2014 Volkswagen e-up!

2014 Volkswagen e‑up!

By Arthur Demi via Volkswagen

VW e-up!

Driving

The new e-up! is first and foremost a Volkswagen. And that means that like all other versions of this specialist city car the electrically powered version is also fully intuitive to drive, reliable and extremely safe. A few things, of course, are different, including how it is driven. First off: electric vehicles always have automatic transmission – with one forward and one reverse gear.

Ready to drive

Clear to go. Everything begins as it always begins. Get in, buckle up, foot on the brake, start the motor. In cars with internal combustion you now hear the engine, while the rev counter’s needle also shows that things are happening. In the e-up! nothing like that occurs. Although the electric motor is indeed on, it produces neither noise nor vibrations. And as for the rev counter, there is none. The e-up! signals its readiness to its driver via routines specially designed for the purpose. When the car is started and ready to go, the speedometer needle rotates once as far as it will go and then returns to the home position. The illumination of the indicators on the e-up! instrument panel is also switched on, regardless of whether the car’s outside lights are on or not. At the same time the battery charge indicator rotates to the current level and the power indicator moves from ‘Off’ to ‘0’. Last but not least, the word ‘Ready’ appears in the panel’s central display, backed up by an audible signal – the zero-emissions journey can now begin.

maps + more

Range display. The e-up! comes as standard with the portable maps + more navigation system, complete with Bluetooth hands-free facility. In the e-up! it provides numerous new functions, such as range display (‘360° range’). In this mode a map of the surrounding region shows the radius of the area that can be reached with the current level of charge. Here too there are several different functions: ‘One-way range’ (route in one direction), ‘Range including return’ (route there and back) and ‘Combined’ (both range options).

Charging stations via POI. Whenever a destination is entered into the navigation system the driver is informed (via a newly devised range warning system) whether the distance is possible with the current level of battery charge; if not, appropriate stops can be scheduled via the charging stations shown in the points of interest (POIs). A single, one-way route thus becomes a multi-stop route. Drivers are also able to save their own and new charging stations on the system and thus integrate these into their route planning.

Cleverly managed. Among the other maps + more functions and displays specific to the e-up! are the power flow and regenerative braking display and an e-manager. Using the e-manager, drivers can pre-programme the charge start time and climate control pre-conditioning (switching on the parking heater in winter or parking ventilation in summer for up to 30 minutes; if not plugged into a charger for up to 10 minutes). The advantage of having the car’s interior warmed up or cooled down while the battery is being charged (apart from the added comfort) is that you do not affect the battery’s charge level by any initial heating or cooling before starting up. As a result the battery’s full range is available to you as you start your journey.

Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote

App for the e-up!. Using the ‘Car-Net e-Remote’ app it is also possible to make the most of these settings and information requests via a smartphone or the Car-Net website. In detail the app contains the following functions:

  • Programming of the departure time – Functions scheduled according to the departure time include the park heater/ventilation function; it is started at a specific time that depends on the outdoor temperature, so that the desired interior temperature is reached by the programmed departure time.
  • Climate control – Starting and stopping the parking heater/ventilation function, plus display of the outside temperature and the target temperature for the car’s interior. As outlined above, the heating or ventilation is done via stationary climate adjustment during the charging process without putting any drain on the battery. And that extends the range.
  • Charging the battery – Starting and stopping the charging process, indicating charger connection status, charge status, charge progress, charge level, charge start time and range;
  • Accessing vehicle data – Information display relating to individual journeys (single trips or long term), such as kilometres driven, journey time, electric motor power consumption, power consumption of other consumers such as air conditioning and radio, use of regenerative braking;
  • Vehicle status queries – Doors and boot locked, lights (on/off), charging cable plugged in, position where the e-up! was last parked (GPS position on a map).

One year free. With the purchase of an e-up! the online service is included free for a year. Any paid-for extension thereafter is optional. The Volkswagen ‘Car-Net e-Remote’ app will be available from the time of the e-up! launch. It is available for the iPhone and the Android operating system. All services will also be available to registered customers online on the same terms. The link to the app: www.volkswagen.com/car-net.

