Electric Boogaloo!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Mein fuhrer! I haf a plan!

Well, I have an electric car . . . VW just sent me the new eGolf to test drive and report on. I will do so serially, with the first outing today.

My plan is to hazard a drive “down the mountain” – as we locals say – and into town (Roanoke) which is about 35 miles from my abode, one way. And another 35 back way. So, about 70 miles – including back up the mountain, a climb of roughly 2,000 ft to get to my elevation from the valley below. 

The electric Golf – no gas engine back-up – is all charged up. Indicated 137 miles range. What will its actual range prove to be?

Stay tuned – I will report on this shortly. Assuming, of course, I make it back home!

PS: I will be fair to this car. I will give you the straight dope, as I always strive to.



  1. Will VW be changing it’s name to “Voltswagen”?

    (Might as well just change their name to Schwinn and get it over with!)

        • Hey Nunzio,

          Up until the early 90’s (before Schwinn declared bankruptcy and sold off the brand) there was the Paramount division. These were very nice bicycles, even towards the end. Richard Schwinn bought the old Paramount factory and founded Waterford Precision Cycles in 1993. They even offer limited edition Paramount’s every once in a while.


          • Hi Ya, Jeremy!

            That is true! I had even been considering old Paramounts before I bought my Klein!

            Hey, even many of Schwinn’s old tanks were pretty darn cool- like (I forget which is which…) the Collegiate, and the Suburban. I’ve never been a weight-weenie, and I’m not all that fast….and there’s something to be said for the feel of those heavy old bikes….. If I still lived in the ‘burbs, or where it was flatter, I’d probably be riding one…..

            Hey, look at those Surly bikes- they’re every bit as heavy as a Schwinn…and they get good money for ’em! (I’d much rather have an old Schwinn…sans the steel wheels, of course)

          • That is beautiful, Jeremy!

            In fact, weren’t some of the Paramounts made by Waterford at some point?- Or I am thinking of something else? (Do I remember you having an actual Waterford?)

            • Hey Nunz,

              Marc Mueller was the head builder/designer at the Paramount division before the end. He and Richard Schwinn founded WPC out of the remains of that division, and Marc remains at the helm of the fabrication department. WPC has continued to offer custom Paramount’s, with some gaps, since then.



            • Hey Nunz,

              Yes, I own a custom Waterford. It is a thing of beauty and embodies my design aesthetic, which I call neo-classic. I don’t eschew the genuine innovations of the present, but I also value what is great about the past. I hate the “newer is better” attitude that permeates the modern bike industry. Over the years I’ve noticed what I call the 90/10 rule: 90% of new stuff is unnecessary crap that doesn’t address a genuine problem or improve the bike, 10% of new stuff is genuinely an improvement. Oddly, my attitude is pretty rare in the industry, most fall in the “newer is better” crowd and a few cling to the “older is better” crowd.

              BTW, Eight has seen my bike in person.


              • Hey Jeremy!

                Awesome! [Re: Having a custom Waterford]

                Oh, I am the same way- It’s not only that I love the aesthetic of steel and lugs; but I appreciate doing things in the simplest, most direct manner that accomplishes the given objective in an efficient way….which is usually the simplest most direct way- which also tends to offer the greatest durability and reliability.

                I think it absolutely ludicrous to take something as simple and direct as a bicycle, and complicate it with unnecessary technology- much like what has been done with automobiles- when there is little if any real benefit to that added complexity.

                Sadly, it seems that the majority of cycling enthusiasts seem to be all about the ‘latest and greatest’ bikes and gear- as is also the case with many other endeavors, in which one would get the idea that many of the participants are more interested in the gear than in the actual activity.

                I tend to be a minimalist; I prefer to use the bare minimum necessary to accomplish any task. I appreciate quality, not abundance of frills, nor adding another xxx% just to achieve a negligible benefit which can hardly be discerned unless it is precisely measured.

                I did try a ‘good’ carbon fiber bike once- got a good deal on it used when it was a year old; just wanted to see what all the hoopla was about. Rode it for about 6 months. Didn’t care much for it. Sold it and even made a little profit on it. (It was a Venge Expert- with a few upgrades the previous owner- a bike mechanic- had done).

                Love my Klein- but I would prefer to have some classic steel. The Klein was the superbike of it’s day….but it can’t do anything that a good steel bike also couldn’t do.

                So you met Mr. 8! That must’ve been a treat! Wasnm’t Bill/Vonu from WY heading your way once too?

