On December 23, 2014, Jürgen Bäumer gave himself the biggest Christmas present ever: he bought one of the very first e-Golfs in Germany. And today? The car just keeps on rolling.
A total of 111,111 kilometers! That’s how far Jürgen Bäumer has driven his e-Golf to date. And that in just four and a half years. On December 23, 2014, the business owner, now aged 53, gave himself the biggest Christmas present ever: he bought one of the very first e-Golfs in Germany for 36,000 euros. And today? The car just keeps on rolling.
Jürgen Bäumer founded his own company in 1995, one dealing with heating, plumbing, electrical and solar. Based in Tecklenburg near Osnabrück, Germany, the company now employs a staff of 16 and serves customers over a 50-kilometer area stretching in every direction and including Osnabrück, Melle, Georgsmarienhütte, Lengerich and Ibbenbüren. Its customer base now encompasses 3,500 clients.
“We specialize in energy-efficient heating systems, solar technology and power-generating heating systems. Our cars feature the slogan: ‘Cut heating costs in half.’”
Perhaps it’s the environmentally friendly nature of his company, or maybe it’s just the irrepressible curiosity that grips Bäumer on a regular basis. Whatever the case, he “absolutely” had to have one of the first e-Golfs “right away.” “I’ve always driven Volkswagen. When the first e-Golf came out, I simply had to get one. That’s because I’m totally into new technology,” explains Bäumer. At home, by contrast, he met with some skepticism about buying the new e-Golf. Wife Annette, daughter Sarah and his two sons Jannik and Robin had concerns about the car’s range. But most of all they wondered: what would happen if they got stranded with the e-Golf due to a defect or an empty battery? Bäumer reassured them: “Then I’ll come pick you up!” But after four and a half years and 111,000 kilometers, it hasn’t happened a single time. “On the contrary,” says Bäumer: “Today everyone jockeys to see who gets to drive the e-Golf.”
The e-Golf rolls the most
Of the eleven cars in the company fleet, the e-Golf gets driven the most. Even though it does have to be charged every 100 to 150 kilometers as it is a first-generation model, the routes to construction sites are seldom longer than 50 kilometers.
And so every morning at the Bäumer family breakfast table, the ‘big negotiation’ takes place to decide who gets the e-Golf that day. Mother or father on the way to work sites? Daughter Sarah on her way to riding practice? One of the two sons on the way to the gym? Or will the entire family pile in for an excursion to Lake Alf, 53 kilometers away? “We make a democratic decision every day,” says Bäumer with a chuckle. “The criterion is simple: whoever has the longest route gets the e-Golf.”
The car has yet another big advantage: fuel costs are completely non-existent. The Bäumers charge the e-Golf with solar power from their own roof. And in the winter they generate the electricity for operating the car with their own cogeneration power unit.
Although the Bäumer family fleet also includes a Volkswagen Polo, Golf and Scirocco, they all love the e-Golf! The amazing acceleration is one reason. But they all appreciate how quiet it is as well. And none of the Bäumers or company staff worries about getting stuck somewhere. The car is highly practical: “There is plenty of room for all five of us, and the space in the luggage compartment is comparable to that of a car with a conventional combustion engine. Tools, machines, spare parts and pipes, or gear for working out and riding – it all fits inside,” reports Jürgen Bäumer of his daily experience with the car.
The operating costs of the e-Golf are an additional source of delight for Bäumer. “Over the four and a half years, we’ve paid only about 350 euros for inspections. With a car with a combustion engine, I’d have paid over a thousand euros by now,” calculates Bäumer.
"Never has e-golf let me down"
Because the e-Golf has the full equipment package, the younger family members also like to use its sound system. For Jürgen Bäumer, the navigation system is the key. It helps him find his construction sites right away. Even in the winter, there are no limitations at all on driving the e-Golf. “I use the heat, listen to the radio of course and drive completely normally. The e-Golf has never left me in the lurch.”
And it’s not only within the family; the e-Golf is also the most popular car in the company fleet. While the e-Golf racks up 2,000 kilometers a month, all of the other ten cars together manage just 7,000 kilometers a month.
Bäumer has never actively talked up the e-Golf among friends and customers. But if anyone took notice and asked about it, they’d be given an impromptu exposition of its merits – and the chance to give it a spin. “I’m a big fan of understatement. But two friends of mine have bought an e-Golf based on my recommendation.
For the battery to be fully charged, the first-generation e-Golf requires five hours of charging time. But all the family members and staff have long since become accustomed to charging it up as soon as they reach the Bäumer property. Which means the e-Golf is always ready to go.
Bäumer would like to switch more of his fleet over to e-mobility. In addition to the e-Golf, he currently owns two Caddys, four T5/T6 Transporters, two Crafters and two Renault Traffics.
It costs him 1,000 euros a month to keep them filled with diesel – that’s 12,000 euros a year. “I’d like to use that money more sensibly,” says Bäumer. But the changeover will take time.
Bäumer would like to get another electric vehicle from Volkswagen soon. He avidly follows all the reports and information on the ID. models. He’s glad that there are electric vehicle subsidies today. “We could only dream of that back then!”
And because Jürgen Bäumer is far-sighted in his thinking and actions, he has another clever idea in mind: “I see the advantage of electric vehicle for commuters in particular. Their daily distances are predictable. There should be parking lots covered with solar panels in the suburban rings of large cities. Commuters could park their cars in monitored lots and charge them while they themselves are riding into work on public transportation. Then they return to pick up their cars at the end of the day.
After four and a half years of driving the e-Golf, Jürgen Bäumer is truly impressed by the vehicle. “I’d buy it again any time. We have plenty of electricity nowadays. Without exaggerating, it’s the gold of our century.”