Range

A question of style. The other specific functions of the e-up! used while driving the car are practically self-explanatory. You have to think of the car’s ‘tank’ as a battery filled with electrical power that empties during the journey. The faster you drive or the more you accelerate, the greater the amount of power consumed. However, as the driver you have considerable influence over this level of consumption and thus over the range. The e-up! is able to switch off temporarily unneeded consumers and in general to transform kinetic energy – produced when coasting or by braking – into electrical energy and to store it in the battery.

Two economy profiles: ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’. The range and power economy of the e-up! can be varied in several ways. For one via three different driving style profiles: standard mode (automatically on), ‘Eco’ and ‘Eco+’ (activated via buttons in front of the automatic transmission’s gear lever knob). Anyone nipping around travelling short distances, will stay in standard mode.

  • Eco. For drivers wanting to extend the range, the first option is the ‘Eco’ mode. In this case the e-motor’s maximum power output is pared back from 60 to 50 kW and pull-away torque reduced from 210 to 167 Nm. In parallel the electronics reduce the power of the air conditioning and modify the accelerator pedal response curve (as the driver pushes down on it, the power is called off in a flatter curve). Acceleration (0-100 km/h) extends as a consequence from 12.4 to 15.0 seconds; top speed drops from 130 to 115 km/h.
  • Eco+. In ‘Eco+’ mode the e-up! uses the battery’s power extremely economically. Maximum output now gets reduced to 40 kW and pull-away torque to 133 Nm. At the same time the electronics switch off the air conditioning and make the accelerator pedal response curve even flatter. Top speed in ‘Eco+’ mode is 90 km/h, thus still allowing a relaxed driving style along country roads and in built-up areas.
  • Regenerative braking – D1, D2, D3 and B. As well as via the driving style modes, the range of the e-up! can be also influenced via the regenerative braking function. There are no fewer than five levels available: ‘D’ (regeneration only when using the brake), ‘D1’, D2’, ‘D3’ and ‘B’. The number of levels is in no way too much for the driver to handle – it leads instead in the e-up! to a new way of driving, as regenerative braking can be used to slow the car down. Used in an anticipatory way, regenerative braking thus replaces use of the brake pedal in many situations. However, if the battery is fully charged, no energy regeneration takes place. In this case, the braking power also reduces, which the driver can feel intuitively. It works like this:
  • D. The e-up! starts by default in the ‘D’ setting – in this setting there is deceleration kinetically induced through rolling resistance as soon as the driver’s foot is taken off the accelerator (‘coasting’), but no recovery of brake energy takes place. Whenever the driver ‘steps off the power’, though, or when the e-up! is going downhill it rolls perfectly. And that too reduces consumption. When the e-up! is slowed down fairly sharply via the hydraulic brake system it does, however, recover brake energy even in the ‘D’ setting.
  • D1, D2, D3. If the traffic becomes more congested (especially therefore in urban areas) or the road becomes more winding, the regenerative braking settings are available to the driver. The regenerative and thus the braking intensity increases across the four levels: D1, D2, D3 and B. When regenerative braking is used at level ‘D2’ or above the brake lights therefore automatically come on. For regenerative braking the electric motor changes into generator mode in order to be able to supply the recovered electrical power to the battery. In gear lever setting ‘D’ the driver simply taps the gear lever knob to the left to switch to ‘D1’ (1x), ‘D2’ (2x) or ‘D3’ (3x). Tapping the knob to the right moves down the D levels. If the gear lever is pushed to the right and briefly held there, the electronics switch in one jump back to ‘D’.
  • B. In order to utilise maximum deceleration (40 kW at 100 km/h) in the ‘B’ setting (B = Brake), the gear knob needs to be clicked backwards towards the handbrake. If the driver’s foot is now taken off the accelerator pedal, he or she will feel the car slowing down as if the brake had been applied. In urban traffic with sufficient room ahead the car can be slowed to a standstill in this way. The fact is that drivers get used to the regenerative braking function very quickly and use it, above all in the ‘B’ setting, as a substitute for slowing down by applying the brake.

