Small, lightweight, electric and seats just one. That pretty much sums up the new Volkswagen Nils concept which was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show today.
The sole occupant sits inside an ultra-light all-aluminum chassis with aluminum skin and polycarbonate door panels. According to the automaker, overall length is 120 inches (for reference, the Smart Fortwo is just over 98 inches long) and the weight has been kept below 1,000 pounds. Motivation comes from a 33-horsepower electric motor that weighs just 42 pounds, pulling power from a 5.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The range is about 40 miles and charging takes just two hours.
Facing the driver is a seven-inch TFT display with digital instrumentation. The Nils is also fitted with a portable infotainment unit to controls navigation, radio, phone and Internet access. With multi-link suspension, drilled disc brakes at all four corners and a wide stance, the Nils looks fun to drive. Designed with short-commute Europeans in mind (the project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development) the Nils is probing the feasibility of micromobility and probably won't look very practical to Americans. We wouldn't mind rocking one on a commute, at least some of the time.