Mike Stevens | Sep 2, 2011


At the other end of the Volkswagen Group's warehouse of endless concepts, away from Audi's sharp Urban concepts, is the Nils - Volkswagen's own take on the city-focused open-wheeler electric vehicle.

Hinted at last week by Volkswagen research boss Jurgen Leohold, the Nils is a single-seater that Leohold says is a "technically realistic and economically feasible" option for a small future commuter.

And it is small: at 1.2 metres long, the Nils is about half a metre shorter than the diminutive Up! city car, and thanks to its lightweight aluminium spaceframe, it weighs an incredible 460kg.

Power for the Nils is provided by an electric motor mounted behind the driver's seat, producing just 15kW of power - but a solid 130Nm of torque. A boost feature is also available, giving a brief max output of 25kW.

2012 volkswagen nils concept 02

The motor draws juice from a 5.3kWh lithium-ion battery pack, giving it a driving range of around 65km off one charge.

While not a figure that many Nils buyers would consider a point of concern, the little single-seater has a claimed 0-100km/h time of 11 seconds, and top speed is listed at 130km/h.

Despite Leohold's comments, the Nils' open-wheel design means a production debut is unlikely. Whether we're looking at stying hints for a future Volkswagen E-Motion single-seater however, remains to be seen.

Watch for more details on the Nils to come out of the Frankfurt Motor Show this month.

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