MEET the Beetle for the 21st Century the all-electric Volkswagen E-Up!
- October 11, 2009
Will there even be much market for such a vehicle here in t he US? --Ed.
The compact three-door, which uses a unique 3+1 seat layout, has been earmarked by VW as the core inspiration for one of the most important cars in its future line-up, a city car which the company hopes could become as universally popular as the classic "people's car".
VW plans to go against the current trend of resurrecting old marques with retro designs like the Mini and Fiat 500 by creating a "new" Beetle-inspired car that echoes the original's charm but doesn't wholeheartedly look to the past.
E-Up! is giving a big indication of where VW thinks things are heading, thanks, among other reasons, to an engine bonnet which "refers back to one of the greatest icons in automotive history".
Whatever the case, it's certainly cute, but more importantly the strategy behind the E-Up! is giving a big indication of where VW things are heading.
In stark contrast to GM and Nissan, which are both planning to release extended-range electric vehicles in the next two years (the Holden Volt and the Nissan Leaf respectively), VW is being much more conservative.
The E-Up! for example, is one of a range of electric vehicles (EVs) Volkswagen is planning under its New Small Family moniker and features technology which enables it to go 130km on one charge and "re-fuel" 80% of its battery in less than an hour.
If it were available today, to plug into a socket in the garage, VW estimates it would cost just $5.22 (two Euros) to go 100km.
And that's based on European energy prices, which can be higher than New Zealand's.
Despite this, VW is in no rush to bring it to market, with chairman of the board Professor Dr Martin Winterkorn recently indicating that... [Read More]