While it’s the sportier concepts that tend to get the lion’s share of attention at auto shows, there are usually some less sexy, yet still worthy, concepts on display. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle’s e-Co-Motion concept vehicle, which is making its world debut at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, is one such beast. Designed as a zero-emission delivery van for transporting goods around a city, the e-Co-Motion concept is an exclusively electric-powered vehicle that would boast a range of up to 200 km (124 miles).
Powered by a compact drive unit with a continuous power output of 50 kW (68 hp) and maximum power of 85 kW (115 hp), the vehicle boasts maximum torque of 270 Nm, which Volkswagen says provides responsive acceleration even when the van is packed with a heavy load. While designed for ferrying goods around town, the vehicle’s electronics don’t limit its top speed until it hits 120 km/h (75 mph), allowing it to take city motorways and short intercity routes when required.
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To suit the different driving range requirements of different drivers, the e-Co-Motion features a three-stage modular battery concept. For driving ranges of around 100 km (62 miles), a 20 kWh battery could be installed, stepping up to a 30 kWh battery for a driving range of 150 km (93 miles), and maxing out with a 40 kWh battery for the top driving range of 200 km (124 miles). The battery box, with crossmembers and rib structure, has also been designed to serve as a load-bearing body element to help reduce the vehicle’s weight.
To improve maneuverability on tight city streets, Volkswagen has mounted the electric drive unit and single-speed planetary gearbox to the rear axle. This allows the vehicle’s front axle to achieve large wheel turning angles and results in a turning circle of 8.95 m (29.3 ft), which the company says is the best in its class. For easy loading, the van also boasts a low cargo floor height.
The vehicle boasts an elevated seat position to improve visibility and keeps the controls to a minimum to make it easier to step through via the passenger side door – there’s no conventional handbrake lever and the selector lever has been ditched in favor of a rotary gear selector switch. The passenger seat can also folded down to make it easier to step through. The center console is modular and moveable, with computer, storage compartment, drink holders and 12 V and 230 V accessory outlets.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles hasn’t given any indication on whether the e-Co-Motion will make the jump from concept to production vehicle, but one of the goals of the project was to develop a uniform platform that could be implemented as the basis for as many derivatives as possible. So even if it doesn't make the jump in its current form, we may well see something similar in the future.
Source: Volkswagen Commercial VehiclesView gallery - 8 images