In the e-Up, Volkswagen has designed a production compact car to pack a punch in the city. It has been around since 2013 but was updated by Volkswagen in 2019 with an improved battery capacity, range & energy consumption.
|Model||Battery Size||Wallbox charging time||Rapid charging time|
|VW e-Up (2013)||18.7kWh||9 hours (3.3 kW)||30 mins (40 kW)|
|VW e-Up (2019)||36.8kWh||11 hours (7.1 kW)||45 mins (40 kW)|
The real-world range of the VW e-Up is impressive. A 2013 edition of the car will provide a 99-mile range from a full charge. However, the updated version of the e-Up extends this to 160 miles thanks to its larger battery size. This is more than enough for a city car which is only going to be used for long motorway journeys from time to time. Either iteration of the e-Up is likely to be more than enough for most commutes, especially if it is possible to top the electric motor up when the car is parked at the office.
The increased range offered by the second generation of the e-Up will be a factor in many owner's decision about which type to buy. That said, the 36.8 kWh battery in the 2019 edition – compared to 18.7 kWh in the older version – is heavier. It weighs 15 kilos more, in fact. Helpfully, Volkswagen has done an excellent job of distributing this extra weight such that drivers won't notice it within the cabin.
Given that the electric motor remains the same in the newer version of the e-Up, providing 82bhp and plenty of torque, the charging time is the significant difference between the two models. The CCS fast charging option of the e-Up will offer a rapid charge of well under an hour, while overnight charging will be the norm for most wall outlet set-ups. Helpfully, you can configure the e-Up to only draw power after a certain time, thereby helping owners take advantage of lower electrical costs at night.
To charge a Volkswagen e-Up from 0% and get it to its fully charged state costs approximately £4.10 on a domestic tariff. If you use a rapid charge station instead, then expect to pay about £4.50.
Insurance is also relatively cheap, with UK motoring insurers bracket the VW e-Up within insurance group 10. With a current e-UP, Volkswagen offers a warranty lasting up to eight years or 99,360 miles, whichever comes sooner.
For servicing, VW recommends two types of service intervals depending on the car's usage. For those with lots of cold starts, uphill roads to tackle and which might also be used for towing loads, a fixed service interval of every 10,000 miles is offered. Alternatively, a flexible interval can come anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 miles, or within any two years at the most, for cars that seldom undertake such drives.
You will also benefit from no road tax is due to be paid on a VW e-Up, nor will you have to pay the Congestion Zone charge if you use it in central London.
With plenty of speed offered between 0 and 30 mph, the VW e-Up will reach 62 mph from stationary in 11.9 seconds, ideal for nipping in and around town.
Compared to the VW ID.3 Pro, which offers 0-62mph in9.6 seconds, the e-Up is still reasonably agile. The Nissan Leaf and the Peugeot e-208 achieve the same feat in 7.9 and 8.1 seconds, respectively. Although less rapid than either of these two models, it is still in good company.
Like several other electric cars available today, the e-Up offers three driving modes, Normal, Eco and Ecoplus. Eco mode lowers the car's top speed to 71 mph while Ecoplus lowers this further to 56 mph and is consequently best used in slow-moving city traffic only. Ecoplus will also reduce the air-conditioning system's effectiveness.
The speed off the block in all three modes means that the VW e-Up is fine on most busy roads in the city. Even in Eco mode, you'll find there is more than enough to merge with dual carriageways and motorways without feeling underpowered in this car.
The e-Up looks just like a conventional Up from the outside. The 2019 edition of the car was given a slightly more rounded nose shape.
The current model of the VW e-Up has multiple external features, including a honeycomb air intake style for the grilles, sports bumpers and alloy wheels.
Other than the two generations of the VW e-Up, there are three packages to consider for this car review. Volkswagen calls these the Comfort, which is its entry-level option, the Driver Assist and the Winter. None of these various packages affects the look, but one-off options, such as metallic paint finishes, will do so. Rear mud flaps are an optional extra, too.
This electric car has a reasonably standard dashboard. You can expect all of the typical dials found in electric vehicles these days, such as a power meter that lets you know how much you are using the car's accelerator pedal, plus a handy USB socket for your smart device.
Other than a bog-standard radio and a six-speaker audio system, the e-Up city car offers little by way of entertainment. However, it is ready for a smartphone to be mounted into it, so this is not that bad considering it is a small car.
With five doors in all e-Ups as standard, there is not much else to speak of. All new e-Up Volkswagen cars can be configured with extra touches here and there, however, such as a rear roof spoiler, a safety kit, a bicycle holder, a universal traffic recorder system and a luggage compartment liner.
The Volkswagen e Up offers 250 litres of storage space which is not bad for an electric car of its class. Used vehicles from the first generation are equally as generous in their storage capacity.
The boot of this electric model from VW provides the bulk of the storage capacity. Helpfully, there is a stowaway section underneath the main floor for the car's charging cable – a good thing since it is pretty bulky. The boot of the car comes with a standard parcel shelf that keeps its contents hidden and onto which you can place a few extra, if lightweight, items.
Like the petrol variant of the 2019 Up, the e-Up is rated by Euro NCAP with three stars. The type of motor, petrol or electric, does not play a part in this assessment. Instead, it is the systems, such as the availability of front and side airbags and how vulnerable other road users are to collisions with the car that form the basis of their assessment.
In the e-Up, Volkswagen provides numerous car passenger protection systems as standard. Like other electric cars, its protection system reviews depend on its front airbags for both the driver and the front passenger. The e-Up offers more behind the wheel than this, however. The electric car also comes with an airbag cut-off switch for front fitted child seats and an Isofix capability in the rear, for instance. In the e-Up, Volkswagen has a seatbelt reminder system included but no pedestrian impact warning device.
For an electric car designed for town and city traffic, the price of the e-Up could be lower even before you consider any grant scheme that might be available.
The good news is that the search for a more affordable car is made more accessible when considering how much more cost-effective the e-Up is to run than filling a car up with petrol fuel.
The road price is £23,555, but those optional extras will push the sale price up. For example, a front and rear universal traffic recorder will set you back a whopping £627, while the car's optional roof bars cost £275. That's quite a lot of outlay to consider even before you sign up and sit behind the wheel compared to some other cars you might test drive around town.