I'm almost two months in on my eGolf ownership and have started tinkering so I thought I'd share.
First to give you some background and put this all into context, my name is Zac Moseley, I run a place called Classic Car Club Manhattan https://classiccarclubmanhattan.com/
, a private members club for auto, moto and motorsport enthusiasts in NYC. We run a fleet of amazing cars from classic american muscle and vintage sports cars to modern sports and exotic cars. The club originated as a private garage where members join the club to drive the cars, we now have a full service clubhouse and events schedule ranging from social events in the club to international travel events. Really a place for enthusiasts in and around NYC to get together and live life a bit more adventurously.
While our interests originate in performance cars, we're really into any unique motoring experience. We've always had something around on the leading edge of new technologies; to that end we've had several Teslas in the fleet and were actually the northeast homebase for Tesla ahead of them opening up a store in New York. With that we were running pre-production prototype tesla roadsters in the fleet in 2007 for Tesla's press drives and members were among the first people in the general public to drive the cars when they weren't booked out with the press. So we are early adopters of modern EV's and have a lot of experience behind the wheel.
I recently moved my growing family from lower manhattan to the suburbs and while I had a Dinan-tuned BMW 535xi wagon that I loved, I needed to get something a better suited for the missus and didn't need a big heavy vehicle (especially one capable of drinking fuel to the tune of single digit mpgs) for my daily commute on my own. In general, while I love old cars, love the smell of and oily greasy mechanical things and have petrol coursing through my veins, I just couldn't bear the thought of burning fuel idling my way into the Lincoln Tunnel. Thus my quest for an electric commuter began.
Sure, I could have got a Tesla (likely used), but it's only me on my commute, I don't need a big stately sedan, don't want a big car payment and I wanted to have fun. I first started looking at Fiat 500e's, and while we used to have a 500 Abarth that was entertaining, it's a pretty compromised car and I thought I'd grow tired of it quickly, also since I'd likely be dropping my kids off at school on the way to work, a 4-door would be useful. Then I learned about the eGolf, with 4 doors, smart VW design and the Golf Platform that I have associated with being a fun car since riding around in the back seat of my mom's 5-spd Rabbit in the early 80s, it seemed to be the perfect fit.
Then I learned about the eTrophy race cars and I knew this was the car for me.
Since I was planning to modify it from the getgo and I have access to buy used cars wholesale, a shop to work on the car and am not very risk adverse, I was looking for a good deal on a used car rather than a new car or a lease. I wanted to get the premium features and found a great deal on a 2015 SEL with 16k miles out of a VW off-lease sale at Manheim in California.
First impressions of the car are great. It's not brutally fast like a higher end Tesla, but the instant torque makes for an entertaining sprint up to about 45mph. Handling is fairly spirited and compliant and the even weight distribution pays big dividends. I've also come to appreciate the fact that when you're not using long range capabilities in an EV, there's no point in having the extra range since all you're doing is hauling around extra batteries that you don't need while paying for it in reduced efficiency. Dropping the extra batteries also pays dividends for acceleration and handling. And it's a golf, which from my mom's early rabbit to recent experiences with Golf R's and GTis has always meant for fund driving and this car still carries that spirit 100%.
That said, I can't leave well enough alone, so I've started down the road of a changing af few things. As a disclaimer to save the comments that I'm killing my range and voiding my warranty, I'm not really concerned about that. I made sure I found a used car at low price point (~1/3 MSRP) where I could experiment a bit and not worry too much about the costs if it goes wrong. Also, while I don't want to do anything that will defeat the original intention of the car being a smart and efficient EV, my commute is only 15 miles each way and I have a 240v charger on each end so I can afford to sacrifice a bit of range for fun.
The aim is to build an electric equivalent to a GTi that's a road going nod to the eTrophy cars. I want to maximize the performance aspects that will bring out the visceral feel of the car while maintaining a balance for efficient zero emissions commuting.
Here's the road map so far:
- Wheels and tires for more spirited handling, although I'm also looking at options make custom aerodiscs to keep them low-drag
- Lowering Springs: Admittedly, springs are mostly for the way the car looks, and while I'm generally not interested in anything that doesn't purely improve performance, i do want it to look the part. I'm not expecting springs to improve handling much, I just hope they don't ruin the cars good balance and compliance.
- Better Seats: With more grip, I'll need bolsters to hold me in the driver's seat
- Revozport 7E Aerokit: https://www.revozport.com/product/golf- ... -complete/
You can buy all of the kit developed for the eTrophy cars. Supposedly, they provide downforce while reducing drag. While that would be great, I kind of doubt it and am mostly doing it make the car look purposeful and in line with my goals for it. I'll probably skip the rear wing and Canards and just do the splitter, diffuser and side skirts.
- Any actual performance mods that may come down the line. Can i open the taps on some more power at the cost of range? Anyone know what level of tuning can be done currently or have any suggestions?
Any input you guys can offer is welcome.
I've got the wheels, tires and seat's done, I'll post pics next.