Good gracious, we’re always stepping on the toes of Volkswagen designers, particularly those who did the 2012 Beetle, the car we love to hate. But that car may be gaining some small momentum with buyers, as some 1,530 stepped into new Beetles in December 2011.
Well, at the Detroit show, VW unveiled an all-electric concept that squashes the Bug even further. But, somehow, this one works, especially when you compare it to ugly potential competitors like the MINI Coupe. It looks like a German Schuco toy car I used to have when I was five.
It looks as though some hot-rodder had taken the Beetle to a chop shop (which some may well do). The E-Bugster has a fixed roof and an electric motor with 114 hp and 199 ft-lbs of torque—enough to move it smartly down the highway. Range is said to be about 100 miles. The press release notes:
Holistically, Volkswagen calls the electric drive unit used in the E-Bugster “Blue-e-motion,” and it will be found in future products such as the Golf Blue-e-Motion.
Whether the Bugster (maybe with gasoline power?) will ever see production is another question. I suspect it would be a hit. The car has deliberate echoes of the Porsche Speedster and the 2005 Ragster concept. But it does not need 20-inch wheels.
The Combined Charging System, which gives the car a uniform, standardized interface for both AC and DC charging, is clearly a good idea and is shared with major German and U.S. carmakers. With a DC quick charge, the battery gets revived in 35 minutes.
Volkswagen is taking the electric future seriously and looks to push beyond the competition. Get some E-Bugsters cruising the streets, and demand might just take off.
Does the E-Bugster’s styling turn you on or off? Tell us why. (More photos here.)