Looking to buy a used e-golf

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Sep 26, 2019
Hello all.

I found a 2016 e-golf with a little over 10k miles. It does not have the 7.2kw charger, but it looks in really good shape. Here is my situation and concerns.
My commute (primary usage) is about 35mi round trip. I live in the Seattle area, so the temperature is pretty moderate year round. I understand that there is no real quick way to determine the state of the battery, but given that is relatively low miles and the low output charger, I would think that that battery is in really fine shape. I am planning on putting in a 220-240 outlet to make use of a level 2 charger. I am wondering what I might expect for charge times. I have looked at this forum and I have not found a simple value for time required for x miles of charge. This info could be valuable if I find myself out and about and I need to top off the battery to get home. The price is very reasonable and I think it would work just fine for me. Do you think that I should pony up for the higher level charger and the DC option that comes with it? Thanks in advance for you input.
2016 has a 24.2 kWh gross pack. About 89% usable when new ( 21.5 kWh). Assuming the pack lost 8%, it now has 19.8 kWh usable capacity. At 240 V, the onboard charger pulls 15 amps, I believe. 15x240= 3.6 kW. 19.8 kWh/3.6 kW= 5.5 hrs.

If you can afford it, I believe having DCFC capacity is more useful than 7.2 kW charging, though the faster on board charger has come in handy for me several times, too, since I have a 32 amp, 240 V EVSE in my garage. DCFC makes long trips possible and, in my opinion, transforms the car into a vehicle that can accomplish 95% of your year round driving needs, if not 100%. Best of luck.
It sounds like you've found one of the base model 2016 e-Golf SE without the fast charge option. This means that you have no chance to ever DC fast charge the car and you are limited to 3.6kW AC charging. This is very limiting. For most practical purposes, you would be limited to driving 80 miles per day. If you had guaranteed charging at work, maybe you could do more. If this is purely going to be your commute car and you have another vehicle for weekends, sure, go for it. Just be aware of the limitation.
My first e-golf was the same version you have - a 2016 SE with no DC fast charge and the 3.6kW charger. It was great! It's a fantastic city car. I never used it for long trips. I used it to commute and run errands around town. It's absolutely perfect for that.

A 35-mile daily commute is squarely within the wheelhouse of this car. Even in the worst conditions (cold, rainy - which reduces range), it'll easily accommodate your commute. Let's say you use half the battery on the commute. That's only a 3-hour charge. I never had to worry about how long it took because I would just charge it while I sleep. If I needed extra range during the day for some reason, I could plug it in a home for a few hours.

If you plan to use it solely as a commuter and city car, the DC package is not necessary. It's definitely nice to have, and it'll make it more attractive when you want to sell, but I never needed it. I have a 2017 SE now with DC, and I've still never used it.

I say go for it. It's an awesome car.
MichaelG said:
I am planning on putting in a 220-240 outlet to make use of a level 2 charger. I am wondering what I might expect for charge times.

L2 charging on the 2016 SE base is limited to 3.6 kW (240 Volts x 15 amps) . The battery is 24 kWh total with 22 usable. When I originally got my home L2 charger in 2017, charging took just over 6 hours (22 kWh / 3.6 kW = 6.1 hours). At public L2 stations it would be closer to 7 hours due to the voltage being 208 rather than 240.

My 2016 SE presently has 30,000 miles and takes about 5.5 hours to charge to full at home which means I'm at roughly 90% original capacity. The car you're looking at will certainly be between those to numbers. My personal theory is that L1 charging is gentler on the battery than L2, but that's not totally proven.

FYI if your daily commute is only 35 miles round trip, you don't need a home L2 charger. They're just a nice convenience to have. 120V charging assuming 10 amps yields about 1 kWh per hour plugged in, and the rule of thumb is 4 miles range per kWh. So an overnight 10 hour charge gets you 40 miles of range. That being said, the SEs don't have a heat pump, so running the climate control on cold days will cut in to your range as much as 20% and an home L2 charger might be worth it.
I used to have a 2016 SE base model and I have a 25-miles roundtrip commute. It was a great car for that.
I did put in a L2 and it charged at around 11 miles/hr. I could have easily used the include mobile charger and use 110 V for overnight charging.

I traded that in for a 2019 SE, with the bigger battery and the 7.2kw charger when it was a super good deal. Still love the model. When I do get a available L2 charger at work, it charges at 24 miles/hr. Much faster to charge up the 130+ miles battery.

The 2016 should be a great car for your commute and I heard Seattle has super low electric rate as well.
Why does the 110v charge take so much longer than 220v? In my mind it should only double the time. Volkswagen's literature says the charge time is nearly triple.
MichaelG said:
Why does the 110v charge take so much longer than 220v? In my mind it should only double the time. Volkswagen's literature says the charge time is nearly triple.

It's not just a question of the voltage. It's also a question of the amperage. Multiply the voltage times the amps being delivered by the EVSE and you get the number of watts/kilowatts that are being delivered to the car's charger.

In the U.S., most residences are set up to deliver 120v and/or 240v to the outlets (208v for many business outlets). The amperage that can be delivered varies on how the circuit is set up.

So, let's say you have a typical 120v outlet in a house that delivers 12 amps of current. 120x12=1440 watts or 1.44 kilowatts (kW). Hook up an EVSE to that outlet, and in an hour, it will deliver (you guessed it) 1.4kilowatt/hours (kWh) to the car. At 12 amps a 240v outlet would deliver 2.88 kW, or twice the power as you point out, but most higher voltage outlets usually also deliver higher amperage than 120v outlets. It's unusual to find a 240v outlet that delivers less than 16 amps of current, (or more than 80amps, for that matter). So if you had a 240v/16amp circuit, it would deliver about 3.8 kW, obviously more than twice the 1.44 kW delivered by a typical 120v outlet. A 30-amp, 240v AC circuit will deliver 7.2kW, which is the max alternating current (AC) that a 2017+ e-Golf's charger can accept.

So to figure out how many miles you are adding per hour, just figure out how many kW are being added per hour (kWh) and take that times the average efficiency on your car (miles per kWh). For example, if you're adding 7.2 kW per hour of charging and you're averaging 5.0 miles per kWh, then you're adding 36 miles of range per hour.
VW now includes a 10 amp max current trickle cord (that is what came with my 2017 while my 2015 had a 12 amp trickle cord), so L1 charge rate is 1.2 kW. L2 charging rate at 30 amps is 7.2 kW. That is a difference of 6 times, not three. At 3.6 kW, the difference is three times. Assuming you need to charge up 80% of the pack (0.8 x 31 kWh= 24.8 kWh), it will take 21 hrs at 1.2 kW or 3.5 hours at 7.2 kW or 6.9 hours at 3.6 kW. If you are looking at the 24.2 kWh pack, then you can recalculate as required.