                • Hey Nunz,

                  I went with the TIG welded S3 version as it afforded me the most flexibility with geometry and design. Lugs are limited to specific angles and this constrained what I wanted for fit. I like what is considered an upright position on my road bike. My bars are 1cm beneath my saddle. For a number of reasons (mostly stupid, unnecessary design “innovations”), bar height has been creeping way down over the years. I hate the look of riser stems on road bikes so I designed my frame with a very long head tube (235mm) and a slightly upward sloping top tube (8 degrees). This allows me to use a more traditional looking stem and achieve the riding position I want.

                  Funny, up through the mid eighties, “racing” fit had the bars 3-5cm beneath the saddle, which made the drops usable for achieving an aero crouch Now, it’s 8-11cm beneath the saddle, rendering the drops mostly useless.

                  I’ve met 8 twice and I hope to hook up again on my next trip to Texas. I’ve never privately corresponded with Bill/Vonu, nor arranged to meet.


                  • Mornin’ Jeremy,

                    Guilty, here! My bars are about 4 inches below my saddle. I tend to prefer smallish frames for my size- and while I don’t know how aerodynamic my position may or may not be, I do find the drops to be very comfortable with such a fit…and at least it keeps me from being an upright sail. Ironically, I used to abhor riding in the drops when I was young- and could never have ridden this position then.

                    So now you’ve got me curious; what kind of drivetrain do you have on the ‘Ford, if ya don’t mind me asking?

                    • Hey Nunz,

                      Even with my “upright” position, my bike is very fast. I routinely coast by people on full aero set-ups, much to their chagrin. Part of it is mass to frontal area, 200 pounds helps a lot on the rollers and downhills.

                      I’ve got a custom Dura-Ace 3 X 10 system. I run 24/36/50 up front with a 12-23 on the rear. This gives me a very wide range with close ratio shifting. I have a straight block through the 19 on the rear, and a low gear that is lower than the 34/32 set-up common on many new bikes. My gearing is so much better than what is currently available. In my middle and outer, I have perfect gear ratio progression so I always have the perfect gear for the particular conditions. My custom triple is lighter than all but the most exotic wide range compact doubles on the market.

                      As you know, I live in Santa Fe and there’s a lot of climbing. Still, I rarely need the 24 up front but, when I do, it’s great. People scoff at my set-up, but I don’t care. They haul around a heavy 11-32 stack, with crappy gear ratio progression, for the few times they need a really low gear. I haul around a little 24T chain ring that weighs 20g.


  2. Indian carmaker Tata just announced a new electric car for the domestic Indian market. No it is NOT called the Bodacious Tata. It is a small, electric-only car for the urban market. I does not have the range for highway driving, the range is only 85 miles. But the price is 200,000 Rupees, approximately $2900 U.S. . IF the U.S. congress would simply shove all U.S. safety regulations up their asses, WE could have similar cars here at a similar price tag. WRITE YOUR CONGRESSCRITTERS !

  3. Cool, will be interested in your take on it. After seeing the 10k off MSRP they’re doing I was interested only to find they don’t sell em anywhere near me.

  4. You might want to swing by Northern Tool in Salem while you’re Down the Mountain and pick up one of these babies…


    Super quiet and dependable. I love mine.

    Gettin’ down the mountain shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll be very interested to know what kind of reserve you have when you get back home…and how long it takes to recover.

    You have to give them credit, though. They have the guts to get one to you when no one else even tries. (on another level it’s kinda sad. they will never serve their full penance in the eyes of the Almighty Earth Mother Gaia and her acolytes)

  5. I think it’ll make it….now, only because it’s brand new, and the weather is probably fairly mild. A year or two from now? Not so much…..

  6. Y’all… I don’t think he made it… hope manbearpig didn’t get to him. eric was a good dude, he’ll be fondly remembered.

    • Hi Anon,

      I wasn’t home when they dropped it off, but I expect so because the press car pool is located more than 200 miles away, well beyond the car’s best-case range. But it’s possible they stopped for charging. I didn’t know the car was coming or I would have stayed home to talk with the drivers – and see whether it came on the flatbed!

      • I would have thought they would have called you on your smartphone to inform you that they were bringing a car so you could take possession of the keys. Where did they leave the keys? Or maybe VW didn’t want you to see that it came to you by a flatbed.

        • They probably just left the keys in it, since any thief isn’t going to get very far in an electric car – LOL!

  7. YewToob is “processing the video”, hmmm!

    Time to get out that St Christopher medal, Eric. You’ll need some sort of supernatural assistance to go 70 miles with A/C running in the heat and 2000′ of elevation change in a battery anything.

    • Eric should be able to regen going down the mountain, thus saving enough charge to make it back. Also, if he didn’t use the A/C, he’ll still lose energy from aerodynamic drag from keeping the windows open.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here