IAA 2011: Volkswagen's Single-Seater NILS EV Concept


The Frankfurt Motor Show is abuzz this week with a variety of small pure electric concept cars. Volkswagen's contribution to the segment is a single-seater urban study named NILS, which the company claims has been "very realistically conceptualized".

"[The] NILS is a vehicle that anticipates the future. It looks as though someone has projected it back from the year 2030 to the world of today," says Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the Board of Management and Head of Development for the Volkswagen Brand.

Volkswagen says the reason why it opted for a single seat layout is that according to studies, most commuters travel alone in their car. In Germany for example, VW says 90 percent of city driving is done without passengers.

This study, which features an aluminium space-frame body, wing doors and free-standing 17-inch wheels, is quite compact measuring only 3,040mm long or about 500mm shorter than the new Up! city car. The width of the NILS, from wheel to wheel, is 1,390mm while the body itself measures just 860mm wide. The concept is 1,200mm tall and it tips the scales at just 460 kg (1,014 pounds).

A small electric motor delivering 20HP (15 kW) nominal power and short-term peak power of 33HP (25 kW) drives the rear wheels, while energy is sourced from a 5.3 kWh lithium-ion battery that offers a driving range of up to 65 kilometers (40 miles).

The battery can be charged either through a conventional 230 Volt electrical outlet (maximum charging time 2 hours) or at an electric vehicle charging station.


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