Understanding Volkswagen electric vehicles (EV)

What you need to know.

If you are new to electric cars, but like the idea of potentially lower running cost and ultra low emissions, here’s some information we hope you find useful.

Model – determines the trim level. Does it have alloy wheels, a sunroof, a larger touchscreen etc

Power – not all cars have the same size electric motor and they are generally noted by their power in KW (killowatts). This can be thought of as the ‘engine’. Sometimes you’ll see it described in PS or brake horse power, which makes it easier to compare to a non-EV

Battery size – this will determine your range and is described by their capacity in KWh (kilowatt hours). Again to use an analogy, this is the fuel tank

A person stands next to an electric car, holding the charging cable in the port and using their mobile phone in the other

Facts and myth busting

It takes a lot of CO2 to make an electric car:

All IDs are made carbon neutral. Volkswagen has meticulously looked at the whole supply chain and made sure it’s as eco-friendly as possible and offset any CO2 emissions they couldn’t eliminate.

The electricity to power my car is generated using fossil fuels:

This could be true, although some suppliers are green, using wind, solar and hydro power to generate electricity, so it’s worth researching who to buy from.

It costs more to run an electric car than an internal combustion engine (ICE):

If you are using the public charging network, this could be the case but 70% of users charge at home or work where at the time of writing, electricity is significantly cheaper than fossil fuels.

The charging network doesn’t have enough charging points

At this time, this is possibly right depending on where you travel. In time this will be addressed but in the North East of Scotland, you can normally find find one. Check out chargeplacescotland to see where they are.

It takes ages to charge an EV

The slowest method of charging is plugging it in to a normal socket at home. These are usually around 3 kilowatts. If a battery is 45kwh, it would therefore take at least 15 hours (15 x 3). I say at least, as squeezing the last 10-20% of power takes longer, just like your mobile phone.

A specific home charger works at around 7 KW, which is the most a domestic ring-main can handle. We find that most IDs will fully charge overnight to at least 80% charge. The cost of fitting a home charger will vary, depending on where it’s going to be fitted, as they are normally connected directly to your main fuse box due to the current they use. They must be fitted professionally but it’s normally a relatively quick process. Our recommendation is always that you have a home charging point fitted. You can go with whoever you like, and shop around; Volkswagen has teamed up with Ohme who have great customer service and competitive pricing.

Public chargers use three-phase power and can be as powerful as 100 kw and more – these are the ones that cost a lot, effectively you are paying for charging speed. Also, your car may be limited by the rate it can be charged at.

How far do they go without needing a re-charge?

A number of factors affect the range, driving style and outside temperature being the two biggest. In the winter, the range does drop but it’s interesting that the biggest take-up of EV cars initially before the rest of Europe caught up, were the Scandinavians. You naturally adjust your driving style but if out and out hard acceleration is your thing, your range will drop significantly. MPG is replaced by miles per kilowatt hour, so as a very rough guide if you have a 77kwh battery and you’re doing 3miles per kilowatt hour, you’ll have a range of 230 miles.

What’s the life of the battery?

Volkswagen warrant their battery for 100,000 miles or eight years, stating that it should still be able to charge to 80% of its original capacity. Looking after your battery can extend its life – Volkswagens have a setting where it limits charging to 80%, which again just like a mobile phone, will extend its life. You can always move the slider to 100% for longer journeys.

Will the car hold its value?

That’s a question that applies to all cars, regardless of how they are powered. We recommend that you consider buying any car on a payment scheme that has a guaranteed future value.

What about running costs?

Well, not good news for us, but great news for you! No exhaust to rust, you’ll likely be using the brakes less (see below on ‘B’ mode) and no oil needing to be replaced. We’ll still need to conduct checks and service other items but we’ll only see you every two years

What are they like to drive?

In a word… easy. They’re quiet, they’re nippy off the line and they handle nicely. In ‘B’ mode they use the power of the motor in reverse to slow the car down and charge the battery at the same time.

The best way to find out is to try it for yourself and at the same time spend a wee while with an EV-trained advisor about the different ‘engine’ powers and battery sizes that would suit your individual needs.

Do you have any other questions? Or arrange a test drive? Contact us today:

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Volkswagen electric ID Range