Volkswagen preps new commuter concept for Frankfurt launch
Friday 02 September 2011
Volkswagen has unveiled a new commuter vehicle developed with aid from the German government.
The new concept, which will go on show at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month, was constructed with the aim of creating a "technically realistic and economically feasible" commuter vehicle which could change the way we travel to work.
NILS - as the concept is named - is a single-seat electric vehicle with a range of 65 kilometers and a top speed of 130 km/h, attributes which are designed around the typical characteristics of German commuters with support from the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development.
According to German government figures, nearly three quarters of commuters in Berlin and Munich cover under 25 kilometers on their current daily commute, and 90 percent of them do so alone.
Instead of trying to encourage sharing, therefore, Volkswagen has adopted the opposite approach, shrinking the vehicle to just 3 meters long and 0.39 meters wide, with the same layout as a Formula 1 car - driver in the middle, engine in the back, and freestanding wheels protruding from the vehicle's edge.
Two gullwing doors make the vehicle easy to enter and exit in small parking spaces, and while there may not be room for any other passengers, there is a small trunk space.
Like Volkswagen's new up! car, a production model to be unveiled at Frankfurt to compete with the Ford Ka and Smart Fortwo, NILS uses a detachable portable infotainment device, which acts as an on-board computer.
The concept will be fully unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which runs September 15-25.
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