Friday, April 11, 2008

VW Mini Space Up!

LOS ANGELES — With NBA legend Jon Salley by his side, Volkswagen head of technical development Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg unveiled the Space Up! Blue electric-powered concept car to a large crowd here—its first in North America. Small in stature, Hackenberg warned us not to judge a book by its cover: “There is plenty of interior space for four full-size people.” Styled after the classic Samba Bus from the 1950s (a hippy favorite), this slick looking, zero-emission van is powered by an electric drive system that includes a 45-kW motor, 12 lithium-ion batteries with a total of 12 kWh, and a hydrogen fuel cell. It can be recharged via the onboard hydrogen fuel cell or an electric outlet when hydrogen isn’t available. On battery power alone, the diminutive vehicle has a range of 65 miles. The fuel cell extends that by another 155 miles. A large solar panel mounted on the roof doesn’t hurt either.

Hackenberg also showed the 2009 VW Tiguan and 2009 VW Jetta turbo-diesel. The Tiquan is a sporty yet capable crossover designed to shake up the category. “It’s the GTi of crossovers,” Hackenberg Ulrich Hackenberg. It’ll come with a robust 2.0-liter, 200-hp turbo four, a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, electromechanical power steering, an electronic parking brake and all-wheel drive. The Jetta’s two-liter clean diesel engine makes just 140 hp, but promises 35/36 combined fuel economy. —Chuck Tannert

VW Mini Space Up!


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