Volkswagen announces its first electric production car – the e-up!


March 14, 2013

The e-up! is powered by an 81-hp electric motor

The e-up! is powered by an 81-hp electric motor

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Volkswagen may be a bit late to the electric vehicle game, as far as major global manufacturers go, but it's making up for it quickly. Hot on the heels of the world premiere of its e-Co-Motion electric van concept and the revolutionary XL1 hybrid, the company is introducing its first electric production car – the e-up! – which made its debut at its Annual Press and Investors Conference. The electric up! is a city car that can travel up to 93 miles (150 km) per charge.

Volkswagen has been growing its line of up! city cars for the past several years. The four-seat e-up!, which debuted as a concept at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, brings a zero-local-emissions presence to the line, and according to Volkswagen, also a "nearly zero noise" presence.

The e-up! is powered by an 81-hp electric motor and 18.7 kWh lithium-ion battery. The motor puts out 155 lb-ft (210 Nm) of torque and sends the car rolling to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 14 seconds. Its top speed is 83 mph (135 km/h). The car doesn't receive the intensive weight savings of the XL1, but it does manage to keep light at 2,612 lbs. (1,185 kg).

In terms of charging, the e-up! will offer an optional Combined Charging System that will allow for charging from both AC and DC sources. Volkswagen has not detailed exactly how long charging will take.

The styling of the e-up! is simple, blending unassumingly with the rest of the up! family. A few changes include the smiley, curved LED daytime running lamps and aerodynamically optimized front-end, sills and underbody. The car rolls on 15-inch alloy wheels. Inside it features light grey seat covers with blue stitching and leather and chrome accents.

The e-up! will make its official auto show debut at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, and VW will begin taking orders shortly thereafter.

Source: Volkswagen

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

What is its range at highway speeds say 105kph? How much range will a single short ramp high speed merge cost? How soon will it be necessary to replace the battery pack and how much will it cost? How much more will it cost than an identical room and performance TDE (or ICE in general) powered car. If I wanted to drive from Denver Colorado to Grand Junction Colorado a distance of 391 km in an ICE powered car with a 150 km range without paying the high mountain town fuel prices I could put a few jerrycans of fuel in back and I'm good to go.


I don't understand why so many manufacturers go for 100% electric instead of plug-in hybrids (where the small combustion engine is only used to fill the battery when it's too low).

Due to the high purchase price + small range + long charging time + dearth of power stations, 100% electric cars just don't make sense for individuals, while plug-in hybrids are a good interim solution until batteries improve significantly.

Freyr Gunnar

For some, an electric battery only vehicle makes sense. If ones commute is short and one does not go near or use highways, then an EV would make sense. The tricky part would be getting it recharged; something that would be easy if one has a garage with outlets or park near where one can get a charger close to the vehicle.

I travel about 15 miles to work; round trip. I don't use highways to get there. The only tricky part would be to get the apartment complex to get a power outlet near my car so it could be charged. With some apartments closer to parking spaces, it would be easier for some.


It really depends on the circumstances. Somebody driving over the Rockies should not pick one of these, simple as that. Somebody commuting the same 20 miles every day for 25 years should.

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are a part of a sturdy future energy grid, they can partially solve the storage problem for renewable energy. I think it was the new Nissan Leaf I read about being able to feed power back to the grid if that is needed. If only industry could agree on the standards needed, or some governments actually made a framework. (remember GSM?).

There was an interesting article (NYT) pointing out how many people put down 10 grand for a good emergency power generator for hurricanes. What a wasted investment that is in the context of electric cars! A generator that runs once every year, if at all. And then funny, people complain that electric cars are 10000 bucks more expensive than gas cars, and then they go out and buy a 10k genset.

I'm not saying that's how it is for everyone, but there are already many cases just like that.


In agreement with both bewalt and bigwarpguy. There is a pressing need for contributors to consider the ''not everyone is me'' factor before writing. I -- but not everyone -- generally enjoy cycling to my destinations whenever I can. Bikes being relatively inexpensive, I have a few in my shed and choose the best one for each job : a recumbent or touring bike for long distances, a well-used city bike for in-town shopping trips, an electric-assist when the wind comes up... and always an efficient light-weight upright if climbing is involved. An EV in the mountains? Car or bike, plain silly.


The problem with electric cars is that they are expensive for what they provide and their range can not be effectively extended. You can not drive it all night to give comfort in an emergency which makes a big difference if the emergency happens on a busy travel day. Watch the mother trying to get home in Home Alone.


Production prices for hybrid and electric vehicles are steadily dropping. Tax benefits, fuel savings and incentives are making the difference for people that want to buy a second car to travel to work in anticipation of rising fuel prices.

