Volkswagen to unveil single-seat Nils electric concept in Frankfurt

Following in the footsteps of its luxury automotive subsidiary Audi, word has leaked about Volkswagen has unveiled its latest electric concept. Called the Nils, VW's electric single-seater will make its official world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, which kicks off in mid-September.

While Audi's electric Urban Concept featured seating for two, VeeDub's Nils is a driver-only ride. This allows for designers to make the Nils incredibly compact (less than 10-feet long) and its sturdy aluminum spaceframe makes for a finished vehicle that tips the scales at just a tad over 1,000 pounds. Think of the Nils as an evolution of the 1L concept VW showed us two years ago in Frankfurt. Despite its compact dimensions, VW claims the Nils meets current safety requirements.

Propulsion for the Nils comes from a compact electric motor that weighs in at 42 pounds and cranks out up to 33 horsepower. Given its diminutive size, the Nils needs only a 5.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which VW says can be recharged from empty in around two hours. That small pack means this concept doesn't have a Leaf-like range; the German automaker says the Nils has a total range of 40 miles and that its top speed is limited to 80 miles per hour. The 0-60 sprint whizzes by in approximately 11 seconds.

VW says the Nils was developed in conjunction with Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport and pitches the Nils as one possible solution for crowded urban environments. In VW's words, the Nils represents "minimalist mobility." Look for more details on the VW Nils as its on-stage debut in Frankfurt draws near.

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