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.