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Volkswagen to Roll Out New One Seater Electric Car

Leon Kaye | Wednesday August 24th, 2011 | 0 Comments
Is this the Volkswagen one-seater? Courtesy Volkswagen.com

Is this the Volkswagen one-seater? Courtesy Volkswagen.com

Single-seat cars have come, gone, and remained about as popular as the Segway, but Volkswagen is going to give them a shot.  In an interview with the Financial Times, Jurgen Leohold, Volkswagen’s head of research, revealed that a new electric-powered, experimental car will be announced on September 8.

The new car, yet unnamed, will be all-electric, “zero-emissions,” and extremely lightweight.  The zero-emissions moniker comes from the fact that buyers of this car will also sign up for a VW renewable energy package.  To that end, the company plans to invest up to US$173 million in hydroelectric power in Brazil.

Details on how the car will perform and what it will look like are murky.  Will people buy it?

Here are what some in the EV peanut gallery have to say:

A.K. Streeter, Treehugger:

Of course the zillion dollar question is whether Volkswagen will actually take this EV concept car into production, and additionally how will they get this electric vehicle to be truly emissions free?

Erick Ayapana, MotorTrend.com:

We’re not sure how it will look, but it’s a safe bet that it will be similar to the VW L1 concept revealed a few years back. 

Jeff Glucker, AutoBlog.com:

Pretty specific details for a rumor, but we’re keeping one eyebrow raised until we have more information.

The single seater car will be for limited use, as in commuting from home to office, and is part of VW’s strategy to both lead in electric vehicle manufacturing and become the world’s largest automobile manufacturer by 2018.  Meanwhile, the company will release electric versions of the Golf and Up! in 2013.  Should all go as planned, electric vehicles will three percent of VW’s sales by 2013.

It could go over well in Europe; whether it will attract any interest on this side of the pond is another story.  Talk to most Californians and the idea of having one car for commuting, another for long distances, is completely foreign–after all, a car must be able to make all trips, including that annual five hour drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Of course, one more chapter in the Arab Spring or another series of natural disasters, i.e., oil price spikes, could change some minds.  One thing is for sure: it would be easy to park.  One thing not so clear:  would an nebulous purchase of clean energy, somewhere, somehow, convince skeptical buyers that this car is truly “zero emissions?”

Read our coverage of electric cars by Phil Covington and other 3p writers.

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Leon Kaye is editor of GreenGoPost.com and contributes to The Guardian Sustainable Business; you can follow him on Twitter.  He lives in Silicon Valley.


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