Volkswagen has developed specifically for the e-up! an electromechanical brake servo. This optimises the driver’s braking force in the same way that brake servos do in conventional cars. In the case of the electromechanical brake servo, however, this happens via what is known as ‘brake blending’ – a process in which low levels of deceleration are produced solely through the e-motor’s braking torque. Stronger deceleration, meanwhile, is achieved through joint braking torque from the electric motor and the hydraulic brake system.

Handling and ride

Maximum torque. The e-up! is powered by a 60 kW / 82 PS electric motor, which is installed at the front in the engine compartment. The motor delivers its maximum output at full acceleration; continuous output during steady driving is 40 kW / 54 PS. Both output levels are available within a range of 2,800 to 12,000 rpm. It is meanwhile from a standing start (up to 2,800 rpm) that the motor delivers its maximum torque of 210 newton metres. The very high level of torque for a small car and, as mentioned above, the fact that it is available right from the off has a major influence on the driving experience, as the car ‘feels’ as though it is being powered by an engine with a large cubic capacity and much more power.

Performance. After 4.9 seconds the e-up! is going at a speed of 60 km/h; within 12.4 seconds it’s 100 km/h. In 10.5 seconds it accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h. By way of comparison: the most powerful e-up! fitted with a conventional engine delivering 55 kW / 75 PS accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 13.2 seconds; in relation to elasticity (80 to 120 km/h) the figure in fourth gear is 15.5 seconds. The comparison shows that the e-up! blows away prejudiced views about the performance of electric cars.

As quiet as a premium car. One totally new aspect of the e-up! is the level of background noise inside the car, as the e-motor, a ‘permanently excited synchronous motor’, works away almost in silence. The e-up! also has especially good sound insulation, while the aerodynamic honing of the car body further reduces wind noise.

Optimised handling. The e-up! weighs 1,139 kg; 230 kg of that is accounted for by the lithium-ion battery, which with its rating of 18.7 kWh provides the e-motor with power. The ‘normal’ up! with a petrol engine is already an agile car with easy handling. The fact, however, that the battery of the e-up! lies flat within the floor of the car – arranged in space-saving manner in the area of the (non-existent) central tunnel and beneath the front and back seats – lowers the car’s centre of gravity and gives the handling around corners, especially in combination with the high level of peak torque, an even crisper feel.

Charging

Plugs, wall box and charging stations. It is a remarkable feeling at first that petrol stations are now just somewhere to check your tyres’ air pressure or to top up the windscreen washer. At the end of the day, or sometimes during it as well, you simply plug the e-up! into the mains. That becomes almost as much second nature as plugging in your smartphone to recharge it at night. Albeit that with the e-up! there are several different ways in which you can recharge the high-voltage battery.

  • Mains socket. The Volkswagen is equipped as standard with a mains charging cable, which you plug into a conventional domestic alternating current (AC) socket. If it is completely flat, the battery is then fully charged again within around nine hours.
  • Wall box. Available from Volkswagen’s partner as an optional extra for the garage or car port is a wall box, which charges the battery at a power level of 3.6 kW (rather than the lower level of 2.3 kW via a mains socket). Charged in this way the battery would be 100 per cent recharged after six hours – if it had previously been completely flat. Batteries that are not completely drained take less time to recharge.
  • Alternating current charging stations. As via a wall box, there are also public charging stations that ‘refuel’ batteries at a power level of 3.6 kW. This is done using an optional cable for AC charging stations.
  • CCS charging stations. As a new car the e-up! can also be prepared for the combined charging system (CCS) using a DC power supply. This option includes a CCS socket as the interface on the car (on the right in the area of the original fuel cap). In this case the battery gets recharged via CCS charging stations at a power level of up to 40 kW. The cable needed for this is part of the charging station. Using this option the battery is back to a charge level of 80 per cent after just 30 minutes.

