- Volkswagen NILS Concept ahead of Frankfurt IAA
- 4 Porsche qualify in top 5 for 24 Hours of Zolder
- 54 vehicles for Volkswagen at the 2011 IAA
Posted: 01 Sep 2011 11:06 AM PDT
NILS, a single-seat electric concept vehicle that offers a glimpse of a new form of minimalist mobility, has been unveiled ahead of its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month. This concept car – which features an aluminum space frame, wing doors and free-standing wheels – has the dynamic performance of a sports car, yet travels silently, and with zero emissions.
The NILS project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, and is designed to be both technically realistic and economically supportable.
‘NILS anticipates the future. The goal of the NILS project is to research a technically concrete and economically feasible vehicle concept for micro-mobility which restructures individual transportation to make it more efficient and environmentally compatible based on electric drive technology,’ said Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the Board of Management and Head of Development for the Volkswagen Brand.
With a range of 65 kilometers (40 miles) and a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph) NILS would be the ideal vehicle for the majority of commuters in Germany. According to the German Bureau of Statistics, 73.9 per cent of all commuters residing between Berlin and Munich cover less than 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) on their way to work.
Cars have always been mirrors of their times – their design styles and technological standards reflecting a particular era – and NILS is no different. It uses emissions-reducing electric drive technology to fulfill the specific requirements of commuters. In Germany, for example, about 60 per cent of all commuters travel by car, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics; of these over 90 per cent travel alone. Zero-emissions vehicles like NILS will offer these frequent drivers a new eco-friendly mobility solution.
NILS is a very compact car that requires extremely little space in traffic. It is only 3.04 meters long – making it about 50 cm shorter than the new Volkswagen up! – just 0.39 meters wide from wheel to wheel, and a mere 1.2 meters tall.
NILS has the same basic layout as a Formula 1 race car, with the driver in the middle, the engine in back, and free-standing outboard wheels. The 17-inch alloy wheels are equipped with 115/80 (front) and 125/80 (rear) tires optimized for low rolling resistance.
Though its inspiration may come from Formula 1, the styling has its origins at the Volkswagen Design Centre in Potsdam, Berlin. Designer Thomas Ingenlath, the centre’s director, said: ‘NILS was designed to make a visual statement and transport a vision of the automotive future to the present. I am especially pleased that we managed to implement the concept of the two glass wing doors. This allowed us to create large transparent surfaces and simultaneously to make entering and exiting the vehicle very comfortable, even in the most cramped of parking spaces.’
Because NILS is so compact and lightweight (460 kg), it is a lot of fun to drive. It has a top speed of 130 km/h, and can accelerate to 100 km/h in less than 11 seconds. This is achieved using an electric motor with a reasonably small 15 kW nominal power and short-term peak power of 25 kW. A lithium-ion battery supplies the electric motor with energy. The battery capacity (5.3 kWh) enables driving ranges of up to 65 km, depending on the style of driving. A battery of this size is relatively inexpensive, and can be charged either via a conventional 230-volt electrical outlet (maximum charging time two hours) or at an electric vehicle charging station. The socket is located at the back underneath the rear lighting module.
The centerpiece of the electric drive system is the lightweight 19 kg electric motor together with its transmission and battery. Energy management is via a high-voltage pulse inverter, which – together with the 12-Volt DC/DC converter for the vehicle electrical system and the charger – forms an integral drive unit. All drive unit components are located compactly in an aluminum housing at the rear of NILS; drive is to the rear wheels.
The motor, battery and all other components are so compact that there is still space for a small but practical bootspace. The body-coloured area above the rear lighting module swings upward, revealing space suitable for items such as a case of drinks and a bag.
Optimal weight distribution helps to ensure that NILS allows drivers not only to commute with zero emissions, but also to have fun while doing so. The lightweight NILS drives like a go-kart. The steering is purely mechanical (the low weight means power assistance is unnecessary), while the electric motor produces its maximum torque of 130 Nm from standstill, via a one-speed transmission. Suspension is by double wishbones front and rear; while ESP (Electronic Stabilization Program) helps to tame any over-exuberance on the part of the driver.
Safety is of course even more important than fun, and NILS is fitted with an automatic distance control system. This uses radar sensors to scan the space in front of the vehicle over a distance of about 200 meters and uses brake interventions to ensure that the distance to vehicles in traffic in front of the car does not drop below a specified minimum value. The system can even automatically brake the car to a stop, depending on the situation. Not only are the four disc brakes used to brake; electric traction by electric motor and battery regeneration can be used to brake as well. Last but not least, Front Assist is integrated in the automatic distance control system. This continually active system warns the driver of a potential collision; at speeds below 30 km/h (18 mph), automatic braking can avoid a collision under some circumstances.
The instrument cluster is a seven-inch TFT display. The vehicle’s speed is shown digitally in the middle, while energy flow is represented by bars. Another graphic display offers information on the driving range. The second central instrument is a mobile multifunctional device like the one used in the new up!: the Portable Infotainment Device (PID). It is snapped into the A-pillar to the right of the instrument cluster. Via touchscreen, the driver controls functions related to Navigation, Radio, Media, Telephone, Trip computer and – to preconfigure the driving range – ‘Eco. The PID computes the expected driving range, then it not only displays the route on the map display, but also the radius and thereby the destinations that can be reached using the current battery charge.
