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Volkswagen Nils concept has an HTC Desire HD dashboard, seats one Engadget editor

Tim Stevens
09.14.11
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Audi isn't the only one with a tiny little EV with exposed wheels at Frankfurt this year. Parent company Volkswagen has one too, but this is even smaller. It's called the Nils and it's designed for commuters in the "world of tomorrow" -- commuters who will be very thin and, apparently, short. Big people just don't fit well into this tiny thing, but if you're of modest size or below this could be an interesting little ride. It has only 34-horsepower (25kW) available from a rear-mounted electric motor, but since it weighs just 1,000-pounds (460kg) that should make for some peppy commutes -- of less than 40 miles (65 kilometers), which is the maximum range here. More details after the break.

Gallery: Volkswagen Nils | 30 Photos


Maximum speed is an adequate 81MPH (130km/h), but more intriguing is what VW chose to make the car's infotainment system out of. Situated to the right of the wheel is a simple mount that has room for a single phone, and that phone is an HTC Desire HD -- which VW cunningly refers to as a "Portable Infotainment Device." Right now the phone is running a dummy app that can only pretend, but it does at least give the appearance of doing some interesting things like tuning in the radio, streaming music, offering navigation and even updating you on the status of your car -- like if you left the ridiculously small trunk open.


Other controls are minimalistic -- just some climate dials to the right and buttons on the wheel for adjusting volume, answering calls, and setting the automatic cruise control, which can maintain distance between you and the cars ahead and brake automatically should you fail to do so. The rest of the information is displayed on an LCD dash behind the wheel.

As you might have guessed, this one is a concept car set to exist only in the future, meaning we'll only get a glimpse of it here in the present. Given the size of the rest of the traffic on the roads today, maybe that's for the best.

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