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Urban-orientated e.GO Life Next in production after trouble-hit development

German EV maker, e.GO Mobile, has finally started production and sales of its small city EV, the e.GO Life Next. After the project was almost abandoned in April 2020, new management and funding have ensured that the first cars are now with their owners on the streets of Europe.

We most recently saw the diminutive e.GO Life at the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s Electric Avenue where it was mixing with the new generation of electric hypercars from the likes of Rimac and Lotus. The company was there despite a torrid 18 months which saw e.GO – the only independent German EV manufacturer – head into liquidation in April last year.

Despite this, it has risen from the ashes with new investment and a new management team at the helm. It was, apparently, well-positioned as a company which was a victim of the pandemic rather than inherent failings of its structure or product.

Speaking of product, the e.GO Life is the car in question. Slightly smaller than a smart ForFour, it measures just 3345mm long and 1747mm wide but thanks to a 2200mm wheelbase can still accommodate four in relative comfort.

You’d hardly call the e.GO revolutionary, but then again it’s not trying to be. It’s very much aimed at younger drivers and those who want to get around in comfort and without emissions in urban areas. There are still mod-cons, such as a 6.75 inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity plus a digital dashboard. Yes, there’s only 140 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place, but that’s more than enough for a shopping trip.

Underneath, the e.GO has a 21.5kWh battery and a 76bhp (peak power) motor – which again draws more than a few parallels to the smart. It’s peppy enough for town driving, hitting 30mph in just over 4 seconds and with a top speed of over 70mph. The combined range of 77.6 miles is… well it’s not great, but the urban part of the test returned a potential range of over 100 miles, which is easily a few days’ worth of slicing through city streets to the shops and back.

Like the car itself, charging isn’t particularly speedy. However, it’ll charge overnight on either a three-pin or a type 2 connector, with the former taking 9.5 hours and the latter 5.7 hours.

In terms of availability, the first cars have just hit the streets in native Germany and production should now be ramped up to fulfil both waiting and new customer orders. There are plans for a facility capable of producing 30,000 e.GOs to open in Bulgaria, as well as further facilities in Greece and Mexico, so the company has ambition. It’s not decided as to whether a right-hand drive version will be brought to the UK or not.

Before the admittedly brilliant subsidies on offer in Germany, the e.GO Life Next comes in at a lofty £22,500. After subsidies it’s a far more palatable £14,383.

At the full price it simply wouldn’t work, but at the subsidised price it undercuts all of its major rivals and we could easily see it gaining a following in the UK, should it ever make it to this market.

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