Clean Drive Revolution "Made in Germany"
Volkswagen presents the first car in the world with high-temperature fuel
space up! blue covers downtown distances with pure battery drive
WOLFSBURG, Germany and LOS ANGELES, CA, Nov. 19 /CNW/ -
The space up! blue To the point
- Wolfsburg/Los Angeles, November 2007. Powertrain revolution in
California: Volkwagen is presenting the space up! blue concept car at
the Los Angeles Auto Show (November 14 to 25) as a world exclusive -
a compact, self-confident zero emissions van in the style of the
legendary Volkswagen Samba Bus. On board: the world's first high
temperature fuel cell and an array of twelve lithium-ion batteries.
When the electric motor (45 kW/61 PS) of the space up! blue is
driven exclusively by battery, a range of 65 miles is possible -
enough to handle nearly all distances in downtown areas. In the
scenario of tomorrow's world, the four-seat Volkswagen is advancing
to become the ideal vehicle for anyone who wants to drive -
completely emissions-free - to work, recreation, school or university
or just shopping.
- Energy is "refueled" either via an electrical outlet or by the
Volkswagen high-temperature fuel cell. In the latter case, the car's
range is extended an additional 155 miles. This makes it possible to
drive up to 220 miles on a single "energy charge". Aside from this,
the microvan utilizes another energy source: the sun. And indeed with
a large solar panel on the roof. It supplies up to 150 Watt of energy
that is also fed into the battery.
- With its new high temperature fuel cell (HT-FC) Volkswagen is
introducing a system that represents a turning point in research on
fuel cells for mass production. That is because the HTFC offers
crucial advantages compared to all other fuel cell systems:
considerably lower weight, significantly greater everyday utility,
substantially lower price, and therefore clearly the better chances
of becoming a reality someday as a mass produced technology. The high
temperature fuel cell was developed at a dedicated research center
founded by Volkswagen in Germany.
- With its concept car being shown in Los Angeles, Europe's most
successful car producer is introducing the third variant of its "New
Small Family" within just two months. Like the city specialist, the
up!, already introduced at the IAA in Frankfurt, and the space up!
presented in Tokyo, the space up! blue is a small space wonder too.
Over a length of just 144.9 inches, a height of 61.8 inches and a
width of 64.2 inches, it offers the space of a considerably larger
vehicle. The clever space concept of the space up! blue - which is
1,090 kilograms "light" despite the fuel cell and batteries - is
largely due to the layout of the powertrain. Its emissions-free
electric motor operates - as did the engines of the Beetle and the
Bulli (Microbus) at one time - in the rear. Also housed in the rear,
under the rear seat to be exact, are the lithium-ion batteries. The
high temperature fuel cell, on the other hand, is located at the
front of the car.
The space up! blue Key Aspects
Volkswagen Concept Car Utilizes Water and Sun
Energy network of lithium-ion battery, fuel cell and solar cell
space up! blue is the third concept car of the New Small Family by
Wolfsburg/Los Angeles, November 2007. The space up! blue - with its
four roof windows - is reminiscent of the Samba Bus of the 1950s.
However, at a length of 144.9 inches the contemporary concept car is
almost 23.6 inches shorter than the cult bus of that era. And so the "new
one" is anything but a retro version of the "old one". Nonetheless, the
two vans are certainly kindred spirits, and this goes beyond sharing the
windows in the roof. For example, their designs both incorporate
butterfly doors with opposing hinges and a motor layout in the rear.
Electric motor and battery
While fifty years ago a boxer engine in the rear provided the propulsive
force, in the new concept car it is an electric motor. This motor outputs
45 kW/61 PS, turns at up to 10,000 times per minute and generates a
maximum torque of 120 Newton-meter. The zero-emissions drive draws its
power from an array of twelve lithium-ion batteries with a total energy
capacity of twelve kilowatt-hours (kWh). Motorized in this way, the space
up! blue attains a top speed of 75 mph. It handles the sprint to 100 km/h
(62 mph) in a dynamic 13.7 seconds.
