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.