• Sep 15th 2009 at 9:28AM
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Volkswagen E-Up! Concept - Click above for a high-res image gallery

While today might be the middle of September, 2009, Volkswagen is looking to the future. 2013 to be exact. That's when Chairman Martin Winterkorn says they'll be launching the E-Up!, an all-electric city specialist. The E-Up!'s killer app is the lightweight lithium-ion battery that kinda tips the scales at five hundred pounds. That might sound like a lot, but keep in mind that the Panasonic Metal Case Prismatic pack in the Prius weighs over 100 pounds and has a gasoline engine to boot. Not so with the E-Up! The whole teeny kit and kaboodle clocks in at a sprightly 2,387 pounds.

Volkswagen's already calling the E-Up! the Beetle of the 21st Century (no word from VW on how the current New Beetle feels about it), and based on their claim that 100 kilometers (62 miles) of driving can be had for just €2 (like five bucks) we see no reason to protest. Interestingly, the E-Up! is the smallest VW ever, so tiny in fact that it's a 3+1 seater. Because Volkswagen largely eliminated the E-Up's dashboard, the front passenger seat is about five inches forward of the driver's seat, increasing the leg room for that person seated directly behind the passenger. The person seated behind the driver, well, he's out of luck. But in a pinch you can carry around a fourth passenger.

There's a 1.4 square meter solar panel on the roof that adds power to the E-Up!'s electrical system. Not enough power? Flip down the solar cell covered sun visors and voila! -- you have 1.7-meters of solar power. That power in turn spins a electric motor that makes 155 lb-ft of torque at zero rpm. This can move the E-Up! from a standstill to 60 mph in just over eleven seconds. News flash: the E-Up! is not a Lamborghini. Still, if like Volkswagen is predicting, E-Up!s (or is that E-Ups!?) will spend most of their time in the city then who cares? Future E-Up! owners, we guess. Full details in the press release below the fold.


Update on the Future

New Small Family with E-Motor: E-Up! Concept – Outlook for the Beetle of the 21st Century

World premiere: Volkswagen is presenting city specialist with electric motor

Winterkorn: We will launch a zero emissions Up! on the market in 2013
Wolfsburg / Frankfurt, 14 September 2009 - Volkswagen is presenting a pioneering fleet of new sustainable automobiles at the 63rd International Motor Show (IAA) – an update on the future. The range of IAA premieres extends from the world's most fuel-efficient production passenger car (BlueMotion) to hybrid technology and an electric car developed from the ground up – the E-Up! that is being presented in a world premiere in Frankfurt.

Plain text – E-Motor plus TDI and TSI shape the future

Altogether, these Volkswagens are revising milestones on the timeline between present and future. "One of the basic milestones on this timeline," says Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Group, "is the mass produced electric car. Yet, to be a genuine success such an electric car must be affordable to a broad customer base and must be uncompromisingly practical in everyday driving. Only then, in high volumes, and ideally on all continents, can one truly speak of the beginning of the electric age in automobiles and a perceptible reduction of their environmental impact." The Group chief continues: "Nonetheless, until the production numbers of a purely electric car approach the success curve of a Polo, its schedule will indicate the year 2020 at the earliest. That is why our highly efficient TDI and TSI engines are the most important waypoints of the present. They will continue to be a dominant force for decades. And they are what allow us to make the step-by-step transition to the future. Cars with pure petrol and diesel engines – which in the foreseeable future will continue be unbeatable for mid- to long-range distances – will be supplemented by cars like the E-Up! in upcoming years, especially in the city. And that will happen starting in 2013. The concept car now being presented in Frankfurt very realistically shows how we envision such a Volkswagen with pure electric drive – technically, visually and with regard to a practical size."

The zero-emissions concept car designed under the leadership of Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management, Volkswagen Brand, and Head of the Development business area, is based on modules of the New Small Family anticipated in the year 2011, but at a length of 3.19 meters it is even more compact. It also offers an innovative 3+1 seating concept. In its styling, the powerful and clearly drawn lines of the E-Up! body follow the new Volkswagen "design DNA" par excellence and show cult potential. That is because never before has an ultra-compact vehicle – which does not aim to be retro but forges new paths instead – brought such appealing, timeless, class-independent and dynamic qualities to light. Inside, the smallest Volkswagen ever also astonishes with its impressive space utilisation.

