More info about the Volkswagen electric triplets

Skoda e-Citigo by Auto Bild Germany

We all know the original electric triplets. They are the Peugeot iOn, the Citroen C-Zero and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. They are great for city driving, unfortunately, they were designed to fail. Low range combined with high price was the recipe for failure.


The good news is that the Volkswagen Group – starting next year -, will bring its own electric triplets and this time with enough range and a more reasonable price tag. They’ll be the Volkswagen e-Up 2.0, the Skoda e-Citigo and the Seat e-Mii.

The upcoming Volkswagen electric triplets will be an improvement over the existing – good but overpriced – Volkswagen e-up. They’ll be upgraded with more battery capacity for more range, a more powerful – and possibly more efficient – powertrain and likely faster charging capability.

The existing Volkswagen e-up with its 18,7 kWh battery has a 160 km range in NEDC and 134 km in WLTP. Its AC electric motor is capable of delivering 60 kW (82 PS) and 210 Nm of torque. In Germany its price starts at 26.900 euros, which is more than twice as much as its gas-counterpart.


Seat e-Mii at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona


According to Auto Bild (2018/33 page 12) this is what we can expect from the new triplets.

  • Battery capacity: 24/36/49 kWh
  • Motor torque: 230/330/430 Nm
  • Range: 300-500 km

The battery pack configuration should remain the same as the current Volkswagen e-up with a total of 204 PHEV2 battery cells (102s2p), but instead of using Sanyo/Panasonic battery cells with 25 Ah it’ll most likely be upgraded to 50 Ah cells from Samsung SDI. Samsung SDI is already producing battery cells at its plant in Hungary.

With 50 Ah cells the battery pack will have a total capacity of 37,7 kWh (204 x 50 Ah x 3,7 V), not much different from the 36 kWh announced by Auto Bild.

While the 300 km range has been mentioned for a long time, lately I also see some references to 270 km, which is most likely the WLTP range, this would make sense, since the current Volkswagen e-up has a 134 km range in WLTP.


Furthermore, according to the VW triplets will only get a 500 km range – with the 49 kWh battery – in the next generation, which will be based on MEB platform and probably with more energy dense CATL battery cells. Next year we’ll get a facelift, not a new generation.

What’s a surprise to me is that Auto Bild says that there will be a 24 kWh battery option. I’ve never heard about it before. Nor the multiple powertrains with different performances. If true, the top powertrain with 430 Nm of torque will make this electric car a beast, the Chevrolet Spark EV for example, was known for its fast acceleration and had an electric powertrain that produced 444 Nm of torque.

There’s still no word about the charging capabilities, but a 7,4 kW on-board charger is the minimum we can expect for these battery capacities. Nonetheless, an optional 11-22 kW on-board charger would be even better… Regarding DC fast charging via CCS I think that it’s unlikely to surpass 50 kW, especially if it still lacks a TMS (Thermal Management System) like the current Volkswagen e-up.

I would like to address the importance of three-phase on-board chargers, which are great for electric cars that are driven mostly in European cities, where 22 kW public EVSEs are widely available. Moreover, considering that Volkswagen will use these electric cars for car sharing services, it makes financial sense to adopt them, since less time to charge means more time available to drive (rent)… Don’t you think?

Anyway, Skoda already confirmed that the e-Citigo is coming next year and Skoda officials suggest a price around 19.000 euros. It’ll be available for pre-order in the first quarter of 2019, by then we’ll know the final specs.


Currently, the A-segment electric cars are almost non-existent in Europe, but let’s see the most direct alternatives to the Volkswagen triplets.

The obvious and already available alternative is the Smart EQ ForFour. This electric car with its 17,6 kWh battery is sold in Germany with a starting price of 22.600 euros, which is extremely overpriced, however if Smart proves to be “smart” and reduces its price to below 15.000 euros with the 22 kW on-board charger included, it will be a good alternative to the Volkswagen triplets.

Smart really needs to make its electric cars affordable, since they are all it’ll sell in Europe starting 2020. Considering that the small 17,6 kWh battery already gets its cells from the LG Chem plant in Poland, I doubt that the battery pack costs more than 3.000 euros, so there’s no justification for the current overpriced price tag.


Another alternative is the long-awaited Renault Twingo ZE, which is the unborn sibling of the Smart EQ ForFour. Renault says it’s ready to launch it when the market demands it. Maybe it’s time…

Considering that the Renault Zoe R110 has a 41 kWh battery pack with a 96s2p configuration, if the Twingo ZE adopts a 96s1p configuration with the same cells it gets a 20,5 kWh usable battery capacity. This battery capacity might seem small, but with a 22 kW on-board charger and a decent price it’ll make the Renault Twingo ZE a great city car. Moreover, if it gets CCS fast charging it’ll be even better, even if it’s 35-40 kW only.


