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Volkswagen Will Debut Electric Citycar By 2013

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As if there weren't enough news blasting out of Germany at the moment, Volkswagen's head of research and development, Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, has announced that the company will roll an EV into VW showrooms by the 2013 calendar year. As per Hackenberg's statements in the German magazine Stern, the model will see a limited production run, and its powertrain will center around an electric motor that puts out 81 - 95 horsepower. Hackenberg has implied that the vehicle will manage 60 to 70 miles per charge, and since there's no mention of a range-extender (yet), we're going to assume that the model is intended for the citycar segment.

Dr. Hackenberg went on to suggest that combustion engines will remain the norm for the next 15 years or so -- which, in his estimation, is about how long it will take automakers to provide the 200 - 300 mile range and speedy recharge times EVs need to become widely adopted by consumers. In the meantime, Volkswagen is working to produce higher-efficiency vehicles, including a new 235 mpg concept set to debut in Frankfurt this week.

This is interesting news from Volkswagen, which has seemed to focus much of its efficiency efforts on its diesel lineup. Even more interesting: there are rumors that the EV Hackenberg mentions will be based on the company's new up! minicar (pictured above), and that a prototype of that EV may roll out in Frankfurt over the next few days. Looks like Volkswagen may be rushing to beat its German rival, Daimler, to the punch.

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Comments (15)
  1. VW can usually be counted on for cool looking cars but that car looks hideous. Conspiracy thought: maybe they are intentionally making an ugly car so they can tell the environmentalists they tried to make an EV but no one wanted it.
     
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  2. interesting article re this new entrant (announced entrant that is). will be interesting to see how all of these announced plans translate into actual ev car releases. i tend to think there may be a bit of a "press release" battle going on at this point. on another note, i found hackenberg's comment about a good 15 years before a substantive transition from combustion engines occurs refreshingly sober.
     
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  3. Between this, the Nissan LEAF, and the upcoming Toyota all-electric city car, the next few years are going to be pretty darn interesting in the small/electric segment.
     
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  4. This doesn't look like a very attractive package or driving range. Let's hope they're going for price/affordability with this one?
     
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  5. You would think that they would have entered the EV game earlier than 2013, right? I mean that's 4 years away. Does it take that long to develop and what were they doing all these years.
     
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  6. Wow-another elecrtric car-but not until 2013?
     
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  7. @Joe: My general impression has been that, like Mazda, VW has preferred to increase the fuel-efficiency of its combustion engines rather than spend too much time on emerging technology.
    But 2013 isn't too far behind others -- in fact, Toyota won't have an EV on the lots until 2012 (http://ow.ly/pkQc), and they're freakin' Toyota, best known these days for their lean, green Prius. Ford won't arrive until 2012 either (http://ow.ly/pkRz).
    _
    Of course, there's something to be said for VW's lag -- especially when it comes to the bottom line. Waiting even a couple of years allows other manufacturers to work out the kinks in the technology so that VW doesn't waste precious time and money on chasing tech down the wrong rabbit hole. No, it's not very adventurous, but don't forget, they have a much larger family to feed these days.
    _
    Then again, VW hsa paired the up! EV with fuel cells -- at least in concept form (http://ow.ly/pkV4), so maybe that'll get tacked on, just for fun.
     
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  8. @Joe D, @fizz: Yes, it takes that long. The plants to build large-format automotive lithium-ion cells mostly don't exist now, and won't get built until there are real purchase contracts in place.
    More than that, pretty much any new car takes 3 to 5 years to develop, let alone one with a brand-new source of motive power.
     
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  9. Interesting article. Surprises me to know it takes years to develop a new car.
     
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  10. 60-70 miles would be great for use in Europe and the UK, where I would assume the average daily drive is less than 15mi.
     
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  11. @fizz
    I totally agree. Volkswagen won't have an electric car until 2013 while companies like Mitsubishi are already selling them.
     
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  12. still dont understand their differentiation. That space is heating up and its unclear to me how they will get attention to this
     
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  13. Nice. Hopefully, my next car will be EV, ready to wait.
     
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  14. This is a classic "too little, too late" - yet another electric car. I can't help but yawn...
    I can't help but wander where did the innovation go?
    and when will we see some significant break-throughs?
     
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  15. @Hesky: I think that's the real question on the table. Volkswagen won't be especially late to the EV table -- in fact, it'll beat some of it's rivals to the punch -- but how is this up! model different? How is it going to pull focus from snazzier vehicles like the MINI E or even the upcoming Ford EV? My guess is that without significant aesthetic improvements -- or deep price cuts -- it won't do so well in the U.S. (Though to be fair, Hackenberg said nothing about selling this car here.)
     
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