Plug-in connections – clean and easy. Unlike refuelling with petrol, recharging the battery is a clean affair. Switch off the motor, connect the charging socket on the vehicle to a normal mains socket, a wall box or a charging station via the cable and you’re all done! The charging process starts automatically. Unlocking the e-up! via the central locking remote control terminates the charging process. Only then can the charging cable be pulled out. An LED to the side of the charging socket indicates the status of the charging process. In practice it will also be the ‘Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote’ app, via which drivers check whether the e-up! is fully recharged – as the information will have been sent wirelessly from car to smartphone!

Volkswagen e-up!

Under the bonnet

In the new e-up! the compact electric motor (60 kW / 82 PS), the lithium-ion battery integrated into the floor between the axles and the power electronics form the hub of the car’s drive system. The electric motor’s power is transferred to the front wheels via a single-speed gearbox. The gearbox and electric motor are both made at Volkswagen components plants.

Zero-emission efficiency. Locally – and in general with green electricity on board – the e-up! (categorised in efficiency class A+) produces no emissions. With average consumption of 11.7 kWh/100 km, the new e-up! is also the most energy-efficient electric car on the market. In the NEDC cycle, this thus produces a maximum range of between 120 and 160 km; the range may lie below these values in very cold outdoor temperatures. The pioneering efficiency of the e-up! is attributable in part to a cw value of 0.308 (very good for a car of this size and 4 per cent lower than that of the take up!) and to optimised roll resistance (7 per cent lower). Also playing their part are the generally energy-efficient drive system components and the numerous new equipment modules, which consume very little power. The new, innovative features include here the air conditioning’s intelligent controls and the entire high-voltage system. With a kerb weight of 1,139 kg, the e-up! is also very light despite the battery.

Electric motor and gearbox

12,000 rpm. The electric motor produces a continuous output of 40 kW / 54 PS (2,800 to 12,000 rpm). The maximum output available (also at 2,800 to 12,000 rpm) is, as mentioned above, 60 kW / 82 PS. Straight from a standing start the motor delivers maximum pull-away torque of 210 Nm (up to 2,800 rpm).

Synchronous motor. To be precise the e-up! motor is a permanently excited synchronous motor (PSM) with a single-speed gearbox optimised for minimum friction. The drive unit was developed in close collaboration between the Technical Development Division in Wolfsburg and the development departments of the Volkswagen components factories in Kassel and Hanover. The stator (stationary electromagnet), the permanent magnet rotor and the gearbox are made at the Kassel plant, while the foundry at the Hanover plant provides the complex motor housing fitted with a cooling jacket.

Greater efficiency. During the development process the electric motor’s efficiency was repeatedly optimised via diverse technical enhancements. For the start of full production of the e-up! Volkswagen has thus been able to achieve a level of efficiency that ranks as ‘best in class’. In general the level of efficiency of electric motors is around 90 per cent and thus clearly above that of internal combustion engines. By virtue of the fact that the electric motor and the gearbox have been integrated with very high quality intermeshing inside a single housing unit, the drive system is also particularly quiet and compact. The gearbox itself has, as mentioned, a single fixed forwards gear. To go into reverse, the electric motor’s polarity simply gets switched around. In other words, the motor revolves in the opposite direction. The driver selects, as usual, modes ‘D’ or ‘R’ and, of course, ‘N’ (neutral) or ‘P’ (park). Further components contained in the gearbox include, in addition to the differential, the motor shaft, which revolves at very high speed (12,000 rpm), and the mechanical parking brake, constructed in extraordinarily lightweight fashion.

