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The VW Up Blue-e-motion ""“ or e-Up, as VW abbreviates it ""“ is a fully electric version of the award-winning Up city car.

Planned for UK launch in 2014, the Up Blue-e-motion is intended to compete with the imminent Renault Zoe and other electric superminis that will no doubt be on the way by then.

The e-Up has an 81bhp electric motor that can deliver 155lb ft of torque as soon as you floor the accelerator from rest, and a lithium-ion battery pack slim enough to be housed under the floor.

The car ""“ with battery pack ""“ weighs around 1160kg, which is about 200kg more than a standard, petrol-fuelled Up.

What's it like to drive?

Lively. Like many electric cars, the e-Up has a lively step-off from rest, and continues accelerating with verve at urban speeds, although the gusto fades a bit on the open road.

Top speed is limited to 81mph, while 0-62mph is reached in less than 14 seconds.

There's just one forward gear, which is selected on this prototype car by an automatic transmission-type lever. Pull the lever back against a spring from the normal Drive position and you'll enter the regenerative braking mode, which means the e-Up slows vigorously as soon as you lift the accelerator.

This helps recharge the battery, but you might prefer the regular mode, which just lets the e-Up freewheel when you lift off.

The e-Up is quiet, even in this prototype form. An occasional distant whine is the only noise the engine and gearbox ever make.

What's it like inside?

Just like a normal Up ""“ apart from a power consumption/recharge meter and remaining-charge gauge in place of the rev counter and fuel gauge.

Interior- and boot space are exactly the same as in conventional Ups, thanks to the battery's underfloor positioning. There's a little less ground clearance, but still enough.

Should I buy one?

The big question concerns the range on a full 5.5-hour charge. Volkswagen reckons just over 90 miles when it's warm outside, which is comparable with current electric cars, and enough to make the e-Up a practical short-distance commuter car.

Prices are yet to be determined; the eventual figure will be a 'political' one to ensure the e-Up is competitive rather than immediately profitable. It will be the most expensive Up, but not by much. We think £14,000 would be a good estimate.

For now, we know it works ""“ and works very well. What Car magazine.
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