The next 18 months will see a number of plug-in vehicles enter the market from Volkswagen, as the company has promised for several years.

Today, first details of the Volkswagen e-Up minicar were released--with the car being shown at the company's Annual Press and Investors Conference, held at its Wolfsburg headquarters.

But for North American electric-car fans, it will be forbidden fruit.

The e-Up, a battery-electric adaptation of the Volkswagen Up minicar, will only be sold in Europe and perhaps a few other markets.

It won't come to the U.S. or Canada, more's the pity.

Instead, the company's all-electric entry here will be the VW e-Golf, an electric adaptation of the next-generation 2015 Volkswagen Golf compact hatchback.

While VW showed an e-Up Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, today's information included some final specifications for the version that will go into production this fall.

The Volkswagen e-Up is a four-seat minicar with a stated electric range of 93 miles (150 km) on the European test cycle.

(That range might translate to perhaps 75 miles or so on the EPA test cycle.)

The Volkswagen e-Up will accept the European version of the new Combined Charging System (CCS) quick-charging standard, which can recharge up to 80 percent of the battery capacity in just 30 minutes.

It also accepts conventional 230-Volt Level 2 charging. Its charging port is hidden behind the standard fuel door, meaning that to the uninitiated, the Volkswagen e-Up doesn't look much different than a conventional Up model.

Volkswagen e-up! live photos, 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

Volkswagen e-up! live photos, 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

The exterior changes are confined to LED running lights in the front bumper, aerodynamic tweaks to the front end, underbody, and door sills, and some cosmetics: VW emblems with blue backgrounds, an e-Up badge, and polished15-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, light grey seats have blue seam stitching, and there are chrome and leather accents added to the Up's cheerful but basic interior fittings.

The traction motor driving the e-Up's front wheels is rated at a peak power of 60 kilowatts (80 horsepower), and a continuous output of 40 kW (53 hp). Peak torque is a respectable 155 lb-ft (210 Nm).

Acceleration from 0 to 62 mph is quoted at 14 seconds or less--slow by U.S. standards--and the car weighs 2,610 pounds (1,185 kg), or about 550 pounds more than a gasoline Up two-door.

The Volkswagen e-Up will make its official world debut at this fall's Frankfurt Auto Show (as will the all-electric BMW i3), with ordering to open after that.


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