German carmaker Volkswagen AG said it would unveil several new models at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show, including an electric car called the E-Up.
At a reception before the start of the show Monday evening, the company said the E-Up compact would likely only go into production in 2013 and approach production levels of that of its other popular compact cars only by 2020.
The company said the front wheel drive car's lithium ion battery will have 18 kilowatt hours energy capacity enabling a driving distance of around 130 kilometres depending on driving style.
"One of the basic milestones on this timeline is the mass produced electric car," Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement.
He said only in high volumes and on all continents could one truly speak of the beginning of the electric age in automobiles and a perceptible reduction of their environmental impact.
"The concept car now being presented in Frankfurt very realistically shows how we envision such a Volkswagen with pure electric drive — technically, visually and with regard to a practical size," Winterkorn said.
The company will also unveil other models that include more of its Blue Motion technology as well as new hybrid technology.
In his speech later in the evening, Winterkorn said the company overall would remain focused on efficiency across the company, and that VW would take the electric car out of the niche market that it's currently in, and bring it to the world at much larger production levels.
"The future will belong to lower emissions and more efficient transportation," he said. "We're releasing one environmentally friendly car after another.
"The VW group is in top form. Today, VW is the most successful multi-brand car group in the world; we have convincing solutions for the entire market."
He said that the company was also confident about the future as it was seeing more positive signals for the economy.
"There are increasing signals that we've seen the bottom; we're looking at this optimistically."