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Volkswagen Unveils 'Driverless' EV Concept Van

November 30, 2011

Volkswagen Group Research recently unveiled its electric-powered eT! vehicle at the Design Center in Potsdam, Germany. The concept vehicle, designed for the delivery/logistics fleet market, grew out of a research project in which Volkswagen collaborated closely with the German Post Office (Deutsche Post AG) and the University of Art at Braunschweig.

The vehicle features electric wheel hub motors and can drive semi-automatically on command.

"We analyzed process flows and customer needs in detail, and from these analyses we derived ideas on how the segment of delivery and courier vehicles could be further developed over the long term,” explained Dr. Jürgen Leohold, director of Volkswagen Group Research.

Volkswagen views the eT! as a building block for future automotive concepts for the commercial fleet market.

The all-electric Volkswagen eT! concept delivery van
The all-electric Volkswagen eT! concept delivery van

“Naturally, the eT! is not a vehicle which – unlike the Golf or up! with an electric motor – could become available very soon,” said Dr. Rudolf Krebs, group manager for electric traction at Volkswagen AG. “But we must make plans today for what the world of lightweight commercial vehicles might look like starting in the second half of this decade, including with regard to electrical drives."

The concept car can follow the delivery person from house to house ("Follow me"), or return to the delivery person on command ("Come to me") – driverless, Volkswagen said.

As an alternative, the driver can direct the car’s movements via a “drive stick” from the passenger’s side that also offers a standing seat and quick access to the vehicle. On the passenger’s side – the side that faces the sidewalk – there is an electric-powered sliding door that opens to two different stages. This enables quick entry into the vehicle as well as quick access to mail packages.

To learn more about this concept/research vehicle, click here.

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