Volkswagen's Vision? Electric Commuter Car...For One
Volkswagen photos of the L1concept car - the EV version is likely to be similar.
A variety of one-seater cars have rolled into the market over the decades, and pretty much rolled right out again. Volkswager has been showing one-seater concepts for nearly a decade, and will now debut an all-electric, "zero emissions" one-seater on September 8.
"If you limit a car to one person, you can make it smaller with less weight. You need less energy to transport the person, and then ... it can be better on CO2 and fuel efficiency." - Jurgen Leohold, head of Volkswagen research, to ReutersOf course the zillion dollar question is whether Volkswagen will actually take this EV concept car into production, and additionally how will they get this electric vehicle to be truly emissions free?
As to the first question, only Volkswagen knows.
As the the second, the company told Reuters that it was planning to build two hydropower plants in Brazil, and is creating a service package to provide renewable sources of electricity for all the electric vehicles the company is planning to offer. This latest one-seater is designed to be a commuter vehicle, though details on range and top speed have not yet been revealed.
The four-seater Up! car, which was a prototype back in 2007, is now on its way to production and sales, at least in Europe. It will first debut with a three-cylinder gas internal combustion engine, with an electric version to follow, the company said. There's also an electric version of the Golf planned for 2013.
The Up! will feature what is called City Emergency Braking - a laser that senses collisions at speeds less than 30km/h and automatically applies the brakes - similar to Volvo's technology.
While on the one hand, a one-seater car seems impractical and little more than an electric scooter or motorcycle with rain cover, a look out at any crowded highway reveals that there are a lot of single occupancy non-EVs out there. Perhaps a one-seater EV for those that can't commute by even greener methods is a step in the right direction?
Read more on EV one-seaters, scooters and motorcycles:
Badass Electric Motorcycle Gets 185 Miles on a Charge
7 Electric Motorcycles You Must See (including 1 that does 0-60 MPH in 0.97 seconds)
The Seven Best Electric Scooters - From Prototype to Production Models
Most Fuel-Efficient Diesel Hybrid in the World: VW Shows New Version of 1-Liter Concept Car (170 MPG)
Volkswagen to Make Limited Edition of 1-Liter Car (282 MPG!) in 2010