Seven commuter journeys in a row. With up to 260 km of range in real driving situations, the upgraded e-up! is an all-rounder for short and medium distances. The compact city specialist can take on the 35 kilometres that the average commuter in Germany travels to and from work every day, seven times in a row without recharging. What’s more, it can even manage the journey from Frankfurt to Düsseldorf without stopping.
The new lithium-ion battery is crucial to this long range: it offers 32.3 kWh of usable energy capacity, which corresponds to 36.8 kWh gross – almost twice as much as its predecessor (18.7 kWh gross). The developers of the e-up! have changed the battery cell concept, moving from prismatic battery cells to pouch battery cells that have a flexible outer shell made of aluminium-coated plastic. The lithium-ion technology used guarantees high energy density and a long service life; the cells can deliver and receive current continuously and reproducibly across wide variations in temperature and charge status. This increased energy density and spatial improvements mean that the volume of the battery has even been reduced by around 20 litres.
The new battery system integrates 168 pouch battery cells, collected into modules of twelve. The 14 modules are formed into two blocks: a flat long one under the front seats and a short high one under the rear bench seat. Including all controllers, fuses and connections, the complete system weighs 248 kg – just 15 kg more than its predecessor. The battery guarantee provided by Volkswagen extends over eight years or 160,000 km.
Compact with high efficiency. The other components in the high-voltage drive train remain virtually unchanged. Power and control electronics convert the direct current of the battery into three-phase current for the electric motor, and perform the opposite function during brake energy recuperation. The PSM electric motor (permanently excited synchronous motor) is compact and achieves a high degree of efficiency. It delivers 40 kW of continuous power and 61 kW of peak power (54/83 PS), and from stationary it delivers full starting torque of 212 Nm. A single-speed gearbox transmits forces to the front axle; it is produced in a Volkswagen component factory, just as the electric motor and the high-voltage battery are.
Three driving strategies to choose from. The upgraded e-up! consumes just 12.9 – 12.7 kWh of energy per 100 km. In Germany, where a kilowatt hour has an average cost of 30.5 cents (as of autumn 2019), that means less than €4 for 100 km of travel. This high efficiency is achieved by means of several factors: a low kerb weight of 1,160 kg (without driver), optimised rolling resistance tyres, and great aerodynamics. The drag coefficient is only 0.31 – low for such a compact vehicle.
In the revamped e-up! drivers can choose between three driving profiles: standard mode, and the Eco and Eco+ programmes, which are activated via buttons. In Eco mode, drive management reduces engine output to 50 kW (68 PS) and torque to 167 Nm; maximum speed is reduced to 115 km/h, and air conditioning is switched off. Eco+ mode makes the e-up! even more economical in use, limiting output to 40 kW (54 PS) of power, 133 Nm of torque and a top speed of 90 km/h.
Driving characteristics can be further influenced in terms of brake energy recuperation performed by the electric motor. The driver can choose from five modes using the selector lever: D, D1, D2, D3 and B. Depending on the mode selected, brake energy recuperation replaces conventional braking in many situations. In D mode the vehicle continues to roll freely when the driver releases the right pedal. B mode is at the other end of the scale, displaying the reverse behaviour: in this mode the revamped e-up! recovers maximum energy in overrun – it can be as much as 40 kW at 100 km/h.
In modes from D1 to B, many light to medium braking operations are performed solely by the electric motor. The hydraulic wheel brakes, which are controlled by an electromechanical brake booster (e-BKV), are only activated when the driver presses hard on the brake pedal – with a deceleration of about 0.3 g or more. The transition between electric and conventional braking – known as blending – is harmonious, and the brake pedal can always be applied in precise increments.
The standard multifunction display in the instrument cluster displays all the information that is important for electric driving, including the selected driving modes and energy recovery levels, fuel consumption values, range and active charging processes.
Driving pleasure meets safety. The revamped e-up! is an agile vehicle. In standard mode, it accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 11.9 seconds – half a second faster than its predecessor. Acceleration stops at 130 km/h in order to preserve the range. The lithium-ion battery is ideally positioned under the vehicle floor, where it ensures balanced axle-load distribution and a low centre of gravity – both promoting handling that is nimble and, at the same time, safe. The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) integrates Hill Start Assist.
Passive safety is also a high priority. The battery system integrates a crossbeam that reinforces the outer shell and protects passengers in the event of a side collision. Airbags for the driver and front passenger, along with two curtain airbags and side airbags are fitted as standard, as is the new Lane Assist lane keeping system. At speeds over 65 km/h, this assistance system can detect whether the vehicle is unintentionally departing from its lane, in which event it intervenes with corrective steering actions.
A charging time of just one hour using direct current. The revamped e-up! is charged using alternating current. When charging at a 7.2 kW power connection, an empty lithium-ion battery returns to 80% SOC (state of charge) in just over four hours. The type 2 charging cable required for this is available as standard. Volkswagen subsidiary company Elli (Electric Life) is offering new ID.Charger wall boxes for home charging, with even the cheapest of these delivers 7.2 kW of power. Volkswagen Naturstrom® is also available from Elli. This is power obtained 100% from renewable sources – at present mainly hydropower plants in Germany and neighbouring countries, such as Austria and Switzerland. When it is used to power the e-up! the vehicle is not only locally emissions-free, but also globally.
The We Connect app with e-Remote provides even more convenience when charging. Owners of the revamped e-up! can use the app to program their desired departure times and thereby ensure that they always set out with a full battery. It is also easy to control air conditioning – the heating and cooling of the vehicle interior – remotely from the settee while the vehicle is parked. This function is active during the charging process so that no electrical range is lost. The We Connect app also allows remote access to the vehicle status (parking position, lights and similar) and driving data.
Upon request, the upgraded e-up! includes a CCS charging connection (Combined Charging System) in the charging socket flap above the right rear wheel, enabling it to be recharged with direct current at public charging stations. With the 40 kW of power supplied at these stations, an empty battery can be 80% recharged in 60 minutes.
Owners of the revamped e-up! in Germany can use the Charge&Fuel card and app, and in future the We Charge app too, making it possible to charge the vehicle at numerous charging stations and to be billed online for usage. The Volkswagen Group and its partners will install around 36,000 charging stations throughout Europe by 2025 – 11,000 of which will be installed by the Volkswagen brand alone. These will mainly be found at Volkswagen sites. The Group is also a driving force behind the IONITY fast charging network, which will build 400 charging parks along Europe’s major motorways by the end of next year.