Exclusively driven by battery, the motor powers the space up! blue over a
range of 65 miles. By comparison: a hybrid car in pure electric drive
mode - i.e. with energy stored in the battery - can travel just
two kilometers (1.24 miles) on average. The combustion engine must kick
in again before this distance is driven. Consequently, the space up! blue
represents a conceptual approach, reaching beyond hybrid technology, for
operating the automobile by just battery, especially in urban areas.
However, a prerequisite for this technology are durable and affordable
lithium-ion batteries with a high charge capacities. With their help,
transportation could become "electrified" - i.e. converted from
combustion engines to electric motors - in a stepwise manner, initially
in the big cities. The infrastructure needed for this is simple:
electrical outlets! Step by step, public and private parking spaces and
parking garages would have to be equipped with "electric service pumps"
to offer charging capabilities. At night, vehicles like the space up!
blue could take advantage of nighttime rates for electrical power - which
are often much lower in many countries - to "fill up their tanks". The
fact is: today the space up! blue concept car could already handle
average daily driving distances in pure battery mode - without a fuel
High temperature fuel cell
The high temperature fuel cell, meanwhile, could enable completely
emission-free driving over long distances. The high temperature fuel cell
develops a power of twelve kW to spur on the electric motor.
The fuel cell utilizes hydrogen (H2) to obtain electrical energy. Two
safety tanks integrated in the underbody store up to 3.3 kilograms of
compressed hydrogen. This quantity is enough to operate the electric
motor over a distance of 155 miles. With fully charged battery and full
hydrogen tanks, the theoretical range is a full 220 miles. So
theoretically, even an excursion from the Los Angeles Auto Show to
picturesque Santa Barbara and back would be feasible without an energy
recharge. These are distances that demonstrate how cars with electric
motors plus fuel cell are capable of more than just city driving.
Aside from the fact that hydrogen would have to be produced in sufficient
quantities by regenerative energy, there is another serious problem: All
fuel cells known to date - that is low temperature fuel cells - need to
operate over a very specific temperature range. If the temperature rises
too much, energy recovery is brought to a standstill. That is why all of
these fuel cell designs have relatively large and likewise complex
cooling and humidification technologies.
This is precisely where the high temperature fuel cell developed by
Volkswagen comes in. It eliminates the numerous disadvantages of
previously known low temperature fuel cells (LTFCs). A new high-
temperature membrane and electrodes specially designed for this membrane
enable significantly more compact, affordable and efficient fuel cell
systems, as shown on the space up! blue concept car in Los Angeles.
Working together with its custom designed electrodes, the high-
temperature membrane can be "driven" over a temperature range of up to
160 degrees Celsius. An average operating temperature of 120 degrees C is
planned for vehicle operation. And indeed without requiring supplemental
humidification. Therefore - in contrast to the LTFC - it is sufficient to
implement a much simpler cooling and water management system. This
reduces space requirements, weight and costs significantly!
Like the city specialist, the up!, already presented at the IAA in
Frankfurt and the space up! shown in Tokyo, the space up! blue is a small
space wonder too. Over a length of just 144.9 inches, a height of
61.8 inches and a width of 64.2 inch, it offers the space of a
considerably larger vehicle. The clever space concept of the space up!
blue - which is 1,090 kilograms "light" despite the fuel cell and
batteries - is largely due to the powertrain layout: the car's emissions-
free electric motor operates - as did the engines of the Beetle and Bulli
(Microbus) at one time - in the rear. Also housed in the rear are the
lithium-ion batteries. The high-temperature fuel cell, on the other hand,
was integrated in the front of the car.
Volkswagen is introducing the space up! blue as the third model variant
of the "New Small Family". A common design philosophy unifies the up!
concept car presented at the IAA in Germany, the space up! shown in Japan
and the space up! blue. It is characterized by a simple, clear language
of forms. The designers consciously omitted any superfluous gimmicks. As
a result, the space up! blue also exhibits a completely new harmony
between technical layout, on the one hand, and emotional design on the
Front end: Distinguishing the front end of the "New Small Family" are the
headlamps that take an inward diagonal line, between them the
horizontally integrated air inlets (minimized aperture optimizes
aerodynamics), the VW logo arranged on the front hood (as the only
exterior detail kept in chrome) and the smooth-surfaced bumper with a
Side profile: On its sides, the concept car - like the Samba bus in
earlier days - exhibits a long extended window section, additional roof
windows and a clearly distinctive, powerful C-pillar whose form is
typical of Volkswagen. The A-pillar is positioned far forward.
