LOS ANGELES -- Volkswagen of America will introduce an electric version of its upcoming Up! hatchback in 2014 in the United States.
In a world debut, VW today unveiled a four-seat concept version, called the Up! Lite, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The three-door car boasts a 70 mpg, two-cylinder diesel engine, a 10 kilowatt electric motor and a carbon-fiber roof.
The Germany-built car will sell in Europe initially, said Ulrich Hackenberg, head of technical development for Volkswagen AG.
“This is a study to find out whether customers have an interest in very low fuel consumption,” Hackenberg said of the Up! Lite. “For American customers, it’s very important to present themselves as green.”
The Up! Lite weighs 695 kilograms, which is about 1,530 pounds. To compare, a Hyundai Accent weighs 2,467 pounds.
The Up! hatchback, which will not sell in the United States, reaches Europe at the end of 2011. The Up! line also includes a minivan and a sedan that go on sale in 2011 in Europe.
Also at the auto show, VW of America President Stefan Jacoby said a new-generation Beetle that will come to the United States as a 2012 model will contain a clean-diesel engine.
Jacoby said the Volkswagen brand continues to add diesel engine options. A new mid-sized sedan that will be built in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2011 will also contain a clean-diesel engine.