Lithium-ion battery

204 cells in 17 modules. The lithium-ion battery fitted in the e-up! weighs 230 kg and is made up of 17 modules, each with 12 cells. These 204 cells add up to a rated voltage of 374 V and rated power of 18.7 kWh. At peak level the cells provide an effective power output of 75 kW and over a continual period 35 kW. The battery, which is 1,726 mm long, 1,132 mm wide and at its highest point 303 mm high, has been integrated, as already indicated, in space-saving fashion within the floor of the e-up!. Compared to other lithium-ion cells (e.g. from the field of consumer electronics), the battery system’s cells are particularly resistant to heat and cold, meaning that no separate battery cooling or heating is required. Like the electric motor and the gearbox, the battery system, battery electronics and the relevant control software were also developed in house at Volkswagen.

Power electronics

Energy flow interface. Another central element of the drive system is what is known as the power electronics. This complex module weighs 10.5 kg in the e-up! and, acting as the link, controls the flow of high-voltage power between the e-motor and the lithium-ion battery (depending on battery voltage between 296 and up to 418 V). In doing so the power electronics convert the direct current (DC) stored in the battery into alternating current (AC) and use this to drive the motor. Via a DC/AC converter it also supplies the vehicle power circuit with a voltage of 12 V. The modules of the power electronics (LE 2.3) used in the e-up! include the motor inverter control circuit board, the DC/DC converter, a DC link capacitor and a controller board.

Phase and traction cables. The power electronics module is connected to the e-motor via the sort of yellow-and-orange three-phase cable typical for electric vehicles. The connection to the lithium-ion battery is established via two traction cables.

Direct current becomes alternating current. In respect of the all-controlling power electronics a distinction has to be made between two fundamentally different modes in which the e-motor operates: motor mode (propulsion) and generator mode (regenerative braking). In motor mode the power electronics use high-power transistors to convert the direct current (DC) stored in the battery into three-phase alternating current (AC). In generator mode, meanwhile, the alternating current is rectified for charging the battery. In this scenario the power electronics are like a kind of valve that let the electrical current flow only towards the battery that is to be recharged. This maximum phase current of the power electronics is limited in the e-up! to 385 A.

High voltage becomes vehicle power circuit voltage. As mentioned above, the 2.5-kW DC/DC converter integrated into the power electronics is responsible for supplying the vehicle’s 12-V power circuit and thus works like a transformer. The 12-V power circuit and the high-voltage circuit are completely separate from each other in the vehicle. Also included in the power electronics are the controller for running the management software and a CAN interface for communication with control devices. Last but not least, the power electronics module dampens the effects of any sudden loading of the drive system (for instance, at moments of sudden acceleration) by regulating the torque accordingly.

Electromechanical brake servo

A fusion of brake system and motor brake. Electric cars are essentially equipped with two brake systems independent of each other: on the one hand, as in conventional cars, a mechanical, hydraulically operated brake system is there to slow the car down. At the same time, however, the e-motor acts when recovering energy as a motor brake. These two types of braking now blend together in the e-up! thanks to the electromechanical brake servo.

The brake servo’s task. Regardless of regeneration mode (‘D1’, ‘D2’, ‘D3’ or ‘B’), when operating as a generator the electric motor generates a degree of braking torque on the wheels – dependent on its speed and the battery’s temperature and charge level. The variable parameters – motor speed and battery status – lead to fluctuating levels of electric braking. These fluctuations need to be hydraulically compensated and the degree of deceleration matched in this way to the braking performance called for by the driver. The management of the brake system required for this is called brake blending and is achieved via the new electromechanical brake servo. Volkswagen has succeeded here in its primary aim of making maximum utilisation of the e-motor’s potential to slow down the e-up! in order to increase its range.

Less wear on the brakes. As the majority of braking processes involve only minor or moderate deceleration and are therefore executed without any wear via the e- motor, the electric system helps to keep the ‘normal’ brakes in top condition longer.

