The new Volkswagen eT! Concept van has nothing to do with a cute alien from an early-1980s Steven Spielberg movie but everything to do with the German car maker's vision of a fully electric van designed for use in logistics and commercial transport.
The eT! Concept features a layout that could be very appealing to those in the transport industry, such as postal services and couriers. With the electric motors mounted within the wheel hubs, there are fewer major mechanical components to interfere with the height and length of interior cargo space.
Another interesting feature of the eT! - which presumably combines e for electric and T for Transporter - is the sliding side door, which not only provides access to the rear cargo space but also doubles as the front passenger door. This could help with courier runs which involve repeatedly exiting and entering the vehicle by reducing the amount of doors being open and shut.
The Volkswagen eT! Concept also includes innovative 'Follow Me' and 'Come to Me' features that allows the driver to remotely request the vehicle to follow a route automatically and to rendezvous with the driver.
While the eT! Concept includes a conventional steering wheel, the driver can also steer the van from the passenger bench-style seat using a joystick. The tiny passenger seat allows convenient access to the rear of the van.
Volkswagen says it hopes a vehicle taking inspiration from the eT! Concept will be available to delivery and postal services workers in the future after further testing and analysis, though admits such a vehicle is much further away from reality than the electric version of the company's forthcoming Up! city car.
The Volkswagen eT! Concept follows the company's 2011 Geneva motor show teaser show car, the Bulli, which promises a new, modern-day version of the car maker's famous Kombi van of the 1950s.