2014 Volkswagen e-Up!

VW is launching the next Up! concept, the E-Up!, a fully electric car which should be perfectly suited to city driving. It has lithium-ion batteries stored in the floor, and an electric motor with a peak power of around 80 hp. Continuous output is 55 hp, enough to propel the E-Up! from 0 to 62 mph in an acceptable 11.3 seconds, although top speed is an entirely unimpressive 84 mph (which we believe to be governed).

2014 Volkswagen e-Up!

2014 Volkswagen e-Up!

VW hasn’t disclosed the weight of the E-Up!, but the maximum range is a mere 81 miles. Figure 60 miles as a more realistic figure. Recharging from your household electrical outlet takes as long as five hours. It can be done at night, but if you think like us and get annoyed waiting for that gas tank to be filled up in a dull five minutes, prepare for a real test of your patience. The E-Up! is only for you if you have access to parking with an electrical outlet. Sounds easy, but good luck finding it in a European city at night, unless you have your own garage space for what will likely be a politically correct, second or third car-as-accessory.

2014 Volkswagen e-Up!

2014 Volkswagen e-Up!

That said, we find the E-Up! interesting not only for its save-the-earth powertrain, but also for hinting at what will become a family of cars with far more mainstream appeal. This is a small car; the E-Up! is just 125.6 inches long, 64.6 inches wide, and it stands 57.9 inches tall. Seating is arranged in a 3+1 configuration, similar to that of the Toyota iQ.

2014 Volkswagen e-Up! charge

2014 Volkswagen e-Up!

The exterior carries over the basic idea of the first Up! concept, although the side-window treatment and the proportions have become significantly more conventional. The front end evokes memories of the Beetle, says VW, apparently forgetting that it makes an entire car that evokes memories of the Beetle.

2014 Volkswagen e-Up! rear view

2014 Volkswagen e-Up!

Inside, the look is frugal, but that’s appropriate for an entry-level, compact, and lightweight car (we figure that versions with the internal combustion engine will indeed be far lighter than the current Polo, the next model up the size ladder). A touch-screen system forms the basis for much of the interaction between car and driver.

2014 Volkswagen e-Up! interior - dash

2014 Volkswagen e-Up! interior – dash

One of the few really cool things about electric cars is the eerily silent acceleration. So when VW development chief Ulrich Hackenberg showed a simulation of a traditional engine sound for the E-Up! at the launch of the concept prior to the Frankfurt auto show, it struck us as somewhat counterintuitive.

2014 Volkswagen e-Up! under hood - engine

2014 Volkswagen e-Up! under hood

In any event, we can live with the Up!’s looks, we like its reasonable size, and we hope it signals the beginning of a significant reduction in the weight of vehicles but please give us a turbocharged gasoline version, just for the sake of comparison. And while you are at it, keep the unsightly greenish yellow to yourselves. 2014 VW e-UP starting price of €26,900 in Germany ($34,496/£23188 at current exchange rates)…

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