It’s hard to believe that we have had two whole years of Up! concept cars spawned from Volkswagen but it seems that there’s still a ways to go until the first production versions appear as the innovative show cars keep rolling out. The latest is the new 2009 E-Up!, which is set to star at this week’s Frankfurt Auto Show.
Described as the “Beetle of the 21st Century”, the new E-Up! takes the basic Up! minicar concept from 2007 and adds an efficient all-electric powertrain. Volkswagen claims that it will launch a zero-emissions Up! on the market in 2013 and chances are the E-Up! is what it will look like.
The latest concept car is smaller than the Up!, measuring in at just 10.5 feet in length, yet it still has an innovative 3+1 seating layout and space to store its 529 pound lithium-ion battery pack. The implemented battery’s energy capacity of 18 kilowatt-hours (kWh) enables driving distances of up to 81 miles, depending on driving style--enough for the city and the drives of most commuters.
Charging is done via a regular household power outlet and depending on the available charging infrastructure and the battery’s momentary charge state, 80% of its total capacity can be topped up within an hour.
Momentum comes from an 80 horsepower electric motor positioned in the front of the car and driving the front wheels. With an instantaneous torque of 155 pound-feet, the E-Up! will accelerate to 62 mph from rest in around 11.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 84 mph. While this may seem slow, the E-Up! develops even greater responsiveness in the intermediate sprint from 0-32 mph in city driving: 3.5 seconds.
The launch of cars like the E-Up! is interesting news from Volkswagen, which has largely focused its efficiency efforts on its diesel lineup in the past. Looks like Volkswagen may be rushing to beat its rivals, both in Germany and abroad, in the race of electric vehicle supremacy.