Drive unit – battery and integral drive

The 135 km/h fast 3+1 seater is driven by an electric motor with a peak power output of 60 kW (continuous power: 40 kW). The motor of the front-wheel drive car, which is mounted in front, develops a maximum torque of 210 Newton-meters right from rest. The driver activates forward or reverse gear via a rotary knob in the centre console. The fact that the E-Up! will also quite clearly offer driving enjoyment is demonstrated by a look at the car's classic 0 to 100-km/h sprint time: 11.3 seconds. The E-Up! develops even greater responsiveness in the intermediate sprint from 0 to 50 km/h in city driving: 3.5 seconds. This dynamic performance is based first on the electric motor's excellent torque characteristic and second on the low kerb weight of the E-Up!, which is just 1,085 kilograms.

Lithium-ion battery: The car's low weight is quite astounding, given the fact that 240 kilograms are taken up by the lithium-ion battery. The implemented battery's energy capacity of 18 kilowatt-hours (kWh) enables driving distances of up to 130 kilometres, depending on driving style – enough for the city and the drives of most commuters. The E-Up! will be "refueled" in the garage at home, in a parking structure or on the road at one of the future municipal recharging stations that will be enabled by chip card. Depending on the available charging infrastructure and the battery's momentary charge state, the storage battery could be charged to up to 80 percent of its total capacity within an hour.

If the batteries are recharged in a home garage, for example, by plugging it into a 230-Volt household outlet, this would take a maximum of five hours. Generally, off-peak night-time electric rates are very inexpensive. So refueled at night the E-Up! could be driven 100 kilometres for just two Euros in electricity costs (about 14 Euro cents / kWh).

The batteries themselves are housed in the underbody of the E-Up! To optimally distribute the weight of the battery system, it is housed in a special, crash-protected tray in the underbody frame. Air cooling ensures a constant heat balance within the batteries. The fans and heat exchangers needed for this are housed in the front section of the underbody.

Integral drive: The teams of Concept Development (headed by Ralf-Gerhard Willner) and Engine Development (headed by Dr. Jens Hadler) integrated all important drive assemblies and auxiliary assemblies in the engine compartment at the front end. The design of an integrated form of the electric drive made a key contribution toward reducing weight and space requirements for the drive unit. Background: All components important to the powertrain are unified in compact form in the so-called integral drive. In this unit, the electric motor, together with the transmission and differential, form the centrepiece of this drive. Energy is supplied via a high-power pulse-control inverter, which is combined with the 12-Volt electrical system DC/DC converter and the charger to form the compact integral drive. At 140 kilograms, the integral drive is also very lightweight. To summarise its advantages: low space requirement, ideal acoustic comfort, high torque and power development and strong driving performance in the city. So the system fulfils the requirements of an innovative electric drive in a nearly ideal way.

Styling – the Beetle of the 21st Century

The E-Up! emphatically demonstrates that emission-free Volkswagens will be anything but lacking in emotion. Responsible for this, once again, is the team led by Group Chief Designer Walter de Silva. Together with Klaus Bischoff (Chief Designer, Volkswagen Brand) and Flavio Manzoni (Head of Creative Design, Volkswagen Group), he developed a layout for the E-Up! that reflects the visual bandwidth of the future New Small Family. The E-Up! bears a resemblance to previously presented concept vehicles of this new model series – the Up! (city specialist), Space-Up! (microvan) and Space-Up Blue! (fuel cell powered van) – it represents a design stage that reflects the future production car even more closely.

"The E-Up!", says Klaus Bischoff, "is characterised by a reduced, very clear and yet highly emotional design." And that is certainly no coincidence. The car's lines consistently follow Volkswagen's new era "design DNA" that was developed by de Silva, Bischoff and Manzoni. Its key stylistic traits: Simplicity, purity, durability and perfection of its technologies and quality. Bischoff: "The new concept is therefore very much in harmony with its stylistic 'siblings' of the New Small Family, the Roadster BlueSport and the new Polo." Dimensions of the E-Up! are 3.19 meters (length) x 1.64 meters (width) x 1.47 meters (height). Its wheelbase is 2.19 meters.

