Prismatic to pouch battery cells has increased the energy density and reduced the battery volume by 20 litres.
The electric motor remains the same as before, providing a torque of 82bhp and 156lb ft. Take the option of CCS fast charging, and the e-up will charge from zero to 80% in one hour, while a traditional 7.2kW AC charger performs the same feat in four hours.
The E-Up is part of a revised up range that goes on sale in January next year, including standards such as six airbags and lane assist. Up will also be the first Volkswagen to carry the new company logo in Frankfurt earlier this year.
How is it
Most of those presenting E-Up will be familiar; Despite a slight twist in and out, it is a classy little car that manages to justify the premium price you paid for the (new) VW round on the nose.
The exterior is lightly refreshed with a nose treatment similar to the current e-Golf, but it’s taut lines, and chunky proportions make it arguably the most attractive design of Volkswagen.
The significant mechanisms outside the battery pack remain the same as before, with the electric motor giving 54bhp continuous and 82bhp peak power, 156lb ft of torque from the rest.
The single-speed transmission offers four engine braking modes, while the new for revised E-up is the option of three drive modes, including Eco and Eco + scaling back performance and climate control output in the name of energy saving.
The more capacitive battery pack is only 15 kg heavier than before, but it makes it 200 kg heavier than the light, regular ups. The good news is that the weight in the chassis is as low as before, while strong torque at low speeds makes it easy to forget about the extra mass.
There is a case right now for a car like Up to get the most out of electric propulsion. It is even easier to pilot than a petrol version in its native city dwelling; No need to fret about the gears or you can minimize that difference, and the lower noise levels let you know what’s going on outside.
The acceleration is rather sharp, Tesla-annoying, but the throttle action and motor linearity are just right, leaving you entirely in control of how you use the available power.
Although the brake pedal switches between regal and mechanical interference, flowing the gear lever between modes means that you can get into a useful one-paddle mode with just a little concentration – increasing range A good habit for.
During our initial expedition, the E-Up covered 45 km only to the detriment of the 26 km indicated interval, with minimal effort to conserve energy.
The rest of the package fits well with the electric drivetrain. The ride quality is generally excellent, soft enough to soak up urban lumps but not so compliant that cornering becomes a daring affair.
It was also fun on our test route across polished Valencian roads, with extra mass allowing some additional yaw before the ESP could say.
Small car levels of insulation on the motorway and additional wind noise are themselves felt, but mainly due to the lack of noise from everywhere.
It may be the cheapest Volkswagen model, but it still follows the sacred principles of refinement.