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Volkswagen's NILS - a single-seater electric sportscar for the road

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September 1, 2011

Volkswagen's NILS - a single-seater electric sportscar for the road

Volkswagen's NILS - a single-seater electric sportscar for the road

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Volkswagen has once more produced a minimalist and frugal commuter vehicle for its home auto show in Frankfurt, and this one has us quite excited. NILS is an F1-inspired single-seat electric concept with an aluminum space frame, gull-wing doors and thanks to its extreme light weight (460 kg), small frontal area, it offers sports car performance at speeds up to 130 km/h from a small 25kW electric motor. The electric motor's 130 Nm of torque offers rapid acceleration and although the range is limited to just 65 kilometers (40 miles), it recharges from empty in just two hours from a conventional 230-volt electrical outlet.

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Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
26 Comments

OOooohhhhh! I like this! I would buy it today if it were available. Give it more range and I am there yesterday!

Greg693
1st September, 2011 @ 09:35 am PDT

More eye candy with no real plans for the market.

Druid
1st September, 2011 @ 09:51 am PDT

goes up to 80 mph..... that's not sports car performance.

Racqia Dvorak
1st September, 2011 @ 10:19 am PDT

VW teased us for the last 10 years or so with the possible production of their 1-Litre car and its successors, and on occasion they hinted that they might make it, but they never did. This car will never see production either, so I certtainly can't get excited about yet another VW prototype -- no matter how much I would like to own and drive one if it was affordable.

Fred Smith
1st September, 2011 @ 10:51 am PDT

Give it a half liter water cooled engine and an absorption refrigerant air conditioning and you will have a good second car commuter.

Slowburn
1st September, 2011 @ 11:05 am PDT

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL AND FUTURISTIC !,

HOWEVER THINK ABOUT THIS;

#1. WITH THIS RANGE, YOU DRIVE FOR ONE HOUR AT 40 MPH SO THAT YOU CAN STOP FOR TWO HOURS TO RECHARGE. . . . AND THEN CONTINUE.

#2. ONE SEATER ONLY . . . WITH NO ROOM TO SPARE!.

GOOGLE T.25 (75 MPG) IF YOU WANT SMALL, WITH SPACE AND SEATS 3, EV OR GAS. ALSO, VESPA SEATS 2, IS MUCH FASTER AND 76 MPG.

THIS IS A GOOD LOOKING FAILURE AND "BLACK EYE" FOR VW, SHOULD THEY DECIDE TO PROCEED WITH ANYTHING LIKE THIS, EVEN IF IT'S JUST A CONCEPT.

Joseph Breton
1st September, 2011 @ 11:22 am PDT

Oh boy, I would just love to be caught in a traffic jam on the freeway waiting for the battery to go flat.....

DemonDuck
1st September, 2011 @ 12:00 pm PDT

Wow, so much negativity in the comments. I think this is amazing but whether I'd buy one would depend on the price. Being so small and I suspect not necessarily particularly high tech and with presumably quite a small (cheap) batter I would think something like this could be MASS produced quite cheaply. It would of course have limited appeal but for many people, it could be a winner. It's 10Km to me work in stop start traffic. If I were to drive ( I actually ride a motorbike), this would be perfect. On the way to work I see hundreds of commuters (Auckland, New Zealand), many by themselves and in large SUV's. That's just not right. These babies would consume no fossil fuels and could potentially be powered by renewable resources (New Zealand already 70% electricity from renewables and climbing). I take my wife's car in the morning to the gym. I feel a bit guilty. It reports 40 litres/ 100km fuel consumption whilst cold which is nearly the whole way. If I had that VW, I'd use that and consume no fuel and feel great about it. :-)

Tommygun
1st September, 2011 @ 12:09 pm PDT

I say lets do what I read awhile ago. The city should buy a fleet of vehicles (not necessarily these) and people pay for a membership to use them. You can drive them, leave them anywhere and when you need another one, you just walk up to it, swipe your card, get in and drive it home. No insurance, no maintenance, no fuel costs.

mharo
1st September, 2011 @ 12:41 pm PDT

Excellent curb weight but what about the drag? Acceleration? Price? Battery life? These are all questions that need to be answered before we can evaluate fully. And with a top speed of 78 mph I hardly think this qualifies as a sports car. The single seat is a sign this is not a serious attempt to provide an EV. Two seats minimum are required my most people. If I were VW I would be embarrassed.

voluntaryist
1st September, 2011 @ 12:45 pm PDT

"Two seats minimum are required by most people"

When were you elected as the voice of "most people", voluntaryist?

This is an excellent development, and one which very neatly merges the appeal of car, bike and electric power.

I'd have one in a heartbeat.

Keith Reeder
1st September, 2011 @ 01:16 pm PDT

"Oh boy, I would just love to be caught in a traffic jam on the freeway waiting for the battery to go flat..."

Ever run out of petrol, DemonDuck?

Keith Reeder
1st September, 2011 @ 01:18 pm PDT

This could be a good commuter car, especially if you could recharge at work. 40 miles would be plenty, and if you commute less than 20 miles, no need to recharge at work. In short, an excent second car.

Regarding the comment "Oh boy, I would just love to be caught in a traffic jam on the freeway waiting for the battery to go flat..... ", electric cars use no energy when they are stopped. They are ideal for stop and go driving, especially if they have regenerative breaking.

