As a result, the little VW now makes a lot of sense. It now has a theoretical range of 162 miles before it’ll need a charge, and getting the electricity into the battery is now quicker too, as the charging rate has been upgraded from 3 to 7kW.
That range means you could get from Leeds to London in one hit, or can do a week of commuting without needing to plug in. It could make the UP! a realistic proposition now for drivers who don’t have off-street parking – it could be driven all week and then just charged at the weekend when going to the supermarket or shopping centre.
Being a small car, the UP! is of course most at home in the city, where its electric motor gives it a real punch away from a standstill. It’s perfectly comfortable over urban potholes and speedbumps too, and the light steering makes it easy to thread into gaps and parking spaces.
If you venture further afield and onto the open road the UP! doesn’t feel quite as at home, but still manages to keep up with other traffic. The top speed is limited to 81mph, mainly to preserve the battery life but it also means you’re unlikely to get a speeding ticket on the motorway.
Whichever road you’re on, the e-UP! is also surprisingly comfortable, especially considering its size. That boxy bodywork does a neat job of accommodating people and luggage compared to other city cars of this size. School runs and shopping trips should be no problem, unless your teenagers have become particularly lanky or taken up double bass lessons.
One of our favourite parts of the e-UP! is the sat-nav screen; or rather the lack of one. Most cars these days have a display for the navigation, stereo and charging but it quickly becomes outdated. Rather than double up on the tech, the UP! simply has a clip and connector on top of the dashboard so you can mount your smartphone. There’s a special VW app to look after navigation and battery management too. It makes such good sense, we hope other makers follow suit.
It all sounds pretty good for the e-UP!, but it does have a few problems. The first is the Renault Zoe which is more practical, has a bigger range, a better safety rating and isn’t much more expensive. More worrying for VW is the in-house competition from Skoda and SEAT. The electric versions of the Citigo and Mii are almost identical to the UP!, but are cheaper. Do some homework and work out which makes the most sense for you.