Volkswagen E-Up Concept: official details revealed

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 25, 2010

This is Volkswagen'd E-Up! It is designed to offer a zero-emissions alternative for people who only drive short distances. Set for launch at the end of 2010, the E-Up is VW's first entry into the electric market. The model has 18kW batteries that can be charged in five hours, giving a range of 80 miles. The E-Up will be shown alongside electric and diesel versions of the Up city car.

A specially designed crash structure will be protecting the batteries, which will be kept cool by a series of heat exchangers. Since the electric system is compact, there'd extra room for passengers. The E-Up weighs only 1085kg including battery weight of 240kg. Solar panels measuring 1.4 square meters help to back up the batteries.

The Up may be shorter than a Fiat 500, but it has the same wheelbase, with minimal front and rear overhangs. The car has a three-plus-one seating arrangement, allowing two adults to sit on the passenger's side and a child to sit behind the driver.

The total load space is 80 liters, rising to 320 liters when the seats are folded. VW Group boss Martin Winterkorn said that in the coming years, cars like the E-Up would replace those with pure petrol and diesel engines.

Volkswagen revealed that the Volkswagen E-Up! Concept will not only be exhibiting its emission-free feature but is also expected to emotionally connect with its customers.

This particular concept was created by the team headed by Group Chief Designer Walter de Silva with Volkswagen Brand Chief Designer Klaus Bischoff and Volkswagen Group Head of Creative Design Flavio Manzoni. The team made sure that the main design of this concept hinges on showing the visual bandwidth when it comes to the future New Small Family.

This Volkswagen E-Up! Concept has a lot of similarities with its previous concept vehicles like its city specialist the “Up!”, its fuel cell powered van the “Space-Up Blue!”, and the microvan “Space-Up!”. What makes this new concept different is that it better reflects what production cars of the future will look like.

Bischoff shares that it is no coincidence that while the VW E-Up! has a reduced design, it provides an emotional connection. Team leader de Silva, as well as Bischoff and Manzoni, developed the brand’s new "design DNA" and they made sure that the lines on this new concept follow it to the letter.

The VW E-Up! has some significant characteristics that include durability, purity, simplicity, and perfection both in quality and technology. Bischoff adds that this new concept shares many features with the New Small Family like the Roadster BlueSport and even the Polo.

Volkswagen E-Up! Concept is 3.19 meters long and 1.64 meters wide. It has a height of 1.47 meters with a wheelbase of 2.19 meters. While the style of this new concept was based on the Up!, it still has some differences.

Take the front part for example. Though it displays the new family face of the brand, the hood pays tribute to the iconic look of the Beetle. However, the overall style of the VW E-Up! Concept does not carry any trace of a retro style as the team made sure that its design would exhibit what the future of the Volkswagen is.

Enhancing the front end are headlights that extend across the whole width of the lens covers. Its lenses have a facet-like appearance like that of a diamond. The fog lights are another improvement. They are placed in the housing of the headlights and have a C-shape look with its chrome-trimmed elements.

As such, they don’t appear to be fog lights at all. Unique to the New Small Family, the bumper carries a black line that follows a circular pattern. Bischoff explains that the way the engine bonnet, bumper, and headlights are arranged makes it appear as if the concept car is smiling.

Bischoff adds that it is what the team expects it to be. Furthermore, since the front end does not have any openings, the drive unit does need to have any separate cooling. The VW logo is already a trademark of the brand’s many models.

However for the Volkswagen E-Up! Concept, its V-shaped hood is more than a tribute to the Beetle. Underneath the folding logo is a port that can be used to charge the batteries. This position makes it easy to recharge the concept car from either sides or even from the front.

The side profile meanwhile stays true to the "design DNA" of the brand. Manzoni shares that the design of the side is based on Bauhaus’ principle of “less is more.” With just a few graphic elements, its visual identity exhibits the approach of Bauhaus when it comes to innovative technology and creativity.

Other defining components of the side include the side glass plus the tornado line which is the shoulder styling line that is placed above its door handles. Further defining the side profile are its short body overhangs and C-pillar with the outward shape of its wheel housings.

According to Manzoni, there is a good reason for the C-pillar. Manzoni explains that since the C-pillar has been placed on the rear wheel, it gives it a feeling of both solidity and balance. These different elements are essential to the Volkswagen and with the wheel styling gives it the necessary “demeanour,” Manzoni adds.

Going to its rear end, the rear bumper and tailgate exhibit basic graphic forms based on the original Up! However while the tailgate is still entirely glazed, it now has larger taillights that come with a dark smoked glass appearance.

A chrome-trimmed line goes from the taillights all through the tailgate which then unites the two taillights vertically. These same highlights are also seen on the bumpers of the front and rear. The roof of the Volkswagen E-Up! Concept is also distinctive.

It contains solar cells spread over from the roof edge spoiler of its rear portion to the front windscreen, which is about 1.4 square meters. This area can be increased to 1.7 square meters by simply folding the sun visors which also have solar cells.

Since it is located on the roof, it is able to continue supplying the electrical system with energy. However when the car is parked, it also helps to keep the interior cool by providing energy to its ventilation system.

Press Release

2009 Volkswagen E-Up Concept

In its styling, the powerful and clearly drawn lines of the Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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. 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.

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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept, 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept that reflects the visual bandwidth of the future New Small Family. The Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 VW 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept are 3.19 meters (length) x 1.64 meters (width) x 1.47 meters (height). Its wheelbase is 2.19 meters.

Front end: Although Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 VW 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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 Volkswagen E-Up! Concept 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.

Topics: vw, vw up, concept, city car

If you liked the article, share on:


Login or Create new account to add a comment!


Most of you may have heard or already have one of those autonomous home appliances doing the house chores. Thus, it’s not anymore unusual to see a car going places...
by - October 20, 2016
Mini has just provided the world with a preview of its first hybrid model that employs petrol-electric power to propel its wheels. Derived from the second generation of the Mini...
by - October 20, 2016
For the second time in three years, German driver Marco Wittmann of BMW Team RMG reached the summit in the DTM Drivers’ Championship. Even though Wittmann only secured a fourth...
by - October 20, 2016
The recent motor show has given us a lot of promising vehicles to look forward to for the time being. After we caught a glimpse of the future of motoring,...
by - October 19, 2016
Almost immediately after its launch, car designers have rendered their own adaptations of the new BMW 5-Series (G30). It’s just how it goes. Most folks with very creative minds couldn’t...
by - October 19, 2016