Renault Twingo ZE


Nissan and Mitsubishi are also expected to launch an A-segment electric car in a year or two, but at the moment this is all there is. A-segment electric cars are perfect for car sharing services and automakers could profit from them.


Now a step further…

Super efficient tandem seat electric cars with jet-fighter style.

Opel RAK-e

Opel Rak-e concept car


The Opel RAK-e is probably my favorite concept car. It transports two persons in tandem seats. It’s very lightweight and aerodynamic so it doesn’t need a big battery to get a decent range.

For this ultra efficient car, a small 20 kWh battery would be enough for a real world range of 250-300 km. It would also be possible to charge the little battery in less than 10 minutes at a 150 kW CCS fast charger.

At the current price of 150 € per kWh, the 20 kWh worth of cells would cost no more than 3.000 €. Opel could sell it for 10.000-12.000 €.

This electric car would be a hit, especially with younger drivers that don’t even consider buying regular gas cars. This car would also be awesome as a commuter car.


Volkswagen Nils

Volkswagen Nils concept car charging


The Volkswagen Nils besides not being on sale, only have one thing I dislike, it only seats one person. The production version should have two tandem seats.

Like the Opel RAK-e, this very efficient electric car wouldn’t need a big battery to get a decent range.

A small 20 kWh battery and the ability to charge in less than 10 minutes at a CCS fast charger would make it awesome.


Nissan Land Glider

Nissan Land Glider Concept


The Nissan Land Glider is very similar in concept to the Opel RAK-e and Volkswagen Nils.

This ultra efficient electric car with two tandem seats would make the Renault Twizy blush in shame. If Nissan decides not to make it, this could be the second generation Renault Twizy.


It’s a shame that legacy automakers are ignoring smaller and more efficient electric cars while at the same time complaining that there isn’t enough battery production for their massive, inefficient and battery hungry electric SUVs.


Anyway, what would you prefer? A VW electric triplet with a 300 km city range, 50 kW CCS and a 7,4 kW on-board charger for 19.000 euros, or a lighter and more efficient Renault Twingo ZE with a 200 km city range, TMS, a 22 kW on-board charger and heat-pump for 4.000 euros less? Or even one of those super efficient electric cars that unfortunately are still just concepts?!



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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3 years ago

Well, the 2019 Sion by Sono Motors will be a mix of the two.

3 years ago

So the next gen will have almost double the range with a 8.000 € price decrease??
I already liked the eUp but here in the USSA that is not an option 🙁

3 years ago

Wow, you promised good news and certainly delivered. Let’s see if VW can too. A citigo with a 19000 EUR price tag would certainly be very sweet. A 23000 EUR ID would be better though. The small concepts don’t appeal to me at all.

filip bjurling
3 years ago

I know you’re into 22kW charges but I don’t get the reason why really. 7,3 or 11 kW is more than enough. Actually I’d be pretty satisfied with a 2kW onboard charger and 150 kW dC charging capability. I’d prefer that setup any day over 22kW ac and 50kw dC charging. At home, 2 kW and 120 km range over night is more than enough. I very seldom travel farther than that many days in a row. If I do I want to fast charge and fast charge needs to be really fast. At home when I’m sleeping I’m not waiting but on the road I want to wait maximum 10min/100km which is about 120 kW. I’ve never used 22 kW charging and enjoyed it. I’ve had to use it a couple of times traveling with the Zoe and that’s really slow when you’re in the road.

I’d prefer the Renault for 15keur. A car that small is the perfect city car and then I don’t need more range. I’d prefer a 3,6kW charger and 50 kW DC charging though. I even think that’s a cheaper set up than a 22 kW on board charger.

3 years ago
Reply to  filip bjurling

filip bjurling: The DC charging power depends on the battery and is often directly related to the size (capacity) of the battery. If the battery can handle 150 kW DC charging there is no reason for not supporting it. AC charging is different, any battery that can handle 50 kW DC charging can also handle 22 kW AC charging. So there is no need to choose between 22 kW AC charging and 50 kW DC charging compared to 2 kW AC charging and 150 kW DC charging.
Here in Denmark 2,3 kW (10A) single phase charging is not recommended and 7,2 kW (32A) single phase charging is not allowed, so in Denmark a three phase charger with either 11 kW (16A) or 22 kW (32A) would be preferred.
An AC charging post is much simpler and cheaper than any DC charger, for AC charging the charger in the car is the more expensive part. Because AC charging posts are simpler and cheaper to make they are much more common. A lot of the public chargers in Denmark at least are 22 kW.
Charging a 41 kWh battery at 2 kW takes more than 20 hours, probably closer to 25 hours so how would you do that in one night? Charging a 41 kWh battery with 22 kW takes more than two hours, probably two and a half hours. Even with a 3,6 kW charger you can not recharge a 41 kWh battery in one night. If you go on a longer trip and can charge at the destination you would be able to recharge your 41 kWh battery with 11 kW in about four and a half hours and it is more likely that you find a 11 kW or 22 kW charger at your destination than a 150 kW DC charger.