Front end: Although E-Up! styling was developed from the Up!, the electric car differs from conventionally powered models in the new model series. Consider the front end: It fits in perfectly with the brand's new family face, yet at the same time it refers back to one of the greatest icons in automotive history in the area of the engine bonnet: the Beetle. Nonetheless, the E-Up! does not reveal the slightest hint of retro styling; instead, designers created new and unmistakable styling tools that would carry the small Volkswagen far into the future.

Fitting in with this image are the headlights with their facet-like lenses – cut like diamonds – that extend over the entire width of the lens cover. Another interesting detail: the fog lights. At first glance they can hardly be recognised as such. The designers have configured them as C-shaped, chrome-trimmed elements in the headlight housings. Also style-defining is the black line running in a circular pattern in the bumper – a typical characteristic of the New Small Family. "In the interplay of all elements, the bumper, headlights and engine bonnet," explains Klaus Bischoff, "the E-Up! really appears to smile. And that is how it should be." Conspicuous: There are hardly any openings at the front end, since there is no need for separate cooling of the drive unit.

The VW logo on the V-shaped engine bonnet of the E-Up! is more than just an homage to the Beetle. Hidden behind the folding logo is the integrated port for charging the batteries. The advantage of positioning the plug port here is that it makes it easier to recharge the E-Up! from stations on either the left or right sides of the street or directly in front of the car.

Side profile: "In keeping with Volkswagen's "design DNA" the side sections also exhibit a high level of stylistic purity, following the Bauhaus principle created in the 1920s in Germany that 'less is more'," says Flavio Manzoni. This car's visual identity is very intentionally created by just a few graphic elements that blend together to form a new unit in the classic Bauhaus approach to creative art and innovative technology. These defining elements of the E-Up! side profile include its side glass and shoulder styling line above the door handles known as the tornado line. The side profile styling is further defined by the car's short body overhangs, the confident outward shaping of the wheel housings and unique C-pillar. Flavio Manzoni explains the special presence of the C-pillar: "Visually, the vertically aligned C-pillar is positioned above the rear wheel, which conveys a feeling of balance and solidity. These properties are indispensable for a Volkswagen. Last but not least, the prominent and powerful wheel styling gives the car a perfect 'demeanour'".

Rear end: The basic graphic forms of the tailgate and rear bumper follow those of the very first Up! However, the once again completely glazed tailgate now exhibits significantly larger taillights in dark smoked glass look. Running through the taillights is a line trimmed in chrome that extends across the tailgate. The circular chrome line unites the two taillights in a vertical direction. These accents are also reflected in the matching graphic element of the front and rear bumpers.

Solar roof: The roof of the E-Up! is equipped with solar cells over an area measuring 1.4 square meters. This area – between the rear part of the roof edge spoiler and the front windscreen – can be enlarged to 1.7 square meters in total by folding down the sun visors that are also equipped with solar cells. The solar cells continuously supply energy to the car's electrical system, and while the vehicle is parked they help to cool the interior by supplying energy to the car's ventilation system.

Interior I – Instruments and controls

Flavio Manzoni: "The interior was designed in complete harmony with the car's exterior styling, and it exhibits a similar aesthetic with a technical-purist influence." To improve the electric car's energy economy by avoiding unnecessary loads, actuators such as mirror adjustment and window lifts were designed to be manually operated. Nonetheless, the highly innovative E-Up! makes its appearance with an impressive array of future generation high-tech displays and controls. They are all quite self-explanatory, and the car's controls are intuitive, making driving and life with this Volkswagen as simple and stress-free as possible.

HMI: The concept car has a touch-screen based HMI (Human Machine Interface) with intelligent E-Up! specific indicators and assistance functions. During navigation, the system continually monitors the momentary load state of the batteries, for example, as well as activated energy consumers such as lights and air conditioner, momentary traffic data, elevation profiles of potential routes and the locations of available charging stations. The driver can display these "filling stations" at any time; available charging stations may be reserved within a defined reservation time period.