To save on weight and costs, certain functional elements and controls do without electrical assistance. The side mirrors, for example, are adjusted manually. The heating and ventilation system has full electronic control, and there is seat heating. Located to the right of the steering column is the motor start-stop switch; this round switch is also used to select D, N or R.
The aluminum space frame body was designed to be a highly effective safety cell. The body in white is produced from extruded aluminum, cast aluminum and sheet aluminum. The roof frame together with the door mounts, a roll bar, the bootspace and the front bulkhead consist of high-strength sheet aluminum. Extruded aluminum is used in the side sills, the transverse profiles and the front and rear car sections. The front and rear side body are aluminum. Parts made of high-strength plastic include the bumpers and the trim panels on the side sills.
The frames of the wing doors consist of three main elements: an inner section, a crash reinforcement section and an exterior part. When closed, they offer optimal crash safety. The door windows are made of lightweight, scratch-resistant, layered polycarbonate, while the front window is made of laminated safety glass.
The headlights are striking bi-xenon modules, while the indicator lights and daytime running lights are white and yellow LEDs. In the acrylic glass of the rear lights – integrated in the rear section like small wings – the light generated by LEDs is routed via transparent semiconductors which (appropriately for an electric vehicle) consume minimal amounts of power.
Posted: 01 Sep 2011 10:53 AM PDT
Today there was the super pole at Zolder on the program, to determine the starting order of 24 hours of Zolder. Both were on a round, ten cars in the Belcar and from the DSC who fight for pole on Saturday. The job was done by Anthony Kumpen who convincingly was fastest followed by the Prospeed Porsche and the Porsche Omni Level. Bert Lognin missed during his fastest lap the first left and go through the tank so the pole for Audi WRT went up in smoke.
Result super pole:
1. KRK Racing Mercedes
Complete report coming later
Posted: 01 Sep 2011 10:04 AM PDT
When the International Motor Show (IAA) opens its doors for the 64th time in Frankfurt on September 15, the Volkswagen brand will be present with an approx. 9,000 square meter exhibition stand in Hall 3.0. The brand will be showcasing 54 vehicles and numerous technical exhibits. Highlights include the world premiere of the brand’s new small car called the up!, innovative studies and a 30-meter “Innovation Wall” – a giant-size tablet PC. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a driving experience in a test fleet of 74 cars including nine electric-powered Golf blue-e-motion.
“The innovative and emotional side to Volkswagen will be on show at IAA 2011,” Tillmann Stauske, head of fairs and congresses at Volkswagen, said. Construction of the Volkswagen exhibition stand is currently at the crucial phase. Planning already began ten months ago. A team of 1,000 is now on site, working hard over a 25-day period to turn the visions of 14 architects into reality.
Volkswagen is showcasing 54 vehicles at the 8,893 square meter stand shaped like a cloud. The main attraction is Volkswagen’s new up!, which has its own multi-media showroom. Further models of the city specialist are on show on the shiny white “carwalks” that crisscross the stand. A DJ is in action right next to the exhibits at the approx. 500 square meter Beetle showroom which has been designed with a lounge feeling in mind. The new Golf Cabriolet and the Tiguan are also on show for visitors to take a look.
The interactive “Innovation Wall” is at the heart of the technology section of the exhibition stand. The 30-meter wall gives visitors a taste of tomorrow’s mobility as well as presenting innovative studies and alternative technologies. The giant-sized tablet PC will create virtual presentations around the real exhibits.
Innovative and appealing – these are the common themes of the multi-media stand concept. A web special for smart phones (download via www.volkswagen.de) provides visitors with information on the hall plan, the Driving Experience test fleet schedule and also has sight-seeing tips for Frankfurt. In addition, the web special functions as an audio guide – in English and German – for the up! and Beetle showrooms and in the technology section. The hosts and hostesses will be distributing around 400 headsets to visitors at the Volkswagen stand each day so that they can enjoy the benefits of the mobile motor show and travel guide.
Anyone who follows the web special route to downtown Frankfurt encounters the up! all along the way. Volkswagen’s smallest model makes a big appearance on giant banner ads and a digital screen at Frankfurt central station. For those interested in finding out more, lots of information on the latest model is available via an integrated USB interface at the up! display at Frankfurt airport.
A total of 228 hosts and hostesses and around 80 Volkswagen employees will be looking after visitors, either at the IAA 2011 stand or at the driving experience and offroad track. As Stauske says: “Volkswagen has the largest test fleet of any automaker at the IAA – 74 vehicles are lined up outside Hall 3.0. That means our guests can experience the entire Volkswagen product range – from the Polo and Golf blue-e-motion to the Touareg Hybrid.”
The Volkswagen team performed a logistical masterpiece in the run-up to the motor show: From setting up the stand architecture, through cabling up the IT system for the multi-media technology world to the light installations. Around 2,100 lamps and roughly 80 kilometers of cables were installed to create a perfect light setting for the exhibits and over 100 show elements.
The Volkswagen stand has been a popular feature at the IAA in recent years, and large crowds of automobile fans are expected this year, too. 150,000 catalogs and flyers as well as roughly 10 pallets of give-aways are ready and waiting for the visitors. There will be plenty of replenishments, too: A further five deliveries, each with 7.5 tons of material, are already scheduled.
Volkswagen stand – Facts and figures
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