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Volkswagen Nils Concept: Frankfurt Preview

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On: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 3:11PM | By: Chris Weiss


Volkswagen Nils Concept: Frankfurt Preview

It looks like the VW group is going to have two levels of ultra-compact, urban-maneuvering EVs on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show. We've already seen a bunch of the Audi Urban Concept, and now Volkswagen's revealed a concept of its own: it's called Nils.

Clearly developed in conjunction with the Audi model, the VW Nils features similar elements like the narrow, freestanding wheels. Unlike the Audi, though, the Volkswagen gets even smaller by eliminating the passenger—the Nils is a personal pod designed for a party of one. It also trades the unique slide-back door-roof for a pair of gullwings.

Built atop an aluminum spaceframe, the Nils weighs a mere 1,000 pounds and is powered by a small motor and 5.3 kWh battery pack. Volkswagen calls it a demonstration of "minimalist mobility." The engine pushes the car a total of up to 40 miles and speeds up to 80 mph, so it could foreseeably do some brief stints on the highway, though that's clearly not what it's aimed at. It takes two hours to recharge the battery.

VW worked with the German Federal Ministry of Transport on the design as a potential solution to commuting in dense urban areas.

I have to wonder how much of a market there really is for pod-cars like this. It carries only a single person, doesn't drive very far, and seems kind of scary from a safety perspective: Why not just drive an electric scooter around?


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