Could the fly-weight, two-seat electric city car be about to happen? Audi's Urban Concept, VW's Nils and Opel's RAK e all suggest that the idea is gathering momentum, as does Peugeot's recent EX1 concept.
Audi says that it's elegantly insect-like wheeled fuselage is only a long-range study, Peugeot's – which until recently held the electric lap record around the 'Ring – is an EV performance demonstrator and VW, though it has long been toying w
th cars like this, is still saying it’s only an idea.
But Opel, which has engineered its sleekly canopied tandem two-seater to be affordable to build (though it needs to reduce costs further, says boss Nick Reilly) and is investigating ways to make the car, which it feels will make a fine comple
ent to the Ampera. Read our update on Vauxhall-Opel's RAK e plans here.
Though offering a relatively limited range that pretty much limits them to the city
the appeal of these urban-use machines lies not only in their radical looks but also in their potential price.
Their low weight (the Opel is 380kg, the VW 460kg) and reduced range allows for a much smaller and cheaper battery pack, GM's N
ck Reilly suggesting a price of £8-9000 for a production version of the RAK e.
At that level, it's much easier to justify as a short-trip commuter car than the three-times more expensive Nissan Leaf.