Mysterious Volkswagen Gen.E research vehicle is not the next VW Golf

Previously unseen Volkswagen is not quite a concept car, but a test bed for charging robots. Could it be more significant than that?

A mysterious new electric car wearing Volkswagen badges has been presented at the Volkswagen Group’s Future Mobility Days event in Germany. 

Called the Gen.E, the Golf-sized model has been shown in a pair of official photographs but Volkswagen is hesitant to call it a new concept car. Instead, this is described as a ‘research vehicle’, and has been built as a test bed to demonstrate new fast charging technologies.

Best electric cars on sale 2017

According to a VW spokesperson, the Gen.E is “being used purely to inform engineering developments”.

As such, the Gen.E is currently being used to show off the Volkswagen Group’s latest tech – Mobile Charging Robots. These are moving, autonomous rigs designed with underground garages and multi-storey car parks in mind. The Gen.E teams up with the charging robot, which can deliver enough charge to prime electric cars with ranges exceeding 248 miles – the initial target set for the firm’s upcoming I.D badged EVs.

While the focus is on the technology, not the car, VW says that the Gen.E underpinned by lightweight architecture designed for maximum crash safety – the official line makes no mention of the firm’s MEB electric car platform.

In terms of design, the Gen.E is a three-door hatchback boasting angular lines and aero efficient blades at the C-pillar. The front end takes on a VW Golf inspired bent with a thin wide grille linking the headlights, while the C-shaped daytime running lights are extremely similar to those on the latest e-Golf.

Given the mysterious presentation of the vehicle, it’s difficult to speculate that the Gen.E previews any future VW models or indeed the firm’s next generation design language, though for engineers to design a new vehicle completely from scratch to demonstrate charging rigs appears excessive. It seems possible that elements of the design language seen on the Gen.E could resurface on future VW concepts or production cars. 

The VW Gen.E is sure to be a car we’ll see more of in the future though, as VW continues developing fast charging technology.

Do you think that the Volkswagen Gen.E points towards something bigger? A new car? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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