Volkswagen e-Up: Volkswagen's Smallest Car Gets Plugged In

As the debate over electric cars rages on, the real problem for those who are interested in running a plug-in vehicle is actually lack of choice.

Very few electric cars are available in the UK right now, but Volkswagen will add one more to that tally in 2014 with the new e-Up.

As the name suggests, it's an electric version of the diminutive Up, currently topping our list of the best city cars on sale in 2013.

Where normally a 60 or 75 PS 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine would sit, instead there's an electric motor. This develops 40 kilowatts (55 PS) of continuous power, with peak power of 60 kW, or 82 PS.

Volkswagen e-Up rear

Performance is pretty much on par with the petrol-powered models as a result - Volkswagen claims a 0-62 mpg sprint of 14 seconds, though top speed is a little lower at 84 mph. The real appeal will be the e-Up's instantaneous response to prods of the accelerator pedal - with 155 lb-ft of torque, it over doubles the 70 lb-ft available in the petrol cars.

You won't have to spend time changing gear either, nor will there be any three-cylinder burble to contend with - a quiet whine is the only sound most electric vehicles make under acceleration.

As usual, it's the range of 93 miles that will turn off most, though Up buyers who confine their cars to the city may find that provides several days of driving.

The car's charging port is hidden where you'd normally fill with fuel, and the 18.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is fast-charge compatible, meaning an 80 percent fill could take only 30 minutes.

Volkswagen e-Up interior

Not a lot marks out the e-Up from its combustion counterpart on the outside. The main visual change is the addition of curved LED daytime running lights in the front bumper. Polished 15-inch alloys also feature, while VW emblems with blue backgrounds and an e-Up badge denote the plug-powered model.

Inside, light grey seats with blue stitching differentiate the e-Up from other Ups, while the greenest model also gets special leather trimmings and chrome accents.

Priced from: Not yet announced
Available from: Early 2014

Volkswagen e-Up front

Conclusion

The arguments for and against electric cars have been done to death. You'll already know whether your driving habits would suit an electric car and its quirks, and there's little use trying to convince you otherwise if you regularly do longer journeys.

We're looking forward to the e-Up though. The Up's styling is already the wheeled equivalent of an iPod, so an electric version gives off the right techy vibe. We'll bring you more details when the production car debuts at the Frankfurt Auto Show later this year.

For more information check out our full summary of the Volkswagen Up alongside reviews, stats, photos and videos!

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