How small is too small? That seems to be one of the challenges that automakers are taking on as they prepare to roll out a flood of microcars during the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.
There are four-seaters not much bigger than the Smart fourtwo, two-seat concepts that turn to tandem seating to deliver an even smaller profile, and for those that are happy going solo, Volkswagen will officially unveil the pod-like Nils.
The VW Nils concept is about 20 inches shorter than the Up!, the new microcar that the German maker will soon put into production, the smallest offering in its line-up. The face of the new show car is designed to be easily recognized as a Volkswagen but it features some interesting new touches, including the gullwing doors and the black surround that integrate front and rear bumpers.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen an automaker propose what might be called the ultimate in truly personal transportation. Over the years, Toyota has come up with some truly quirky one-seat designs at the Tokyo Motor Show – an event famous for its strange machinations. The most recent from the Japanese maker seemed to take inspiration from the ubiquitous Japanese vending machines, dispensing its occupant almost like a package of gum.
By that measure, the VW Nils is almost conventional in design, though that word will not likely be thrown around much at the Frankfurt debut.