A Formula 1-inspired single seater was promoted as the future of commuting by Volkswagen in Frankfurt. NILS has been designed for the solo urban commuter, after research found 90% of Germany’s commuters travel alone, and 74% commute less than 15.5 miles on their way to work.
Volkswagen says NILS’ range of 40 miles and top speed of 80 mph makes it an ideal vehicle for the majority of German commuters. The car has been designed to work best around town – at just over three metres long, its 50cm shorter than the new Volkswagen Up supermini and its width of 40cm means it’s little wider than a motor scooter.
NILS has an F1-style layout, with the driver in the middle, the engine in the back and semi-exposed outboard wheels. Power is provided by a small 15kW motor which can produce 25kW for short periods, and a 5.3kWh lithium ion battery for a range of up to 65 miles. Volkswagen says a battery of this size is relatively inexpensive, and can be charged via a conventional electrical outlet or at an electric vehicle charging station.
Despite the car’s compact dimensions, the car has a small boot, which Volkswagen describes as “practical” and the usual array of cabin storage areas.
Volkswagen says NILS is fun to drive, with no power assistance because of the car’s lack of weight and a 0-62mph time of less than 11 seconds. The concept is said to be safe too, with automatic braking through a combination of the car’s disc brakes and regenerative braking. NILS was on display a short distance from a pair of similar concepts from Audi. The Urban Concept Study showed Sportback and Spyder variants of the city car.