The space between the A and C pillars is spanned by the line of butterfly
doors with opposing hinges. Both the front and rear doors are opened by
door handles at the height of the imaginary B pillars. Since the doors
open in opposition and extend across nearly the entire space between the
wheel housings - i.e. the entire sill length - all four seating positions
are exceptionally convenient to access. A key concept here is wheel
housings: Hidden under them are the self-confident and large 18-inch
wheels with low rolling resistance tires sized 165/50. Distinctive in
this area are the short front and rear overhangs. The front overhang,
from the axle hub to the outer skin of the bumper measures just
53 centimeters; in the rear it is 59 centimeters. The result: crisp
Rear end: Also unmistakable are the design features of the rear end. Take
the example of the rear door: It fills out practically the entire car
area above the bumper. Similar to the smaller up!, the door - split
1/3 to 2/3 - consists of a transparent material. Integrated beneath it
are the taillights. Fully opened, the door offers a cargo width of
101 centimeters. The bumper itself was designed to match its counterpart
at the front end.
Thanks to the wide track width of 1.42 meters (55.9 inches), the outer
edges of the wheels line up with the wheel housings. The effect is that
the entire vehicle width of 1.63 meters seems to consist of axles plus
tires and wheels. Meanwhile, the only details that boldly jump outside of
the vehicle width are the round-shaped outside mirrors.
The space up! blue is a full-fledged four-seater that is extremely
comfortable, even on long trips. The reason: The cushions of the four
seats - for driver, front and rear passengers - consist of an airflow
foam that automatically adapts to individual anatomies. In addition, the
seating position is pleasantly high, making it extremely comfortable.
Despite the extensive powertrain equipment, no compromises are made in
the amount of space offered compared to versions with "normal" internal
combustion engines: interior height (measured between the seat surface
and car headliner) is 40.6 inches in front and 40 inches in the rear.
With the exception of the driver's seat, all seats can also be folded and
removed. If the seats are "only" folded, this creates a level cargo area
with a capacity of up to 1,005 liters. With four people on board, cargo
capacity up to the height of the window sill is still 220 liters.
Since the car's cockpit was conceived as a module to be applied across
all models of the "New Small Family", the cockpit unit was adopted
completely from concept cars presented in Frankfurt and Tokyo, with just
slight modifications. An instrument panel that offers up everything at a
glance: in detail, the space up! blue has two central displays. In the
cockpit, an 8-inch monitor displays information such as vehicle speed,
battery reserves, hydrogen volume and range. In the middle of the
instruments a 7-inch monitor shows how future human-machine interfaces
might look and operate. Here all conceivable functions are controlled via
a touchscreen that - using proximity sensors - reacts to gestures as
well, i.e. specific hand movements.
Menuing was retooled and reorganized so that people without computer
science educations can operate the system. The engineers intentionally
separated "display" and "control" levels from one another. Always shown
on the screen is a control bar with standard functions such as climate
control and audio volume control. Developers packaged functions of other
higher- order systems - navigation, telephone, radio, images, films, etc.
- on a display level that has been referred to internally as the "main
menu carousel" - a type of virtual carousel. It consists of the icons of
different system functions (telephone, navigation, etc.). When the user
touches the "main menu carousel" it can be rotated by touchscreen.
Visually, this control is just as spectacular as it is intuitive. When
the desired function appears on the main menu carousel - such as the
telephone - the user just needs to move his or her hand to the display to
switch to the telephone menu thanks to proximity sensor technology. Just
like on the two members of the New Small Family already presented, this
fact applies to the space up! blue too: the new type of user control is
fun, easy to understand in any cultural environment and very safe. That
is precisely what is typical of Volkswagen.
For further information:
For further information: Patrick Saint-Pierre, (905) 428-5858,