Leithauser
1st September, 2011 @ 04:14 pm PDT

Keith Reeder. I understand the anxiety one might have if stuck in a traffic jam but I suppose if you were stuck in a traffic jam, there'd be a good chance your vehicle wouldn't be moving much and bar power being used for accessories, you wouldn't thus actually be using a lot of electricity (or spewing out exhaust fumes either). If airconditioning was not on and if LED lights used, there would probably be quite a low drain on the battery in a traffic jam situation. I presume it would be relatively simple to have a small generator as part of the design to provide emergency auxillary power/ recharge capabilities. :-)

Tommygun
1st September, 2011 @ 06:10 pm PDT

Excellent concept for a commuter vehicle or local area runabout. Although a car with this footprint should perhaps have enough space for two people, no doubt VW has incorporated suitable safety performance, eg. crumple zones, hence the size and weight. A two seater might not be much bigger or heavier.

Would love to see these machines and others like them quietly but quickly negotiating roads around my town instead of the noisy turbos and V8s that seem designed to announce their presence long before they arrive anywhere. In towns largely governed by 50 km/h (30 mph) and 60 km/h (37 mph) speed limits, who cares if they can't go faster than 130 km/h (80 mph)? In city driving, it's acceleration that counts, not top speed.

johnniesazzler
1st September, 2011 @ 07:07 pm PDT

How is it that electric car range has progressed so little in 120 years?

How is it that the little Japanese electric van just went over what,600 miles on a single charge

and all this can get is 40?

Call it negative but I'd have to agree-

if certain concept and competition vehicles are getting phenomenal fuel mileage or electric range,

just why is it that gas is still doing good to get 30mpg and electric vehicles can't seem to hardly break the 50 mile range?

Why do many V6 minivans and much bigger SUV's with bigger V8 motors get about the same fuel mileage?

Why is the new Fiat unavailable in the US with the fuel-efficient award-winning smaller motor?

Why is it only available with a motor that makes it get fuel mileage in the 30's?

Why are Toyota and VW trucks worldwide available with efficient diesels yet they have been unavailable in the US for years?

Why do you think?

Griffin
1st September, 2011 @ 08:39 pm PDT

It is good, but it needs a small rear seat where I can put the girlfriend or the shopping. For interesting alternatives, Google 'Strike Trike' and 'Lithium Hawke'.

Nick 1801
2nd September, 2011 @ 01:01 am PDT

Nice, but no sigar : the TWIKE weighs in at less than 250 Kg, seats TWO persons, fully charges in 1,5 hours and has a range of up to 200 Km. Okay, it is limited to 90 Km/h but that is more than enough if you do not need to take it onto the highways (although you could). With a mere 65 Km range, the NILS won't likely use them either. Moreover, the TWIKE has been in production since the previous millennium :-)

Bart Viaene
2nd September, 2011 @ 05:21 am PDT

Compare and contrast this machine with the Peraves Electric MonoTracer: 2 seats, loads of luggage space, top speed over 150mph but can also go 200 miles at 75mph and recharge in 2 hours. AND can still squeeze between the normal and HOV lanes in SoCal.

No contest!

A lower-powered, mass produced version of the E-MonoTracer, would make far more sense than this thing, or failing that an electric Van Den Brink Carver TTW for those who can't cope with a half ton motorcycle with outriggers.

This VW combines the worst of all worlds: car width, crap range, crap performance, crap carrying capacity!

paulblez
2nd September, 2011 @ 06:29 am PDT

For the road? what kind of road? I do not believe!

While our standards for streets and roads are the same developed by Roman Empire, on the beginnings.

While be together in a same track a motorcycle and a double trailer monster truck.

While anyone reinvents the way to the streets and roads become eclusive to each type of vehicle, this vehicle will not be more than a hallucination of design, nostalgically recalling a sexagenarian "hot rod", without power or a appropriated coffin, for those who venture into direct it beyond the boundaries of a corridor of an office or a go-kart track.

Sergius
2nd September, 2011 @ 08:58 am PDT

Fabulous car. Lose the outside rearview mirror. Fair the wheels so they won't hold the car back. You should be able to get an extra 10 miles range out of her. I like this car and would buy it here in America.

TogetherinParis
2nd September, 2011 @ 10:10 am PDT

Re Keith Reeder - When were you elected as the voice of "most people"?

That was a very good question until you tried to claim the title for your self.

After a small informal survey the overwhelming majority would not buy a car without at least one passenger seat, for extra cargo space if nothing else.

Slowburn
2nd September, 2011 @ 12:51 pm PDT

Great idea... looks very efficient!

I would buy one in a heartbeat if/when available in the US.

Pres
6th September, 2011 @ 03:56 am PDT

I agree that the performance is a bit short of real "sports car" level, and the utility is awful (40 miles range). You either get 100 mph or 100 miles. To reach neither is attractive to no one.

666gm666
12th September, 2011 @ 11:27 pm PDT

Planet Earth isn't dying, so let's pull the batteries and drop a highly efficient gas/diesel in.

This will cut the costs, extend the range, increase its fun factor, improve its safety (an engines noise informs pedestrians of its approach) and lower the carbon footprint all in one shot.

Mark Markarian
21st September, 2011 @ 05:52 am PDT

This sort of vehicle with solar panel coloured film instead of paint for whole upper body panels/glass when technology hits market too, brake regen & suspension regen will increase range by approx 70-100% and an option of 2 seater with range extending fuel cell/50cc high efficiency hemp oil generator and we'd be truly green.....

PaulYak
26th March, 2014 @ 07:16 pm PDT
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