Volkswagen NILS Concept - Frankfurt Auto Show
Developed in concert with Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport as an exercise in "minimalist mobility," the diminutive Volkswagen NILS made its first publc appearance in Frankfurt. This intriguing single-seat commuter is roughly 10 feet long, uses an extruded aluminum space frame/safety cell, plastic and aluminum body panels and tips the scales just beyond the 1,000-pound mark. The cabin is highlighted by a primary 7.0-inch touchscreen that gives the driver full control all major functions but also accommodates a secondary personal infotainment device that can be snapped into the right A-pillar. Although the NILS features fully electronic climate controls, weight-saving considerations mandated manual adjustment for the side mirrors.
Motivation for the Volkswagen NILS Concept comes from a rear-mounted electric motor that weighs 42 pounds and makes 34 horsepower and 96 pound-feet of torque -- sufficient to send the NILS from zero-to-62 mph in 11.0 seconds and on to a top-end of 80 mph. The motor is energized by an advanced 5.3kWh lithium-ion battery pack that packs about a 40-mile range. Full replenishment will require about two hours using the charging port in its tail and plugging into a standard 240V European electrical outlet.
The Volkswagen NILS Concept features upper/lower control arm suspension front and rear, and rides on custom 17-inch lightweight alloy wheels wrapped in unique low-rolling resistance tires. Stopping power comes courtesy of four vented disc brakes. Access to the cabin is via a pair of large swing-up doors, and the upper half of the rear bodywork flips up to reveal a small but functional storage bay. VW says the NILS is fully capable of meeting all current safety regulations and is fitted with the automaker's City Emergency Braking system.