So many big cities in the world could learn what's happening in London and what has already happened in the Netherlands.

Commuting by bike is the way to go for short trips. London is looking at its neighbors in the Netherlands (-the- ideal model) on how to create good cycling infrastructure that's logical, safe and integrated. Cycling in London is equally fast or faster than by car or bus, but the infrastructure still needs some work. The good cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands have resulted in the lowest accidents among cyclists in the world, where the cyclists wear no helmet or reflective vests, because it's simply safe enough to do so!

History of the cycle paths in the Netherlands:

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret

re; Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret

Tax benefits and incentives (Money taken from taxpayers to pay for the overpriced, underpreforming vehicle.) are the most annoying problem with the EVs. Electricity producers receive at least as much "subsidies" as big oil.


@Slowburn, your questions show you are a typical person in that you suffer from range anxiety.

Research shows that range anxiety is unnecessary anxiety. A range of 150km is plenty for urban use.

Some people want one car for everything, but a lot of people have a small car for city use. They are the intended customer for the e-up, and it suits them. Does it look like an inter-urban or cross-country vehicle to you?

And the battery-pack life question is turning out to be unnecessary negativity, too. Look at the Prius; Toyota now say its battery lasts the life of the vehicle. So battery replacement cost is not a factor.

T N Args

O. K. Slowburn doesn't like EV's. We get it.

But other people do. And these vehicles can serve very practical purposes, especially as round-town commuters or errand vehicles. Reducing urban congestion and pollution are also worth the effort. But I don't expect these obvious advantages will carry much weight for anyone who thinks watching a film is research.


@ Slowburn -

Range at 105kph would be around 50 miles (depending on other drains on battery esp heating/cooling).

Ramp use pretty irrelevant to range unless you have ramps 10x longer than the usual hundred yards or so.

Battery replacement question = "How long is a piece of string" ie too many variables but I expect, like most other EV manufacturers, there will be a guaranteed minimum miles/age making it also irrelevant for the typical new car buyer - used will be another matter entirely. Some manufacturers are leasing the battery which again makes the issue irrelevant. Replacement cost would probably be around $4-6k at todays prices. EV battery prices are falling all the time though.

"The electric up! is a city car that can travel up to 93 miles (150 km) per charge." Nothing about mountains there! But there is no reason why you couldn't drive an EV on that route but I'd more likely go with a Tesla or something else with a bit more range. As for charging, assuming the infrastructure is there (it probably isn't yet) most modern mainstream EVs can charge to 80% in 30 minutes or 100% in an hour. Then you wouldn't have to buy petrol, expensive or otherwise, nor would you have to fill your boot up with jerry cans.

Lastly, tho' I confess I have never watched 'Home Alone' I gather the film's premise is that gormless parents go on holiday and leave irksome child behind to fend for himself. I do hope you are not suggesting that most Americans are that stupid? If they are we are all doomed, EVs or no.

@Freyr Gunnar Principally for me the issue is;- Why complicate an EV with unnecessary ICE when it does perfectly well without one? If 80% of car drivers in the world only drive 30 miles a day, why waste all that energy hauling around an ICE and all its complication and pay for its cost if you are hardly ever going to need it? The plug-in hybrids (PIH) success is very interesting though because it highlights the fact that EVs are deliberately over-priced by manufacturers due to the 'early adopter' thing. Like most mass-comsumer goodies, their price will fall quite quickly once they take off. It seems that is a given now. Can anyone seriously argue that a simple (and compared to an ICE the EV drive train is very simple) EV has to cost more to make than a vehicle that is an EV AND an ICEV?

Range is relative - the Teslas can do 300 miles - but you'll have to pay for that. Who needs it anyway? Surely anyone would agree that on a long trip driving at 60 or 70mph for 2 hours and then stopping for 40 mins to an hour for a break (and to charge the EV) is a perfectly workable scenario? Besides, all those Volt owners (and other PIH drivers) who plugin in wherever their journey ends (charge points permitting) are finding that they have owned their car for 6 months and never put any petrol in it!

@BigWarpGuy - My converted E van was fine on the freeway/motorways. It'd do 60 easily though, as it only had a 20kW pack, it wouldn't do that for very long. But as you say for those of us with relatively short commutes and who don't regularly go on long trips (ie 80% of car drivers) current EVs make perfect sense - charging facilities permitting.

There is a theme here. If the governments of our respective countries are serious about us adopting EVs over ICEVs they are really going to have to pull their fingers out and start spending some money on a practical, effective, well-planned, well-organized EV charging infrastructure. Not only for those of us who don't have a charge point available at home but for all of us to charge when we are away from home. Without it we will still be talking about range anxiety in 10 years time. MW

Martin Winlow
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