Volkswagen has released photos and background on its third up! concept, debuting today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The ugly Volkswagen Space Up Blue concept is designed as a throwback to the VW Samba Bus.

Volkswagen has released photos and background on its third up! concept, debuting today at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  The Volkswagen Space Up Blue concept is designed as a throwback to the VW Samba Bus introduced in the 50s and popularized as a hippie symbol in the 60s.

Just two inches longer than the MINI Cooper, this concept comes in at an incredibly small 144.9 inches.  Nearly two feet shorter than the Samba Bus, this car is just as slow... something which Volkswagen calls "dynamic."  Seriously, in the press release Volkswagen states, "It handles the sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) in a dynamic 13.7 seconds."  Impressive.

You may recall the first up! concept, which was shown off at Frankfurt as a potential Beetle replacement.  The second version, shown at Tokyo, was almost a foot longer than its brother, and definitely less attractive.  Both those cars had an electric and gas or diesel hybrid engine in the rear of the car.  The third edition also has its power coming from the trunk, but say good-bye to fossil fuels.

In all honesty, the third up! has some interesting technology behind it.  Comprised of a fuel cell and electric battery hybrid powertrain, the motor produces about 45 kw (60 horsepower) and 89 ft-lb of Torque.  VW hopes that one day better batteries, and more hydrogen gas stations will exist to make a product like the Space Up Blue a realistic possibility.  Using the two technologies, the concept's range is 220 miles at a top speed of 75 mph.  When running exclusively on batteries, the concept's range is reduced to 65 miles.

We're pretty sure the solar panel would help to keep the miniscule van charged on-the-fly, but Volkswagen makes almost no mention of the device's functionality.  We were fairly surprised that the concept seemingly has no energy regenerative braking system, something that should be mandatory for any vehicle running off batteries.

The Volkswagen Space Up Blue concept is fairly ugly, too.  With its boxy van shape and covert hiding places, like the retractable child safety seat, two of the editors here at WCF think this van looks a bit too much like something an energy conscious human trafficker would use when illegally transporting migrant workers.  We truly hope this thing looks better in person.

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