Volkswagen electric carEnlarge Photo
We’re just a few weeks away from the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, and already know about some of the electric and plug-in cars that are due to be unveiled there.
But a report from The Financial Times hints that Volkswagen could be preparing an as-yet undheard of single-seat urban electric car to unveil alongside its fuel-sipping minicar -- the Volkswagen Up.
“It’s a new kind of mobility - a new vehicle concept,” Volkswagen head of research Jürgen Leohold told The Financial Times. “Also, it’s physics. If you limit a car to one person, you can make it smaller, less weight, you need less energy to transport the person and then obviously... it can be better on CO2 and fuel efficiency”.
Volkswagen’s fuel efficiency figures and CO2 emissions for the concept will include any emissions produced in generating the electricity used to power the car. Naturally, these figures would change depending on the power mix in the area where the concept was being used.
Volkswagen has declined to give any more details about the concept car, its performance or its range per charge, only hinting that most consumers would not want to drive a small city car on an extended drive.
This firmly places the concept in the same category as the e-tron urban concept car, produced by Volkswagen's sister brand Audi.
Volkswagen XL1 ConceptEnlarge Photo
Also due to be unveiled in Frankfurt -- although we’ve seen plenty of it already -- Audi’s vision of all-electric urban transport features seating for two, race-car looks and comes in spyder or hard-top configurations.
It's highly likely Volkswagen's concept will share a similar platform to the e-tron urban concept, sharing chassis, motor and battery packs.
Although Volkswagen won’t have an all-electric car available until at least 2013 it is no stranger to electric cars, building limited-run electric cars based on since the early 1980s.
Earlier this year, Volkswagen confirmed that its dramatic XL1 plug-in hybrid -- which it claims is capable of a massive 261 miles per gallon -- would enter limited-run production in 2013.
We’d expect the concept -- which a Volkswagen representative strongly hinted but did not confirm would be present at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show -- to woo the crowds in Frankfurt, but we’re not yet convinced a single-seat city car has a particularly large market share.
Given the number of less radical two-seat electric cars already struggling to find buyers, we don’t think you’ll see anything like this on the roads any time soon.
Look out for more coverage of this potential Volkswagen Single-Seat Urban Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show next month. You can bookmark our full coverage to stay up to date with the very latest from Frankfurt.
[The Financial Times (subscription required)]