The ‘E’ of the name signifies the vehicle’s electric power, and the ‘Bug’ part of the name should need no explanation.
Revealed at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the two-seat VW E-Bugster Concept continues the latest Beetle’s sporty theme. An electric motor provides 85 kWh of power, which can propel it from 0 to 60 mph in 10.9 seconds, and yet offer a range of at least 110 miles from the 28.3 kWh lithium-ion batteries. Even in a country as large as America, that’s sufficient for the majority of commuters’ needs, while if the E-Bugster needs a top-up, a fast-charging function allows complete recharging in just 35 minutes.
The quick charging is possible thanks to a new Combined Charging System that was developed in co-operation with Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, Ford and General Motors/Opel. This allows charging via single-phase AC sources (for example a 120-Volt US or 230-Volt European domestic outlet) or via ultra-fast DC sources at specific charging stations. To succeed, this will require the development of a uniform industry standard for sockets and plugs and for the charge controller, so that all charging types can be handled.
Of course, the Volkswagen E-Bugster doesn’t charge only when plugged in: as soon as the driver’s foot leaves the accelerator pedal kinetic energy is transformed into electricity and stored in the battery. Applying the brakes increases the intensity of regeneration, a function that is indicated to the driver in the instrument panel. Other instruments include driving range and battery state indicators, and a meter that shows how much energy the driver is requesting via the accelerator pedal.
Starting the Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept is pure theatre: upon pressing the Start button the interior is bathed in white light, then blue light. It starts with a light pulse in the instrument cluster, from where the light emanates in a millimetre-wide strip, coursing into the doors and around the air nozzles.
Inside, the two-seat interior reflects the E-Bugster’s blend of high-tech and sportiness, with sports seats nestling either side of a continuous centre console, plus aluminum door handles and seat belt guides.
The E-Bugster is the same length as a standard Beetle but 30 mm wider, while the new roof lowers the height by around 90 mm to 1,400 mm. This helps to give the Volkswagen E-Bugster its more dynamic and sporty look. The low, swept-back windscreen ensures maximum visibility, as does the wide rear screen, which shows that speedster-style vehicles need not be impractical.
Test Drive Review:
The VW brand has 46 different models but no two-seater cabriolet – the E-Bugster is a clear indication that a Beetle-based speedster is just around the corner (with gas and diesel power instead of electric). Based on our short drive, the styling and build-quality are already up to scratch, and since 90 per cent of its parts are shared with the standard Beetle, it should be competitively priced, too.
We should expect this concept car on the lot and available in a few years!Cowell Volkswagen Richmond Auto Mall, Richmond, BC V6V 1W8 (800) 252-6352