Volkswagen's upcoming up! minicar project is destined to go electric but the first examples wonít be around until 2013. Currently, the up! is being developed with conventional petrol and diesel options and will be sold under various guises through the VW, Seat and Skoda brands by 2011.

The reported 2013 launch date for the electric up! means the car will arrive to market a little slower than some of its competitors, such as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which is slated for a 2011 release. This disadvantage will have to be made up by VW with either better pricing or a superior product, reports AutoTelegraaf.

VW has already previewed its electric minicar in the form of 2007ís up! blue plug-in hybrid concept vehicle. The advanced concept featured a hydrogen fuel cell mated to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery array. Driving on electric power alone, the 60hp (45kW) electric motor could carry the vehicle over a distance of 65 miles, more than enough for most inner city trips. The production version is likely to feature an electric motor as its sole power source.

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