Making its debut with a big screen filled with visions of the original 1960s Micro Bus and folksy hippie music, the Volkswagen BUDD-e concept rolled on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Not a hint of diesel clatter a whiff of Nitrogen Oxide could be smelled as the “new Volkswagen” presented their vision of affordable all-electric mobility for the not too distant future. They’ve teased us with a Micro Bus concept before, but they need to bring back The People’s glow of the good old days now more than ever. We’ll see a production version of this, count on it.
The BUDD-e’s design is a modern take on the classic Micro Bus, though a foot longer than the original. It’s 9-inches wider but 4-inches lower and even has some thematic touches that tie it to the last Micro Bus Concept from 2001. It’s face however is a more aggressive interpretation of the brand’s current designs, grille and all.
Packaging includes a flat floor and side opening door for plenty of flexible seating options. Innovations include locating the entire electric-powered HVAC apparatus in the front of the vehicle where an engine would otherwise reside. This allows for a quieter system for occupants, larger filters for cleaner air, and more room for everything else.
Volkswagen filled the BUDD-e with van load of social interactive technologies to impress us of course. They pretty much present it as a social revolution on wheels with all its connectivity and cloud based hoopla that allow you to love and pet it via your smart phone.
More important than all that, the BUDD-e is the first Volkswagen concept to showcase the company’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB), which is an architecture for their next-generation of electric cars that we suspect will be the heart and soul of the post-TDI Volkswagen.
Earlier this year the Audi e-tron Quattro and Porsche Mission-e concepts that are also headed for production showcased this new powertrain architecture as well. The next-generation Volkswagen Phaeton sedan will also be built upon this new design format.
The Volkswagen BUDD-e however shows us the down scaled and more affordable version, featuring a flat 101 kWh battery under the floor that enables 233 miles of EPA rated range or 373 miles based on the NEDC European rating scale. Volkswagen expects charging to 80% capacity to take only about 15 minutes by the time a production version arrives in 2019.
An electric motor drive unit is located at each axle to provide all-wheel drive capability and performance levels that well exceed the majority of gasoline and yes, diesel powered alternatives today.
While power specifications weren’t discussed at the reveal, the likelihood is we’d be looking at a minimum of 200-300 system horsepower and gobs of torque. It’s quite limitless frankly and the battery’s low center of gravity also contributes to better handling characteristics provided it’s got some good rubber on it.