We are completely blown away by press releases of the VW concept van, which right now is being labelled the eco motion. Although its not unlikely that VW will take the eco motion label and apply it across a range of cars and vans rather than just the van itself. This van will be a big step forward for Eco Cars and Vans.
The van is a futuristic looking design and at this stage is only being shown in delivery van format with a some fabulous attributes. With Bejing leading the way on emissions reductions, Europe has perhaps no option but dance to the Chinese pipers tune and it has re-ignited an interest in electric vehicles to supply the Government lead demand for electric vehicles in China.
Shown at the Geneva show, the eco motions is laid out with the wheels close to the corners of the vehicle, great for manoeuvrability and stability. This is easier when electric motors are used to power a vehicle. Additionally, the latest battery packs mean that the cargo floor can be low and makes for easy loading.
VW, although releasing limited detail, have shown an electric motor with no gearbox, mounted on the rear wheels. With the front wheels wide and well forward, this makes the van easy to drive and park in a city. Initial tests indicate a turning circle of less than 9 metres, a Vauxhall Vivaro for example has a turning circle of 12 metres.
The van is expected to quite light for an electric vehicle and as a result is quite spritely with the 70bhp motor that VW are using . VW’s own steel panel plant is a leader in producing steel panels that are only a little bit heavier than aluminium , the technology being used first in the new Golf. The motor has a maximum output of 115bhp.
The Eco Motion is undoubtedly designed for city use, but with a range of 60 miles to 120 miles depending on the battery size chosen, it can obviously wander further afield, with a reduction in range but a very creditable maximum speed of 70 mph.
The payload of 800 kg will be ample for the intended market and the 4.6 cubic metre cargo volume is about average in the market.
With many plastics and use of composites in the cross members to carry the batteries, the longevity of this unit should be superb. The batteries will be some of the first to be able to be refurbished rather than recycled , this being one of the criticisms of electric vehicles. When plugged in at base, the van will have a remote control to warm the interior using on board heaters. As this is a problem in electric vehicles, they are normally better insulated than petrol or diesel equivalents to maintain the heat. It is a van which looks like it will lend itself to a finance lease, where a customer can plan to have a vehicle long term and take responsibility for servicing and repairs during the lease.