First Look: Volkswagen E-Up! Concept

Volkswagen’s string of Up! city cars continues to grow at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show with the electric-powered E-Up! With the concept’s debut, Volkswagen has said it will deliver a zero-emissions Up! to the market by 2013.

The electric drivetrain in the E-Up! is composed of an 18-kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor capable of outputting 60 kW (80 hp). A full charge should deliver a range of approximately 80 miles and top speed is about 84 mph. Charging time on a household 220-volt line is expected to take less than five hours.

The car’s roof and interior sun visors are covered with solar panels that supply the car with electricity and power the ventilation system when the E-Up! is parked. Equipping the car with manual windows and mirror adjustments conserves electricity. Volkswagen also describes integrating the E-Up!’s computer with mobile phones, so an owner can control when the car charges, check the state of the battery, and heat or cool the car before a trip.

To complement the E-Up! (and compensate for its limited range), Volkswagen has also developed a barrage of personal electric devices for short-distance travel. The lineup includes the Kickstep and Microbully scooters, the Ped-tric folding bike, and the VM_1M moped. All of the concepts are designed to fit inside the E-Up! to be used once the car has been parked in an urban area.

The E-Up! is the fourth concept in Volkswagen’s city car lineup, following the Up! hatchback, Space-Up! microvan, and Space-Up Blue! fuel cell vehicle. The first production car based on the series — known as the New Small Family — is due in 2011.