Volkswagen announces its first electric production car – the e-up!
Volkswagen may be a bit late to the electric vehicle game, as far as major global manufacturers go, but it's making up for it quickly. Hot on the heels of the world premiere of its e-Co-Motion electric van concept and the revolutionary XL1 hybrid, the company is introducing its first electric production car – the e-up! – which made its debut at its Annual Press and Investors Conference. The electric up! is a city car that can travel up to 93 miles (150 km) per charge.
Volkswagen has been growing its line of up! city cars for the past several years. The four-seat e-up!, which debuted as a concept at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, brings a zero-local-emissions presence to the line, and according to Volkswagen, also a "nearly zero noise" presence.
The e-up! is powered by an 81-hp electric motor and 18.7 kWh lithium-ion battery. The motor puts out 155 lb-ft (210 Nm) of torque and sends the car rolling to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 14 seconds. Its top speed is 83 mph (135 km/h). The car doesn't receive the intensive weight savings of the XL1, but it does manage to keep light at 2,612 lbs. (1,185 kg).
In terms of charging, the e-up! will offer an optional Combined Charging System that will allow for charging from both AC and DC sources. Volkswagen has not detailed exactly how long charging will take.
The styling of the e-up! is simple, blending unassumingly with the rest of the up! family. A few changes include the smiley, curved LED daytime running lamps and aerodynamically optimized front-end, sills and underbody. The car rolls on 15-inch alloy wheels. Inside it features light grey seat covers with blue stitching and leather and chrome accents.
The e-up! will make its official auto show debut at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, and VW will begin taking orders shortly thereafter.
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Due to the high purchase price + small range + long charging time + dearth of power stations, 100% electric cars just don't make sense for individuals, while plug-in hybrids are a good interim solution until batteries improve significantly.
I travel about 15 miles to work; round trip. I don't use highways to get there. The only tricky part would be to get the apartment complex to get a power outlet near my car so it could be charged. With some apartments closer to parking spaces, it would be easier for some.
Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are a part of a sturdy future energy grid, they can partially solve the storage problem for renewable energy. I think it was the new Nissan Leaf I read about being able to feed power back to the grid if that is needed. If only industry could agree on the standards needed, or some governments actually made a framework. (remember GSM?).
There was an interesting article (NYT) pointing out how many people put down 10 grand for a good emergency power generator for hurricanes. What a wasted investment that is in the context of electric cars! A generator that runs once every year, if at all. And then funny, people complain that electric cars are 10000 bucks more expensive than gas cars, and then they go out and buy a 10k genset.
I'm not saying that's how it is for everyone, but there are already many cases just like that.
So many big cities in the world could learn what's happening in London and what has already happened in the Netherlands.
Commuting by bike is the way to go for short trips. London is looking at its neighbors in the Netherlands (-the- ideal model) on how to create good cycling infrastructure that's logical, safe and integrated. Cycling in London is equally fast or faster than by car or bus, but the infrastructure still needs some work. The good cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands have resulted in the lowest accidents among cyclists in the world, where the cyclists wear no helmet or reflective vests, because it's simply safe enough to do so!
History of the cycle paths in the Netherlands: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o
Tax benefits and incentives (Money taken from taxpayers to pay for the overpriced, underpreforming vehicle.) are the most annoying problem with the EVs. Electricity producers receive at least as much "subsidies" as big oil.
Research shows that range anxiety is unnecessary anxiety. A range of 150km is plenty for urban use.
Some people want one car for everything, but a lot of people have a small car for city use. They are the intended customer for the e-up, and it suits them. Does it look like an inter-urban or cross-country vehicle to you?
And the battery-pack life question is turning out to be unnecessary negativity, too. Look at the Prius; Toyota now say its battery lasts the life of the vehicle. So battery replacement cost is not a factor.
But other people do. And these vehicles can serve very practical purposes, especially as round-town commuters or errand vehicles. Reducing urban congestion and pollution are also worth the effort. But I don't expect these obvious advantages will carry much weight for anyone who thinks watching a film is research.