The charging process can also be precisely planned to the minute via the HMI. This lets users charge the E-Up! during a specific time period in which electricity is available at special low rates. The charging process can be activated at any time via an intuitively operated application installed on an iPhone or similar mobile device, even from outside of the vehicle. Even more: From the application users can query the momentary charge status and vehicle location (the latter via map display) or simply check whether the car is locked. Moreover, to preserve vehicle battery power the program lets users pre-condition the E-Up! interior. This involves cooling or heating the car's interior as long as the car is still connected to the charging station and is drawing its electrical power from the electrical grid.

Interior II – 3+1 seating concept

The generous space implemented over a total vehicle area of just 5.1 square meters is absolutely astounding. Several factors are responsible for this clever packaging. First, there is the reduced size of the instrument panel, which was shifted further forward than usual toward the engine compartment. This was enabled, among other things, by optimising the components within the instrument panel. Second, the small Volkswagen is a 3+1 seater. This means that the front passenger seat is located 50 millimetres forward, thanks to the instruments being shifted further forward. This layout increases leg room in the rear behind the front passenger tremendously. As a result, two adults can sit comfortably on the passenger's side. Stepping into the vehicle is also simplified by an Easy-Entry feature, which allows the front passenger's seat to be pushed up to 270 millimetres away from the rear bench. There is less leg room behind the "normally" positioned driver's seat; the space here was designed as a spare seat.

Additional freedom of movement is provided to rear passengers by lowering the centre tunnel in front of the rear bench seat; it serves as an additional footrest. This enables use of an electric handbrake in the style of the Passat, so that no lever mechanism obstructs the footwell.

Cargo area: The clever packaging solutions do not end there: To optimise comfort in the rear, the rear seat backrest is split 40/60. When the backrest on the driver's seat is folded down (40 percent section), stowage capacity is increased from 85 to 180 litres (with loading to the upper edge of the front seat backrest). This stowage space can be enclosed by a load barrier that folds down out from the folded backrest. When the entire rear seating backrest is folded down, a stowage capacity of 320 litres is created. It is even 520 litres when loaded to the roofliner. To transport long objects, the front passenger's backrest can also be folded to a pass-through position. In this configuration, the E-Up! can handle objects up to two metres in length.

This high degree of variability will also certainly characterise the affordable production version of an Up! powered by an electric motor. That is because electric cars, as Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn insists and therefore wrote into the specification for this future Volkswagen, must be truly affordable and offer uncompromising everyday practicality.

Micro-mobility in the city – made by Volkswagen

Volkswagen is comprehensively addressing implementation of this everyday practicality. These efforts not only encompass the vehicle itself, but the entire environment around the car driver. In the city, for example, this includes the realisation that after parking the E-Up! people will want to cover shorter distances without a car – from the job to lunch, to the fitness studio, another meeting, whatever is on the day's schedule. For these shorter trips, the Volkswagen "Micro-mobility in the city" concept team has invented clever zero-emission micro-vehicles. The Kickstep, for example, which is an ultra-compact folding scooter. And the electrically powered Microbully, a scooter that also fits easily in the E-Up! load space. There is also the ped-tric, a folding bike with electric motors built into the wheel hubs that could also make the trip to the city aboard the E-Up! And even the VW_1M, a large electric moped – the size of a carry-on case when not in use – that could be stowed in the E-Up! without even needing to fold down the rear bench seat. Such micro-mobility solutions were created at the Volkswagen Design Center in Potsdam. So the E-Up! will be putting many things into motion. In 2013 this will become a reality for the first time

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like how the people in the back can't have legs. I guess as a 6'04" guy with a family I have no option but to buy an SUV or keep my 93 Honda Accord. I want a green car too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      thanks for the comments about the EURO exchange rate ... may be this is how the author is planning to report his expenses while there - 1 euro = $2.5 US .... :):)

      guys, let's cut some slack here, this will be up in 2013, we can not know what will be the price of this .. we also do not know whether we might have the luck of actually seeing some diesels engines stateside either ....

      effort is good, direction is also great. let's see what will happen.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Car = ugly = fail. No matter how good the mileage is.
      • 6 Years Ago
      5 bucks for 60 miles? That's like a car that gets 30MPG.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's based on US gas prices. Change that to the repressive, ultra-taxed gas prices in the EC and it translates into roughly eleventy-million MPG.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Change that to the repressive, ultra-taxed gas prices in the EC"

        Which funds excellent road maintenance. You get what you pay for.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Johnny Lieberman, I have some euros that I'd like to sell to you.

