Volkswagen Goes Postal, Develops The Electric "Fridolin" Of The Future
Are you familiar with the Fridolin? If so, hit the jump. If not, here’s the brief version of its history. Unhappy with its adorable but inadequate, two-cylinder Goggomobil Transporters, the German Postal Service approached Volkswagen and Westfalia in the early 60s, looking for a new interpretation of what it was looking for, namely “arbeitspsychologisch optimaler Ausstattung zu einem günstigen Anschaffungspreis.” This is a tough phrase to translate, but essentially it means “equipment optimized for the workplace psychology, at an affordable price,” and in 1963 that’s what the VW-Westalia team delivered. A mixture of Type 1 (Beetle), Type 2 (Bus) and Type 3 (Fastback/Squareback), the Type 147 was first shown to the German Post in 1963, and was quickly nicknamed “Fridolin” (an uncommon German boy’s name) apparently because workers said “it looks like a Fridolin.” Only 6,126 were built between 1964 and 1973, and they continue to enjoy a strong collector’s cachet ( primarily as slammed campers, apparently). And now, Volkswagen wants to re-create the classic… for the future.
Based on a subcompact Polo-sized platform, VW’s eT Concept manages to offer nearly 144 cubic feet of storage. And because it’s aimed at the green-conscious postman of tomorrow (not to mention stop-start driving on fixed routes), it’s a purely electric concept with a 60-mile range and a 70 MPH top speed. Think of the performance as “optimized for the workplace psychology.” Speaking of which, one of the coolest features of the new concept is that it can actually be driven at speeds up to 6 km/h from the passenger seat, using something called the “drive stick.” The thing can even back itself up by remote control, using bumper-mounted sensors to avoid obstacles or stop itself. There’s no word on how soon this research vehicle will make its way into production, but because it was developed in partnership with the German Postal Service, some of its gizmology should filter into German postal vehicles. And with a very similar VW “Bulli” coming to market in 2015, not only could this actual vehicle be made, there may even be a civilian sliding-door version as well.
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- NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys for that money, it had better be built by people listening to ABBA
- Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
- MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
- Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
- Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
Given VW's successes with electrical systems and with minivans, an EV minivan is the perfect consolidation of VW's weaknesses into one vehicle. >>end sarcastic rant
Nice that they used the front end styling of the "New Bus" concept car... http://www.vanagon.com/static/img/old/media/concept/new_bus_front.jpg