What you’re looking at above is a Formula 1-style, single-seat, lightweight “go-kart” concept. That’s fully electric. Welcome, everyone, toTomorrow’s World…
Volkswagen has announced that it will showcase this little EV concept dubbed ‘Nils’ at the Frankfurt motor show. It is posited as a solution to the hordes of German commuters making journeys of around 15 miles. As such, the Nils gets a 20bhp electric motor (with a peak 34bhp) powered by a lithium-ion battery, enabling a zero-emission drive of up to 40 miles, a 0-62mph time of under 11 seconds and a top speed of 80mph.
See pics of the Volkswagen Nils
To recharge, you simply plug it into your mains socket or at an electric vehicle charging station – ahem, like the one in Lincolnshire – for just two hours.
So far, so familiar. But Nils is a bit more than that. It’s shorter than a VW Up and measures just 0.39m wide. Its aluminium space-frame body weighs less than a Caterham at just 460kg. And because it’s so light the steering is purely mechanical so there’s no power steering. It’s got 17in alloys. The driver sits in the middle. The battery is housed just behind him and the drive is sent to the rear for better weight distribution. Suspension comes in double wishbone flavour front and rear, and ESP is said to “tame any over-exuberance on the part of the driver”, an exuberance likely agitated by the fact that the motor produces its 95 torques from standstill via a one-speed transmission.
It even gets gullwing glass doors and a boot capacious enough for “items such as a case of drinks and a bag”. Target market identified, then. A distance control radars operates on the brakes to avoid crashing, while inside there’s a seven-inch TFT display and a touchscreen multifunction display used to control stuff like audio, telephone and the trip computer.
A flight of fancy, yes, but what a flight. In fact, the Nils project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development and is said to be “technically realistic”. Which means you might actually see one in the not-too-distant future…