Volkswagen Nils concept car revealed

* Single-seat electric car unveiled * Range 40 miles, top speed 80pmh * Similar to Audi's Urban Concept...

Volkswagen Nils concept car revealed

This is Volkswagen's Nils Research Vehicle a single-seat electric car that will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show.

Volkswagen says the NILS shares the same basic body layout as a Formula One racing car where the driver sits in the middle, the engine at the back and the wheels protrude from the narrow body. If it looks vaguely familiar, sister company Audi will be unveiling the Urban Concept its take on the single-seat electric car also at the Frankfurt show.

The Nils is 3.04metres long, 50cm shorter than the Volkswagen Up. While the car is 1.36metres wide, wheel to wheel, the cabin is just 86cm wide.

Volkswagen says that the car's dinky dimensions and light weight 460kg will make it agile and fun to drive.

The Nils has a 15kW electric motor that's powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. For short periods power can be boosted to 25kW. The batteries can be recharged in two hours.

It has a top speed of 81mph, and Volkswagen claims it will reach 62mph in under 11 seconds. It has a range of about 40 miles, which is more than enough for most commutes, says Volkswagen.

'Nils is anything but a dry-run exercise,' said VW chief Dr Ulrich Hackenberg. 'It is very realistic. Those viewing this concept car can look far into the future of our brand and of the automobile itself.

'The concept fulfils all safety requirements for contemporary vehicles, so commuters would not only drive in an eco-friendly way, but would also be very safe in this car.'

The car has a strong aluminium spaceframe body and comes fitted with Electronic Stability Control, City Emergency Braking where the car will automatically apply the brakes if a crash is imminent and Automatic Distance Control, which will keep the car at a set distance of a vehicle in front and automatically adjust the speed if traffic conditions change.