Volkswagen is poised to sign off an 80mph, battery-powered version of its new city car. Called e-Up, it has a range of over 90 miles in temperate conditions and should appear in UK showrooms within a year.
Its development is virtually complete and production prototypes are currently undergoing specially devised electric car safety and crash tests, including an evil-sounding nail penetration test.
In place of the normal models’ three-cylinder petrol engine, the e-Up has an 80bhp electric motor directly geared to the front wheels. It develops 148lb ft of torque from standstill, which makes performance below 50mph extremely brisk. Its 0-62mph acceleration is said to be “below 14sec” and the car is electronically limited at 80mph. A full recharge takes around eight hours using household equipment, but the car also has an industry-standard fast-charging socket.
The e-Up’s power is provided by an 18.7kWh lithium ion battery bank that weighs around 250kg. It is located longitudinally below the cabin floor and is designed to still be delivering 80 per cent of its original power after a 10-year life. The e-Up weighs around 200kg more than the standard models, but its interior and boot space are identical.
VW bosses “see no reason” why the electric version of the Volkswagen Up should not come to the UK as early as it hits Germany, but they would not be drawn on pricing or whether owners will be asked, Renault style, to lease their batteries.
Setting the price is “extremely political”, one insider told Autocar. The company does not want any Up version to be expensive but, at the same time, is reluctant to produce a loss-maker.