Volkswagen introduces NILS concept before Frankfurt
Volkswagen's cars are largely rather sensible these days, but the latest concept the company plans to show off at the Frankfurt motor show reveals there is plenty of creativity at the brand.
The concept, called NILS, is intended to show off the company's vision for personal urban mobility and is said to be a very realistic prospect for the future rather than just being a model designed to entertain the Frankfurt crowds. However, expect to wait a couple of decades rather than years.
The design is based around an F1-style layout, with the single seat set in the middle of the car. The thinking being that VW reckons more than 90 percent of German commuters travel to work alone so won't need a second seat.
The 40 mile range is also based on the needs of the German worker, with VW quoting German Bureau of Statistics figures that say 73.9 percent of commuters between Berlin and Munich travel less than 15.5 miles on their way to work.
The electric motor that powers it also provides a top speed of 81mph and a 0-62mph time of less than 11 seconds, helped by the fact that it weighs just 460kg.
Because of NILS' small size, the battery needed is also only small at 5.3kWh. It takes just two hours to charge from an ordinary 230-volt outlet with the charge point being on the back of the car, under the lights.
The light weight means NILS does without power steering, although it comes with several advanced technological features, such as radar sensors to mitigate a crash, a touchscreen infotainment system and heated seats.
Volkswagen says that, despite its size (it is just 3.04m long, 50 cm shorter than the new Up city car) it has been designed with a secure aluminium space frame shell that should keep occupants safe in a crash.
VW's sister firm, Audi, will have a similarly small Urban Concept on its Frankfurt stand, but the company says the two were developed separately.