I made it home – without a flatbed!
And without having to plug the eGolf in – and wait – before I could get home.
But the most interesting thing I discovered about VW’s first electric car wasn’t how far it can go, or how long it takes to recharge before you can get going again.
Drive an electric car and you will quickly discover it is not like driving a gas-engined car. Not just the immediate torque-pull of the direct drive electric motor under the hood – and not just the Stealth Mode silence of the thing.
There is another thing. A good – and bad – thing.
My round trip test loop was just under 70 miles – about 34 of them “down the mountain” to do a little work on my laptop at the coffee dive I frequent and then – remaining charge willing – back up the same mountain the same 34 miles, which I figured should be well within the eGolf’s remaining radius of action.
It was – but not by much.
When I got back home, the range indicator said I had 58 miles left. Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $10.00 (as of 08:25 EST - Details)
This meant I had used up just a bit more than half (82 miles) of the eGolf’s indicated “full charge” range of 140 miles to travel 68 miles – so the range indicated when I began my trip was optimistic by about 10 percent.
That’s not unusual for any car. The EPA advertised mileage on every car has an asterisk/fine print attached: Your mileage may vary.
And usually does.
But what’s interesting is where the eGolf lost almost all of the 82 miles of range consumed during my 68 mile trip.
On the way downtown – literally down into town – the eGolf’s batteries not only didn’t grow weaker – they grew stronger. I enjoyed a free lunch at the Entropy Cafe.
The car rolled downhill – I used the Blue Ridge Parkway, a gorgeous drive – without expending any energy, while taking advantage of the inertia (via regenerative braking) to reverse entropy electricity back into its battery pack.
The eGolf’s range began to increase as we rolled.
By the time I was at the bottom of the mountain – after almost 15 miles of continuous downhill coasting from about 3,200 feet elevation to about 1,200 feet – the eGolf’s range display had notched up to 147 miles.
More than the supposed maximum full-charge range touted by VW.