At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Volkswagen has presented the E-Bugster, an electric concept powered by a 85 kW Blue-e-Motion electric drivetrain.
The car takes inspiration from the 2005 Ragster Concept, another speedster based on the New Beetle, introduced at the 2005 Detroit Motor Show, which later influenced the design of the second-generation production model.
The width (1,838 mm) was increased by 30 mm, while its length (4,278 mm) is identical to that of the production car.
“In its stance on the road, the concept car looks as though it were cast as a single piece.
“This is due to a very simple fact: in developing the production model introduced in October 2011, the Beetle design team had already considered all potential derivatives for future models on its radar screen of possibilities. And that is in part how a speedster with an E-motor evolved, the E-Bugster.”
The front view features a swept-back and wide windscreen, which extends laterally to a point above the A-pillars. Additional elements includes the LED headlights and the customized bumpers of the production Beetle.
The daytime running lights are integrated to the left and right of the central air intake as bands of LED lights in a C-shape (naturally mirrored on the right side).
Ever since the e-up! (concept car) was presented in Europe, this form of daytime running light has been a type of signet among Volkswagen electric vehicle studies.
These styling elements also appear in modified form as reflectors in the rear bumper, which was also redesigned.
From the side, the E-Bugster is characterized by swept-back windows and a low roof profile.
Between the wings, there is the ‘V’ on the flank that is typical of the most famous Beetle ever.
From the side sill, the viewer’s gaze moves upwards over the large, smooth homogeneous surface of the door and the contour line above the door handle that looks as though it were carved by a knife.
Just a few centimeters above this point, the Beetle becomes a speedster: the designers lengthened the chrome strip of the lower window border towards the rear; it now runs (as it did once on the New Beetle Cabriolet) from A-pillar to A-pillar.
The hard top of the ‘Bug’ extends in a low arc above this line of chrome. Following the roof radius – in classic speedster style – is the upper border of the side windows.
The height between the chrome lower window border and the uppermost roof line is a low 400 mm.
The combination of high-tech equipment and dynamic performance is also reflected in the interior. Among the sporty elements are the seats and a continuous center tunnel in body color.
The use of aluminum as the material for the door handles and belt guides, and the lightweight construction styling of the steering wheel also produce a direct connection between the exterior and interior.
A unique, distinctive lighting effect is triggered by the drive Start button.
“First, the interior is immersed in a white light, then a blue light. It begins with a light pulse in the instrument cluster; from there the light emanates as a thin line of light, just one millimeter wide, coursing into the door window sills and around the air nozzles – a kind of visual awakening.”
From a technical standpoint, the central electric module has an innovative design and weighs just 80 kg. It uses lithium-ion battery with modules housed in a behind the front seats.
The battery’s energy capacity of 28.3 kWh enables a range of at least 110 miles (180 km) in the urban environment, while the sprint from 0 to 60 mph takes 10.9 seconds.
In “quick charging” mode, the battery can be ‘refueled’ within 35 minutes at suitable charging stations.
At home, the battery of the E-Bugster can also be charged from the 120-Volt outlets or from 230-Volt outlets. The interface for the charge cable is located below the normal ‘fuel door’ position near the C-pillar.
The new Combined Charging Systems – developed in cooperation withAudi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, Ford and General Motors – the the E-Bugster can be ‘filled up’ via an interface using any of the available charging modalities: single-phase charging with AC current and ultra-fast DC charging at electric charging stations.
The electric drive of the E-Bugster Concept is called “Blue-e-Motion” and will equip production models – including the Golf – from 2013.