The study has been designed for “maximum crash safety including the battery."
Volkswagen is dead serious about its future electric plans. The automaker wants to re-position itself as a leader in the hybrid and EV segment and is working, alone or in cooperation with other companies, on several green projects.
In an otherwise boring press release highlighting the marque’s recent developments, Volkswagen has quietly presented the Gen.E research prototype – a vehicle that is telling us a lot about the brand’s electric future and could be previewing the next generation Golf.
But first things first – Volkswagen says the research vehicle “provides an insight into the next generation of automobiles for efficient long-distance mobility with a range of more than 249 miles (400 kilometers).” The shape of the port on the hood has two sockets, which suggests the concept could be charged at home, on fast-three phase chargers, and at ultra-fast DC public stations. In fact, Volkswagen says it is cooperatively developing mobile charging robots that will be used in underground garages to “connect up the automobile for recharging.”
Back to the Gen.E concept, it has C-shaped LED daytime running lights that are similar in shape and size to the DRLs of the current Golf E, where they are incorporated into the lower part of the bumper. In the prototype, the light signature in the bumper forms a C with the light signature of the headlight. The lower part of the bumper here is home of several radars, while a camera is located on the windshield - most likely used for semi-autonomous functions.
Moving further back, we noticed the prototype has gullwing doors and flush door handles, giving slight advantages to the aerodynamics. Another interesting detail is the wing on the rear quarter panel that attaches to the roof. Basically, the B-pillar together with the boot lid wing forms a massive spoiler for optimized air flow.
Volkswagen says the Gen.E is based on a lightweight architecture that has been designed for “maximum crash safety including the battery,” which is feeding an electric motor with optimized performance. At this point, no further details about the concept are available, as the engineers of the manufacturer are only giving “a small snapshot of their otherwise strictly confidential topics at the Media Day for the Future Mobility Days 2017.”
Gallery: Volkswagen Gen.E research vehicle
The Volkswagen Group is taking a proactive approach to designing the mobile world of tomorrow through Group Research. Volkswagen Research is a visionary, innovation scout and strategic partner for all the brands in the Group – with an enormous bandwidth of topics and projects about potential mobility scenarios for the megacities of the world, autonomous driving concepts like Sedric, new drive technologies, and new materials and product technologies. The engineers and scientists in Wolfsburg give a small snapshot of their otherwise strictly confidential topics at the Media Day for the Future Mobility Days 2017.
Research has never been as important before as it is today. In a world where change is taking place with increasing rapidity, new technologies are impacting on lifestyles at breakneck speed and customer aspirations are being modified, any company needs to identify these trends at an early stage and adopt a proactive approach to structuring its own developments and offerings. Particularly when a manufacturer is operating with benchmarks on the global stage, a distinction needs to be drawn between trends and fashions. A company also needs to be in a position to assess the importance and significance of topics in different countries. Only then can it take the right decisions – and they also need to be implemented within the framework of the appropriate timing. Being first mover is not always the key factor. But being prepared for every situation is important. “Research is a core function for success and for the long-term existence of a technology company. The Volkswagen Group takes this function very seriously,” said Axel Heinrich, Head of Volkswagen Group Research. “Volkswagen is a highly innovative company and this will continue to remain the case in the future – particularly in times when change is rapidly gathering pace.”
Mobile Charging Robots
In future, rapid charging of the electric vehicle will be extremely convenient. Mobile robots will connect up the automobile for recharging. Group Research is therefore working on charging robot concepts for underground garages and multi-story car parks. The Gen.E research vehicle is charged by the robot. This provides an insight into the next generation of automobiles for efficient long-distance mobility with a range of more than 400 kilometres. The lightweight architecture has been designed for maximum crash safety including the battery. The battery is based on advanced lithium-ion cells and the efficiency of the electric motor has been optimised.