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Electric city car now has a longer range

Volkswagen e-Up Hatchback (14-19) - rated 0 out of 5
Enlarge 2 photos

PROS

  • Genuinely usable electric range
  • Practical, useful interior
  • Tiny footprint

CONS

  • Likely to be quite expensive
  • Only four seats
  • Up platform is quite old now

At a glance

New price £23,650 - £25,105
Used price £7,045 - £19,665
Used monthly cost £174 - £485
Insurance group 10 How much is it to insure?

PROS

  • Genuinely usable electric range
  • Practical, useful interior
  • Tiny footprint

CONS

  • Likely to be quite expensive
  • Only four seats
  • Up platform is quite old now

Electric city cars are quite a rarity – most EVs are based on larger hatchback or SUV platforms, as it’s easier to package the battery packs in a larger space. Larger vehicles also appeal to a greater portion of the market, including those with families.

But Volkswagen clearly thinks there’s still a market for a truly small electric car, and as a result it’s updated its e-Up model with a new battery pack giving it far greater range than before. We’ve not driven the new car yet, but here’s what we know so far.

Larger battery pack than before

The e-Up’s battery capacity is more than 70% larger than before, growing from 18.7kWh in capacity to 32.3kWh. That has a corresponding effect on the car’s range, which grows from 99 miles on a full charge to a far more impressive 162 miles. That’s not as far as the very best electric cars on sale, such as the Hyundai Kona Electric which can travel around 280 miles on a charge. But with the vast majority of journeys in the UK being shorter than five miles in length, the e-Up should have enough range for most people to go a few days without charging.

The VW e-Up is the sister model to the SEAT Mii Electric and Skoda Citigo-e iV, both based on the same platform and using similar components. As with the petrol-powered equivalents, we'd expect the Volkswagen to have a slightly more upmarket interior finish, higher specification and correspondingly higher price tag.

2019 Volkswagen e-Up charging

And when the battery pack does need topping up, it’s now a quicker process. Volkswagen says that when plugged into a 40kW charger, the e-Up can reach 80% charged in an hour. A 7.2kW wall box will see a full charge take just over four hours.

Also improved is performance, with the e-Up’s 0-62mph time improving by a second to 11.9 seconds. Power is provided by an 83hp electric motor, powering the front wheels.

Practical interior remains unchanged

The e-Up retains the same bodywork and interior fittings as the standard Up city car. This is, by-and-large, a good thing – even seven years on from its debut, the Up remains the gold standard in city cars. Its boxy body allows for genuine space inside for four adults, albeit only for short journeys, while the deep boot gives a surprising amount of room for luggage.

2016 Volkswagen e-Up interior

The e-Up’s specification is based on the top-end Up, incorporating climate control, heated seats and a bespoke smartphone dock plus companion ‘Maps&More’ app. Through this, owners can not only operate the sat-nav and infotainment, but remotely check state of charge or pre-condition the air-conditioning.

Should still be fun to drive

Though the previous model of e-Up had its flaws, it was definitely great fun to drive. The instant response and great low-down power endowed by the electric motor meant it was great fun to drive. We’d expect no less from the updated car.

Pricing is yet to be confirmed, however it's expected that the new e-Up will slip below the £20,000 mark - after the government's £3,500 Plug-In Car Grant is applied, that is.

We’ll update this page with more information on the Volkswagen e-Up when we’ve had a closer look at it. It makes its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show, which is open to the public from 12-22 September.

Find out more about all electric cars here