The Budd-e is 4597mm long, 1940mm wide and 1835mm high and is based around Volkswagen’s new MEB (modularen elektrisch baukasten, for modular electric drive kit) platform.
Planned to underpin a range of new dedicated electrically powered Volkswagen Group models, including the Porsche Mission E and Audi e-tron quattro, the new multi-material structure sites the new MPV’s sizeable 94.6kWh battery low down within the floor structure and wholly within its lengthy 3151mm wheelbase – a set-up claimed to provide Wolfsburg’s latest concept with an ultra-low centre of gravity.
The battery, which uses the latest chemical process to provide it with what Volkswagen describes as a "significant gain" in efficiency over the unit used in the VW Group’s existing electric car offerings, can be charged either by conventional plug-in means or via an inductive process. Volkswagen claims an 80% charge after 30min on a high powered 150kW system, which is sufficient to provide a range of up to 265 miles.
Power is provided by a pair of brushless electric motors, with one mounted up front underneath the short nose and another sited within the new car’s independent rear suspension. The former delivers 134bhp and 147lb ft, while the latter provides 168bhp and 214lb ft. All up, the Budd-e has combined system outputs of 302bhp and up to 361lb ft.
Each electric motor provides simultaneous direct drive to the front and rear wheels. Volkswagen claims 0-60mph in 6.9sec and a top speed of 112mph.
Stylistically, the Budd-e draws on the design of the earlier Bulli concept first wheeled out at the 2011 Geneva show, with a look not unlike that of the latest generation of Japanese kei-cars. Its boxy interior has been updated with a new corporate grille incorporating round headlights. Further distinguishing features include the C-shaped daytime driving lights, which Volkswagen already uses on the e-Up and e-Golf.
The upright glasshouse features a pillarless design with blacked-out pillars, while the roof houses a large solar panel used to provide additional energy storage. Entry to the interior is via a conventional front hinged door up front and a kerbside sliding door at the rear. The rear hatch-style door opens at bumper level.
Inside, the new Volkswagen receives a contemporary-looking dashboard with digital instruments and a large high-definition display for the internet-enabled infotainment functions. The individual front seats are combined with a wraparound lounge-style rear bench.
As well as showcasing Volkswagen’s post-dieselgate electric car plans, the Budd-e also provides a glimpse at the gesture-based control system and autonomous driving technology the company is pursuing for future production models, including a driverless parking function planned for introduction on a successor to the Touareg in 2017.