Volkswagen will unveil a new electric car concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 15, 2011

Volkswagen will debut a “pure concept” electric car at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show. This car isn’t based on any existing production car and it’s even possible that it won’t enter production. It has been given several styling cues that bring to mind the VW Beetle, making it seem approachable and familiar. But it should be clarified that this is not an electric Beetle.

Previously, VW has shown off an electric small car named E-Up as a concept car. One was brought to its stand at the Frankfurt show in 2009. The car that will be seen at the Detroit show car is a separate vehicle but it’s not yet clear what the differences with the E-Up are.

So far, the only pure battery-power electric cars offered by mainstream automakers in the U.S. are Nissan's Leaf and Mitsubishi's i. It’s believed that other automakers will eventually follow as they would have to meet the government fuel-economy standards. The VW electric is built in addition to a gas-electric hybrid version of the Jetta compact sedan.

VW also wants to show off the Jetta hybrid in Detroit too. VW said that the Jetta hybrid is intended to rival the Toyota Prius, which leads the U.S. hybrid market. Powering the Jetta hybrid is an electric motor mated to a 1.4-liter, turbocharged gasoline engine.

VW said that it won’t be powered by the European version of the 1.4 gas engine that comes with both a turbo and a supercharger.

The power of the Volkswagen E-Up! Concept is through the lithium-ion battery and given its capacity at 18 kWh, it allows driving distances for a maximum of 130 kilometers.

While the actual distance will largely depend on how it is being driven, it continues to be enough for those who drive in the city and even for a daily commute. For this E-Up! Concept, it will be possible to recharge it either at a parking structure or through the garage at home. In the future, it may even be possible to do this on the road along any municipal recharging stations through the use of a chip card.

Depending on what the current momentary charge state of the battery is or the present charging infrastructure, it would be possible to charge to around 80% of its full capacity in just one hour. One interesting thing though is that despite the battery weighing 240 kilograms, the overall weight of the car remains low with kerb weight at 1,085 kilograms.

Using the lithium-ion battery, the electric motor gets maximum output at 60 kW, which allows a top speed of 135 km/h. Continuous power though is at 40 kW. Since this 3+1 seater follows a front-wheel drive set-up, the motor being mounted on the front allow peak torque at 210 Nm. This amount of torque plus the low weight ensures its dynamic performance.

Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is possible in merely 11.3 seconds with standstill to 50 km/h acceleration in 3.5 seconds. This is more than proof of the driving enjoyment that it offers.

Meanwhile the gear, which allows for forward or reverse, can be activated using the rotary knob that is placed in the center console. In terms of style, the Volkswagen E-Up! Concept is just as excellent as its body shows that strong lines that are clearly drawn and sticks to the DNA design of the brand which display excellence and its possible potential.

This is because the goals set for this ultra-compact vehicle was not exhibit retro but instead shape new paths. As such, it has an appealing quality in addition to being dynamic, timeless, and independent of its segment.

Meanwhile the interior is just as impressive considering how it manages to utilize space. The Volkswagen E-Up! Concept has zero emissions was designed with Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg in the lead. Dr. Hackenberg is Volkswagen Brand’sMember of the Board of Management as well as the Head of the Development business area.

Though the Volkswagen E-Up! Concept was created using the New Small Family modules from 2011, having a length measured at 3.19 meters means that it is more compact than ever. As mentioned earlier, it follows a 3+1 seating concept.

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