Jonas Jovial
3 years ago

Only a fool believes in VW bullshit marketing… VW doesn’t want EVs to haverá success. They prefer their more rentable diesel cancer motors.

3 years ago
Reply to  Jonas Jovial

You are right, a lot of announcements are made bij AutoBild or better called VAGBild from fantastic electric cars from the Volkswagen group that are postponed again and again. Even when they make a list of the range of electric cars Volkswagen is on top with some kind of future car that doesn’t exist yet.

Counter-Strike Cat
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonas Jovial

Volkswagen will have a good laugh, when their etron sales are topping Model X.

Jonas Jovial
3 years ago

You are very funny…. Thanks for making my day better.. I think you wanted to say the e-bullshit…that unicorn that does not exists….VW has no interest in EV technologies and by the time they wake up, it will be to late

3 years ago

Pedro: The 500 km range must be NEDC with 49 kWh batery, the current e-Up has a NEDC range of 160 km with a 18,7 kWh battery, even the Ioniq with 28 kWh battery has only a 280 km NEDC range.

3 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Pedro: That sounds more realistic, twice the battery capacity and twice the WLTP range. I wonder why they would use NEDC range for a car that is not in production at a time where NEDC is replaced by WLTP, probably to make it look better than it is.

3 years ago

Speaking of small, efficient, electric vehicles, have you heard of Uniti One? Seems interesting.
It’s website is:

3 years ago

We have a solution that gives no downtime and waiting to recharge for electric vehicles. We boost the battery with our fuel cells that have a 7 times higher energy density than lead acid batteries and work as plug and play, this means we refurbish the used cells using 95% of the materials. You slide out the cartridge unit, that is 48Kg and develops 28KW hrs onto a trolly and replace it with a refurbished one. This can be done at any petrol station or at home. If you want to know more, write me an e mai

Sebastian Koch
3 years ago

As of now VW uses LG cells for MEB vehicles

3 years ago

I would be very happy to have a car like the Rak-e, IF I didn’t have to risk colliding with a 2.5-ton SUV… and it was cheap and convenient to rent a bigger car when needed, whether for a couple of hours or a long trip.

Big heavy cars actually make driving more dangerous for everyone, small and light cars make it less dangerous for everyone, but when you individually choose a car, weight contributes in the opposite direction — if you choose a big heavy car, you the to be safer than if you choose a small and light car, assuming everyone else choose the same regardless of your choice.

I don’t really know why the second issue, cheap rentals, hasn’t already been solved. There are peer-based rental services (rent somebody’s car when they don’t need it) and it’s relatively easy and cheap for short periods, but it still has ridiculous per-kilometer charges once you go over a fixed threshold, making them completely unsuited for long trips.

Combine the two factors, and you see why people can’t buy cars optimized for 95% of their needs. If you assume two daily trips (I go at least to work and then home again five days a week, and some other trips, so really two a day on average is low), if the car isn’t suited 5% of the time I’d need to rent or find another solution to almost 40 trips a year, or four of of five weeks!

A lot of people have kids, and they end up driving alone in a car that can accommodate them a lot of the time. But it doesn’t make sense for them to do otherwise, at least not if the family has one car. Using car share for daily trips to and from kindergarten, soccer practice and so on isn’t practical or economical.

The only thing I see potentially changing this is self-driving cars. It would take a lot to shift people’s habits, but once there’s lots of money to save and space to free up by not having a car and a place to keep it, and really easy and cheap to have one show up when you need it, people could start doing it. Only massive-scale sharing of the fleet would allow reasonable optimization and getting rid of the worst waste, and only autonomous cars seem like they could deliver that. But if you order a car for every trip, you may as well choose one that fits that trip. Most of the fleet could then be small cars with huge interior but no boot at all, because most of the time we just need to move ourselves. Or maybe nine-seaters acting like tiny buses driving a route optimized for the particular passengers.

I think that’s way beyond 2030 though. Autonomous cars are much farther in the future than some want you to believe. Going from something that can handle some driving conditions provided a human is monitoring and ready to intervene to something that’s genuinely much better than a human at driving is a HUGE leap, and generalized artificial intelligence seems to be a necessary part of it. Currently such technology is real stupid, nowhere near as smart as a dog or even a cat…