VW E-Up!: All-Electric "Beetle of the 21st Century" Concept Previews 2013 Production Model

As a world premiere, VW is presenting the fourth consecutive concept model of the Up! family at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. This time, the Germans opted for a three-door version powered by an 80Hp electric motor that drives the front wheels. Bypassing VW's overly ambitious claims for the "Beetle of the 21st Century", what makes the E-Up! important is that the Germans plan to put a similar version into production two years after the launch of the conventional members of the Up! family in 2011.

Measuring 3.19 meters in length, 1.64 meters in width and 1.47 meters in height with a wheelbase of 2.19 meters, E-Up! concept is smaller than a Fiat 500. However, VW's designers managed to squeeze in 3+1 seats which means the front passenger seat is positioned 50 mm forward, thanks to the instruments being pushed further up front.

The mini's rear seat backrest is split 40/60. With the backrest on the driver's side folded down (that's the 40 percent section), stowage capacity is increased from 85 to 180 liters while with both seats down, capacity grows to 320 liters.

The E-Up! is motivated by an electric motor that can deliver a peak output of 60kW / 80Hp and a constant 40kW / 53Hp, along with a maximum torque of 210Nm (154 lb-ft). VW says that the E-Up! can hit 50km/h (31mph) from standstill in 3.5 seconds and 100km/h (62mph) in 11.3 seconds while the mini's top speed is 135km/h (84mph).

Energy is provided by a lithium-ion battery pack with a capacity of 18kWh that weighs in at 240 kg (530 lbs). The car's total weight including the batteries is 1,085 kg (2,392 lbs).

Volkswagen reckons that a full recharge of the batteries at a 230V household plug would take a maximum of five hours while at a charging station, an 80 percent charge could be achieved within an hour.

The E-Up! is also equipped with solar cells on the roof that not only supply energy to the car's electrical system, but furthermore help to cool the interior when the vehicle is parked by supplying energy to the ventilation system.