Very, VERY THIS
THAT'S MORE LIKE IT! Never mind all the usual FUD merchants that are coming out of the woodwork here, this is good stuff. Just so long as they make it plug-in compatible and replete with a decent amount of (presumably very low weight!?) batteries. In fact, it's that last consideration that may eventually make it vapourware :-/
To counter the kneejerk, broken record naysayers, let's have a rebuff / reflame session.
"It's too light to be safe" - bullsh¦t, is there some magic weight at which a car suddenly becomes safe? Some of the world's biggest deathtraps have been 2-ton-plus stoneage-engineered yank tanks that barely flinch in an impact... but concertina such to make people paté of the occupants. Good energy-absorbption and passenger cabin integrity preservation engineering is worth spades more than weight for the hell of it. We've seen that already with the Smart, and in terms of safety engineering VW aren't often far behind MCC or Volvo. They were one of the first to build-in crumple zones to a supermini for example (the mk2 Polo). Don't be a fool. That kind of thinking would have us ALL driving around in Hummers.
"It won't sell in america... diesel, too small/light" - so f***ing what? VW has done great guns in the small car market without selling unit one in the States of anything smaller than a Golf 1.8 or TDi (hmm... diesel, no?!). Let them sink further into the mire of horrible oversized petrol-V8 powered dreck that's left their car industry in the crapper and largely ignored by the rest of the world (except Oz), then come begging for cars like this when they've nothing left to buy and their fuel prices finally catch up to ours. Or perhaps when the Volt finally launches, these two can compete head to head.
"First gen hybrid tech" - actually not much different from how the Prius works, just in a harder/more expensive to implement but should-be-more-efficient usage pattern). It's how hybrids were originally promised to work - electric for town, small solo ICE for faster cruising and combined system for brief sprints - and I was always a bit disappointed at the ways they actually end up working. I'm quietly holding out to see if they've made the "obvious when you think about it" leap of shoving the electric motor on the "far" end of the gearbox input shaft, ie can decouple from the engine but not the wheels for electric running (clutch), use different gears (to boost start-up torque from the low-hp motor), decouple from wheels but not engine for starting/charging (neutral), as well as run in-series with the engine.
"sub-0.24Cd is not actually that much". Oh, you think so? On what's going to be a reasonably cheap production car that's not a hardline concept (it's utterly achieveable with current tech... who do you know that drives a boxfish btw?) and not a somewhat premium-priced wannabe sportscar? I urge you to better it, then. I think improving on the Insight and the A2 (also a VAG product, or did you mean the Merc A-class?) for such a class of everyday car is pretty good going. BTW, are we talking about the boggo mainstream A2, or that low-production-run 1.2 diesel economy posterchild of yesteryear which tried for these same goals without being a hybrid? Skinny tyres, gutless engine and a lot of work on slipperiness = not as slippery as this and a respectable but still not "close" 70-80 something mpg.
I HAD an early 90s Poo-low btw, which was allegedly a scant 850kg in its pants and socks, and it was perfectly fine. The safety wasn't all that by modern standards, but it was OK for the time. Crumple zones, reinforced (though not SIPS) doors, collapsible steering column and pedals (the latter, after ~15 years, happening even without being in a crash), inertia reel belts, supportive seats. It was a good solid car for 900 quid. 45hp sounds like bugger all these days (and it was, really), but it would take off smartly enough thanks to a lack of much flab, handle and brake pretty well, sit at 85-90mph on the motorway as confidently as pretty much anything else I've driven except for a slight vagueness to the steering (as I said, the aero wasn't all that, the front probably lifted some - but it didn't get badly buffeted). Plus 30mpg flat-out and mid 40s in general use is not to be sniffed at from a brick-like shopping bucket with a 4-speed and a base engine design dating from sometime in the early 70s... Rear legroom not up to much but it would fit four big lads and a surprising amount of heavy gear.
Now, fastforward 20 years and lets see what they can do.
On paper, strangely, it's a bit of deja vu. It strikes me as the ultimate evolution of their very early 80s Oko Polo sort-of-concept that arguably would have seen production if the oil crisis hadn't eased off. 800cc 2-cylinder TDi (hmm!) pushing out 40bhp with a then-rare 5sp box to take better advantage of it, 80-something mph and tolerable 0-60 time thanks to the low weight despite the brick-like aero (the older platform was even more anorexic than mine - sub-800kg). A few were actually built and brought in useful test data, and even got as far as having a first-look test drive review in a german magazine. One or two reputedly made it to the hands of collectors, including one that's gone to the states, albeit needing a standard 1.0 petrol (a mere 5hp upgrade, assuming you can find the requisite 91-RON juice out there) put in place... not because you can't get the fuel, but to satisfy their bonkers emissions regs.
So take that existing proof of concept, apply almost 30 years more of engine and gearbox development to squeeze out an extra 11hp and probably all manner of system efficiencies for less weight, apply similar tweaking to a bodyshell that is probably a stock Polo Bluemotion crossed with the best bits of the A2 (hello, Aluminium!) and Ibiza (hello aero...) to shave off all excess fat without compromising safety, add some kind of magical weightless electric system (?!) and you're well in.
I do wonder how long it would sustain the claimed 100mph for when the whole caboodle weighs about as much as the Tesla's "Energy Storage System" sans-car, but it should be good for keeping up 90+mph for as long as you want, which is sufficient in most real-world conditions (I can rarely top 95 in a far more powerful machine thanks to traffic) and that 0-60 sprint is bloody good for a sub-65hp total system power - I bet their 1.2 petrol that offers the same oomph wouldn't be able to touch it in a drag race. I'm thinking it's probably got a 6- or 7-speed DSG in as well?
Good show chaps. Auf Wolfsburg, proust!