VW Nils Is Single-Seat EV for Urban Commuters

2011 Frankfurt Auto Show


  • Volkswagen Nils Picture

    Volkswagen Nils Picture

    Volkswagen describes its battery-powered Nils concept as "a new form of minimalist mobility." | September 06, 2011

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2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • Volkswagen describes its battery-powered Nils concept as "a new form of minimalist mobility."
  • The Nils features an aluminum space frame, wing doors and free-standing wheels.
  • The Nils project is backed by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development.

FRANKFURT, Germany — Volkswagen has coined a new term — micromobility — and developed a new electric vehicle concept, backed by the German government, called Nils, a zippy single-seater which the automaker describes as "a new form of minimalist mobility." The Nils concept will officially debut this month at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

VW development boss Ulrich Hackenberg said, "Nils anticipates the future. The goal of the Nils project is to research a technically concrete and economically feasible vehicle concept for micromobility which restructures individual transportation to make it more efficient and environmentally compatible based on electric drive technology."

It's a pretty exotic concept for a tiny one-passenger EV.

The Nils has an aluminum space frame, aluminum body panels with polycarbonate wing doors and free-standing wheels. It boasts "the dynamic performance of a sports car," according to VW. The car's top speed is 80 mph, and its range is about 40 miles. Acceleration from zero to 60 takes less than 11.0 seconds.

The project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. VW says the Nils would be "the ideal vehicle for the majority of commuters in Germany," many of whom travel 15 miles or less to work and often travel alone.

The Nils measures only 120 inches long — 20 inches shorter than the Volkswagen Up! compact — and stands 47 inches tall. It weighs a mere 1,015 pounds. The car rides on 17-inch wheels and low-rolling-resistance tires.

The 25kW electric motor, which produces 96 pound-feet of torque, is mounted behind the driver and drives the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission. The 5.3kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged from standard household current in about two hours.

The Nils features automatic distance control with brake intervention, as well as collision warning and electronic stability control.

The cockpit is fitted with a 7-inch TFT display that houses a digital instrument cluster, as well as a portable infotainment device, similar to the one used in the VW Up, which controls navigation, radio, phone and Internet.

Edmunds.com says: An interesting vision of the future, to say the least.

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