America are You Ready to E-Up!? Volkswagen Thinks So.


Last week, Volkswagen debuted it’s E-Up! electric vehicle during the Frankfurt motor show. VW has already coined its new car “The Beetle for the 21st Century.” And now, according to VW, this city-sized electric vehicle concept will be Americanized and super-sized (okay, super-sized may be a slight exaggeration) for its American debut shortly after its launch in Europe in 2013.

In an article published by, the board member in charge of product development at Volkswagen AC, Ulrich Hackenberg, summed up in one sentence why they are developing an electric car. “The reason we are working on an electric vehicle is the American market.”

VW has several new concepts focusing on families who are looking for small vehicles and the E-Up! is designed to fit into this family of cars. Needless to say, most families in the States were not looking for small cars until the demise of the dollar. It will be interesting to see if the “downsizing” trend continues since Ben Bernanke has claimed the “recession is very likely over.”

But I digress. The European E-Up! is a four-seater which is only 125 inches long and has a range of 70 to 80 miles on battery power. The American version will also be a four-seater, front drive but will be 146 inches long. Hmm… I’m mathematically challenged but that’s not even a 2-foot difference. Let’s review this — the American car will only be 12 feet long. You could fit 30 E-Ups! nose to nose in a football field or 440 of them lengthwise in one mile.

Here are some other nifty tidbits about the E-Up!:

  • Features a new “lightweight,” five hundred pound lithium-ion battery pack
  • Fully charged from depleted battery is less than five hours
  • features solar panels on the roof (also a feature of the new Prius)
  • The sun visors are connected into the car’s electrical system giving it extra power
  • Weight: 2,387 pounds
  • The electric motor makes 55 lb-ft of torque at zero rpm
  • 0-60 in 11 seconds

Unfortunately we’ll have to wait several years to determine if the new family travel game “slug-bug” will also enter the 21st century. I see an E-Up! Whack!

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Joanna Schroeder

Joanna is a writer and consultant specializing in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture issues.