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E-Up: The Electric People's Car

With an electric driving range of 100km (62 mi), Volkswagen is calling it the Beetle of the 21st century.

Published: 16-Sep-2009

It’s a far cry from a $100,000 Tesla, but a new electric car concept from Volkswagen has people charged up.

The diminutive E-Up! is just 125.6-inches long – a Mini Cooper is 20 inches longer – and isn’t going to haul four kids to soccer practice. And its 11.3 second 0-60 time won’t win any drag races. Any in-seat DVD screens, heated leather seats, and drowsiness-sensing lane-departure warning systems? Nope. But none of that gets to the point. If all goes as planned, by 2013, E-Up! will be a mass-produced all-electric car from a major automaker, accessible to the average person. Volkswagen is even calling it the Beetle of the 21st century.

Introduced Tuesday ahead of the press preview day at Frankfurt’s International Auto Show, the E-Up! has a 500-lbs lithium-ion battery pack stored in the floor. Supplementing that is a 15-square-foot roof-mounted solar array, as well as another three square feet of solar cells mounted on the back of the vehicle’s sun visors. All told, Volkswagen says the big coppertop packs enough juice for about a 62-mile range between five-hour charges.

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