All-electric buggy has a range of 155 miles and can reach 99mph; VW hints start-up e.Go Mobile could build production version

Volkswagen has reinvented the 1960s Beetle-based dune buggy with the electric ID Buggy – and is considering allowing small-scale manufacturers to produce their own versions of the machine.

The ID Buggy revives the spirit of the Meyers Manx dune buggy and is built on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric architecture, which will first be put into production with the ID hatch later this year.

While production has yet to be confirmed, it is now being investigated, with low-volume, low-cost production start-up e.Go Mobile, which has become the first company to license the MEB platform for its own models, in the running to engineer and build the ID Buggy on behalf of VW, according to VW sales and marketing boss Jurgen Stackmann.

Stackmann also confirmed that the ID Buggy was “feasible as you see it” for production; “it’s not a show car, it’s pre-designed for readiness”, he added on the machine, which is not yet decided if it would wear a VW badge in production.

VW design chief Klaus Bischoff told Autocar the intent of the machine, which is described as "70% production ready" is to prove that electric cars can be fun. Stackmann said the design would be undertaken by VW, along with the supply of the hardware, while the engineering and production undertaken by e.Go Mobile.

The ID Buggy features a 202bhp, 228lb ft rear-mounted electric motor, offering 0-62mph in 7.2sec and a top speed of 99mph. Power comes from a 62kWh battery, giving a range of around 155 miles on the WLTP cycle.

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The rear-wheel-drive drivetrain echoes the Beetle drivetrain from the original buggies, but Volkswagen said that, as with other ID models, a motor could be fitted to the front axle to provide all-wheel drive.

The Buggy is 4063mm long, 1890mm wide and 1463mm tall, making it marginally shorter, wider and lower than the ID hatch. The buggy has a 2650mm wheelbase and a ground clearance of 2400mm, and sits on 18in wheels in large off-road tyres. The concept version is a two-seater, but two rear seats could potentially be added.

Bischoff called the Buggy a “modern, retro-free interpretation”. He added: “We wanted something that has the spirit of the original buggy, but it also had to be a fresh, new design.” 

The large front bumper and round LED headlights echo the Meyers Manx buggy, with the bodywork dropping at the sides. The front windscreen is free-standing, while the high rear end features a targa-style roll bar.

There are no doors, with the side instead dipping to make for easier access, and no roof. A detachable cover had been developed for the concept to protect from sun or rain. The eventual production version is likely to have a more secure detachable cover for the roof and sides.

The minimalist interior makes extensive use of durable, waterproof materials, including waterproof cloth seats with drains at the the bottom to ensure water does not pool in the seats.

Virtually all the controls are built into the hexagonal steering wheel. A controller stalk on the side of the wheel is used to select drive and engage the handbrake. There is a small digital information screen located behind the wheel, but there is no built-in infotainment or autonomy systems.

“The Buggy is all about going back to basics,” said Bischoff. “We wanted to show that there will be a place for simple, fun cars in the future.”

With no infotainment system, music can be played through built-in speakers using a smartphone connected via Bluetooth.

The car’s mixed aluminium, steel and plastic composite bodywork is self-supporting and can be removed from the MEB chassis. Bischoff said the aim is for external firms such as e.Go to develop their own bodywork, with VW providing the MEB chassis. VW could also build the car according to other firms' designs around its MEB chassis. 

He added: “The original buggy was developed by small companies using the Beetle, and we’re excited to see what firms can come up with. There is a long history of Volkswagen cars being turned into amazing machines by other firms.”

Volkswagen has previously revealed that it wants to make its MEB platform available for rival manufacturers to use. 

While the ID Buggy is a relatively niche machine, Bischoff said that the firm will be able to justify producing it in relatively small numbers because it can benefit from the economies of scale of the other ID cars on the MEB platform. “We need to sell hundreds of thousands of something to justify production,” said Bischoff. “We can do that with the ID hatch, and that allows us to make machines like the Buggy too.”

There is no firm date for the Buggy to go into production, but it will likely be after the more mainstream ID concepts that have been revealed. Following the hatch will come production machines based on the Cross SUV, Buzz van and Vizzion saloon. Another SUV and a luxury ‘ID Lounge’ are also planned.

The Buggy is part of Volkswagen’s ‘reinvention’ of some of its classic models, which also include the VW Transporter-inspired Buzz. Bischoff has previously confirmed that the firm is evaluating an ID-based reinvention of the Beetle, and he said several other similar models are being considered.

As well as showcasing the ID Buggy at Geneva, Volkswagen is previewing its plans for a mobile charging station service, which it says is close to production and planned to go into service in 2020.

The system works on the principle of a powerbank, similar to that used to charge smartphones, albeit on a much larger and powerful scale, with charging capacity of up to 360kWh. Volkswagen said the system will allow for charging points to be installed in temporary locations where there is demand, such as music festivals, and could potentially use recycled batteries from old ID models.

Read more

Opinion: Why Volkswagen wants firms to produce their own electric buggies

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Volkswagen ID Lounge: luxury SUV will lead electric line-up

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Comments
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4 March 2019

I cant see this ever being in production, therefore it must be purely for the purposes of creating more clickbait (such as this) from the Automotive media.

Firstly it would never get through NCAP with zero side impact protection...the sides of the car barely reach hip height!

Then there is the size of the thing...over 4 metres long, nearly 1.9 metres wide....its huge. A world away from the original Buggy.

Lastly, the raucous nature of the Buggy was half the fun, this will sound like an old fashioned invalid carriage.

I think the days of 'simple, fun' cars are all done regulations and Nanny states have seen to that, (the Caterham Seven would never get approval today if it was a new concept),  The closest we will get today  to that concept is probably the Jimny!

4 March 2019

Seven of the ten headlines on this current Autocar site is about cars from VW group - thats 70% !!

Autocar is nothing but a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG - no wonder their articles are so biased in favor of anything VW

4 March 2019
FRI2 wrote:

Seven of the ten headlines on this current Autocar site is about cars from VW group - thats 70% !!

Autocar is nothing but a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG - no wonder their articles are so biased in favor of anything VW

Or maybe because VW are doing a lot of press junkets today? Tomorrow might be heavily BMW, or Merc. Besides, VW group do see to have a lot to talk about.

Dear Autocar website designers,

I understand your need to bring revenue in with advertising. However, can you do it in a way that makes your site usable please?

Thanks

4 March 2019

Bruce Meyers is rolling in his grave trying to pull out the wadding that isn't stuffed in his ears for want of the harmonious and pleasurable exhaust trumpets that cease to exist... All that remains is the Ray Bradbury-esque din of whirrs and humms of its electric motors and gears

5 March 2019

It's cracking, but I can smell BS.  They aren't going to make this.

I say my bit, then go. So although I'm interested in what you may initially say, I don't care what you think about what I've written, so I won't read whatever your reply is.

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