In a move guaranteed to delight half of you and mortally offend the other half, Volkswagen revealed yet another electric concept car. It’s called the I.D. Buggy, which is a great name because it’s an electric buggy. The inspiration is, of course, the dune buggies of the 1960s, which were built from the ubiquitous VW Beetle.
Here, it’s given a futuristic facelift. Instead of the venerable flat-four engine at the back, the Buggy gets VW’s new MEB architecture, which provides the lithium-ion power pack and electric-motor setup.
MEB is the toy box of parts and software that VW will use to create a new range of electric vehicles. Over the past few years, the company has been reinventing itself for life after diesel, doubling down on electrification as the answer. Roadmap E was the answer, which promises 50 new battery EVs from the VW Group as a whole by 2030. Porsche and Audi are working on a separate architecture called PPE, which will show up in larger vehicles like the next Macan SUV. But for anything a bit smaller, MEB is where it’s at.
At VW the brand (not VW Group the corporate overlord), the whole electro-mobility thing is happening under the I.D. banner. The first I.D. production cars will be aerodynamic hatchbacks that go into production in Europe late in 2019. Sadly, those hatchbacks will probably not be available in North America. Here in the United States, VW’s Chattanooga factory in Tennessee will start building a production version of the I.D. Cross crossover in 2020.
But the vehicle that really gets people excited has been the I.D. Buzz. VW has toyed with retro-modern concepts inspired by the classic Type 2 (e.g., the Bus, Camper, Kombi, and so on) in the past, but with the Buzz, the company is finally going to start selling them in 2022. I imagine that a vocal contingent will ask VW to give the Buggy the same treatment. I’m a particular fan of the weatherproofed interior, which owes much to technical apparel.
The technical specs, such as they are, give the Buggy a range of 155 miles (250km) on the wildy optimistic WLTP testing procedure. The car is powered by a single 201hp (150kW) electric motor at the rear, although a dual motor version would be possible, too, VW says.
VW says that “the Buggy’s modular design allows for the composite upper body to be detached from the MEB chassis, opening up a world of possibilities for third-party manufacturers, as the original Meyers Manx kit did for the first buggies.” That’s a wonderful sentiment, but you have to put it into production for that to happen, VW.