It’s almost getting boring to nominate your car of the show as an eco-concept, but the truth is that’s where most of the originality and innovation is at the moment.
And so it was at this year’s LA show. Just for sheer visual flair I was tempted to nominate Honda’s three-seater P-NUT but I’m going to be a bit more sensible by going for the VW Up! Lite show car.
This looked terrific in the metal and has an interior that looks suspiciously like a production car's - and, save a few tweaks for passenger crash protection, it is, apparently.
But it’s the technical side of things that really swings it: a two cylinder diesel hybrid, with a DSG that’s capable of three figure speeds and three figure mpgs - incredible. The fact that it weighs less than 700kgs and emits just 65g/km gives us all hope that car makers are now accelerating incredibly quickly to putting these things into production.
VW’s R&D guru, Ulrich Hackenburg, also told us about ‘scaling up’ this technology using bigger engines and bigger electric motors for a hybrid Golf or Passat. But will the Lite make the cut? The VW top brass that I spoke to were being pretty enigmatic on the subject.
The raw facts are that the standard Up! (likely to be called Lupo) will go on sale in 2011 and that VW wants to make lots of derivatives of it. My guess it that it will go on sale - and look pretty close to this concept. It won’t, of course, have quite so much carbonfibre and so won’t be quite as light.
But you can tell that VW is proud of it and want to make it - and so it should.