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Steane Klose | Nov 19, 2007

Volkswagen has presented the space up! blue concept car at the Los Angeles Auto Show (November 14 to 25) - a compact, zero emissions van in the style of the legendary Volkswagen Samba Bus. The space up! blue concept features the world's first high temperature fuel cell and an array of twelve lithium-ion batteries.

The 45kW electric motor of the space up! blue is driven exclusively by battery and has a range of around 105km/65miles - enough to handle nearly all distances in suburban type driving.

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Energy is "refuelled" either via an electrical outlet or by the Volkswagen high-temperature fuel cell. In the latter case, the car's range is extended an additional 250km/155miles. This makes it possible to drive up to 355km/220miles on a single "energy charge", which is very impressive. Aside from this, the space up! blue concept utilizes another energy source, the sun. A large solar panel on the roof supplies up to150 Watts of energy that is also fed into the battery.

Volkswagen’s new high temperature fuel cell (HT-FC) offers crucial advantages when compared to other fuel cell systems, including considerably lower weight, significantly greater everyday utility, substantially lower price all of which stand it in good stead of becoming a mass produced technology reality.

The space up! blue concept follows on from Volkswagen’s other recent concepts, the City Specialist and the up! offering glimpses at the car of the future. Like the City Specialist and the up! the space up! blue concept makes clever use of space and despite compact dimensions, offers the interior room normally found in a larger vehicle. It’s light on weight as well, weighing in at a lightweight 1,090kg and that’s including the fuel cells and batteries.

The space up! blue concept’s emission -free electric motor operates is housed in the rear, much like the old air-cooled Kombi’s that we all love. Also housed in the rear, under the back seat, are the lithium-ion batteries, while the high temperature fuel cell, is located at the front of the car.

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