The Features

Volkswagen has developed a range of features and design elements specifically for the e-up!. As a result the electric car is quickly identifiable as such. The quality and range of features correspond, insofar as they are comparable, with the range’s highest specification, the high up!. In addition, however, the e-up! also includes rear doors, air conditioning, heated windscreen, maps + more and the Car-Net app as standard. Furthermore, as outlined at the start, numerous features have been specifically created for the e-up!. Examples include the LED daytime driving light’s new signature look, bespoke alloy wheels, a very brightly designed interior (with beige trim for the bottom section of the dashboard, door panel inserts and centre console) and functions specifically programmed for the e-up! for the maps + more multimedia/navigation system, which comes fitted as standard.

Exterior

Four doors and LED daytime running lights. The e-up! is being sold as a four-door car. The city motoring specialist is 3,540 mm long, 1,645 mm wide (excluding wing mirrors) and 1,475 mm in height. A striking identifying feature at the front of the car is the curved arrangement of the LED daytime running lights within the bumper – their signature look will become the identifying feature of all Volkswagen electric cars. Also typical for the zero-emission vehicles: the VW logo on a blue background. The top motor vent – a strip between the headlights and the VW badge – is completely enclosed on the e-up! by an elegant chrome bar. That is because narrow air intakes above and below the number plate are quite adequate for the drive system in the e-up!. Meanwhile, beneath the rear hatch curved reflectors create a stylistic link with the ‘e-signature’ of the LED daytime running lights at the front. A bright rim around the third brake light also forms one of the features specific to the e-up!. The electric car is furthermore fitted as standard with 15-inch alloys in the new ‘Blade’ design, tyres (dimensions 165/65) optimised for low rolling resistance, heat-absorbing windows in the back (heavily tinted to the rear of the B pillars) and skirt extensions in the vehicle body colour. Meanwhile, to the left of the rear hatch and beneath the door mirrors the wording ‘e-up!’ indicates the car’s electrically powered status.

Six colours. The colours available for the e-up! are two plain colours, ‘blue’ and ‘pure white’, plus four metallic shades, ‘light silver’, ‘dark silver’, ‘dark blue’ and ‘black pearl’.

Interior

Bright trim, blue seams. Within the spacious interior (four seats and 250 to 923 litres of luggage space) it is details such as the bespoke seat covers that underline the technically clear character of the e-up!. The seats are covered as standard with fabric in the middle and faux leather on the side supports. The pattern is called ‘grid’. In each instance the seams are in ‘e-blue’. The seat designs, which are also available in darker colours, are enhanced by the light-coloured trim for the bottom section of the dashboard, the door panel inserts and the centre console. The dash pad (the upper part of the dashboard) can be ordered in ‘blue’, ‘pure white’, ‘dark silver’ or ‘black pearl’. The painted areas of the door panels, meanwhile, are always in the same colour as the car’s exterior. The blue decorative seams around the leather steering wheel, the hand brake lever and the gear lever correspond to the basic colours.

High-tech features. Also part of the standard specification are features such as height adjustment for the driver’s seat, a rear seatback that can be split 40:60 and folded down, chrome rims for numerous controls and instruments (speedometer, centre console panel, inside door handles and light switches), driver profile selection, automatic climate control (Climatronic), radio with CD player (incl. MP3) and 2 x 20-watt music output, maps + more (incl. mobile 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth smartphone interface and live services), Car-Net e-Remote (app for remote control and access to diverse vehicle functions and info), the multifunction display, heated front seats and windscreen, central locking and electric front windows.

Optional features

‘drive pack plus’ for added safety. The list of additional features for the e-up! is simple and short, as the zero-emission city motoring specialist is already equipped as standard with all key convenience, functional and safety features. The array of equipment provided with this innovative Volkswagen car can, however, be extended through the addition of optional extras such as ‘sound plus’ (loudspeakers in the back), ‘drive pack plus’ (cruise control, ParkPilot and City Emergency Braking), door tread plates in the front with ‘e-up!’ wording, floor mats with blue stitching, a panoramic tilt/slide sunroof, variable cargo floor, winter and all-year tyres and the CCS socket for fast charging (all depending on the market).

(VW Press Release)