      We need more information on what they're including in the cost of travel for those 62km. My 1993 honda civic can go 50 miles on $3 of gas, but maybe they're rolling electricity + maintenance cost together.

      Most electric cars are expected to cost between 1 and 2 cents per mile for the electricity.
      • 6 Years Ago
      When is the last time VW dumped something interesting and practical on this side of the pond? They have about ruined the Beetle. Too many gizmos, too high entry price point (up 3k since introduction), and craptacular MPG. They have a chance with the Polo or Golf TDI, but with the latter you are still not walking out of a dealer for less than 25K.

      Why do the Up's remind me of upside down wheel barrows?
      • 6 Years Ago
      2€ = 5$? Huh?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Price? "€2 per 100km" is worthless if the car costs $40K (ahem, Volt).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thats exactly what GM said.

        Then some BS artist came out with "Who Killed the Electric Car?"
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think it's amazing that someone can find a way to get a right wing political rant in to the comment section of EVERY post. You're not doing your party any favors, just making you look more and more like the crazy man screaming incoherently on the street corner and less relevant and useful. I feel bad for a lot of the legit conservatives who are getting overshadowed by these guys.

      As for the Article-
      Let VW bring a gas, diesel and electric variant and let the market speak for itself.

      As for yoddjdakhl;dsfreakshow.dsjg-
      I'm sorry that the whole world is crazy and you're the only sane one left. Go idle in your Expedition with your fingers in your ears singing until Rush/Hannity/Beck comes on and tells you what to think...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Europeans think they pay a lot for energy now...

      Enough with the electric golf carts. Sell them in Europe fine, but WE'RE NOT EUROPE.

      America was built on cheap energy and the ability of every man - regardless of race, greed, color, religion, blah, blah, blah, to buy a car and drive from here to where ever CHEAPLY.

      Its sick what has happened. The one thing everyone could at least do, fill up and go for a drive and get away from the crazy madness that is liberalism. Now a mother of two, working at burger king has to think hard if she really wants to drive and see her Mom or pay the electric bill.

      If that isn't bad enough, then the crazy libs wonder why so many people need government assistance!

      Cradle to grave, big brother will save you!

        • 6 Years Ago
        While your post is hardly coherent, implying that the U.S. Government, the 'crazy libs' in particular, are to blame for higher gas prices is idiocy. The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents/gallon, whether gas is 1.50 per gallon or 4.50. The 'crazy libs' are not making the price go up, the increasing demand, especially in developing countries, and decreasing supply are driving the price up. Every day, the cost of extracting oil rises, as the remaining oil is harder and harder to access. Supply and demand isn't a difficult concept to master, but someone as dimwitted as you doesn't seem to get it. While 'retard' is commonly thrown around as an insult, calling you retarded would be offensive to the mentally handicapped.
        If you don't know what you are talking about, go visit Glenn Beck's website. You will be welcomed with open arms there.
        • 6 Years Ago
        the perfect example for the traditional stupid non intelligent american.

        now you know why you work @ burger king.

        by the way it was the republicans that caused this mess, bush junior, senior and others.
        clinton turned the tie around and the united states was back on course.

        bush junior came and skyrocked it, even the grand childeren of your childeren want be beabled to pay this off.

        now poor Obama has to fix what junior destroyed and this will probaly repeat again.
        because reading comments here and there, no1 want to pay more tax.
        so they probaly vote republicans again.
        a typical 1 2 game, 1 2 and back.

        do you have health insurance?
        to me it doesn't sound like it, because if you need to think about the electric bill or a trip .....

        what are you going to do if one of your kids gets ill?
        now that what the increased tax is about, not all, but a part of it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They plan on having multiple cars and engines on this platform right? I think a 1.6l gas engine or TDI would get great economy and sell fairly well in the US below the Golf or Polo.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow, that little bugger - at least in some form - is seriously down for production. Take a look at the trim pieces in the rear hatch. That stuff isn't show car. That's production intent - various bits of cheap black plastic and genuine rubber seals that would fit no other vehicle.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes. Just like the other Up! Concepts. Believe the 2013, it'll be a year after nissans but I'd rather drive this than the leaf.
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