Volkswagen Shows All-Electric E-Bugster

Volkswagen’s iconic Beetle has been redefined for the 21st century. Now, it has been further reinvented as a concept car for the future: the pure electric E-Bugster.

The name “E-Bugster” is a combination of “E” for electric, “Bug,” the American nickname for the Beetle, and “speedster,” which typically describes an open-top two-seater. The E-Bugster concept sports the typical speedster profile of shallow windows and a dramatically cut-down windshield.

At the heart of the E-Bugster is an electric motor that makes 114 horsepower (85 kW) and 199 pound-feet of torque. A lithium-ion battery enables the car to go more than 100 miles in zero emissions driving. Stored under the trunk floor, the battery weighs 695 pounds. The battery is recharged via a plug interface located underneath the hood’s VW logo and can accommodate all three types of available chargers: Level 1 (120V), Level 2 (240V), and, where available, Level 3 (quick charge, 80 percent charge in 30 minutes). Holistically, Volkswagen calls the electric drive unit used in the E-Bugster “Blue-e-motion,” and it will be found in future products such as the Golf Blue-e-Motion.

In addition to being a study in pure-electric mobility, the E-Bugster is also a dynamic study in Beetle design. Up front, the E-Bugster’s flat and wide windshield is distinctive. The E-Bugster utilizes LED Daytime Running Lights, just like the production Beetle, except that here they form a distinctive graphic on either side of the lower air intake in the front bumper. This LED graphic is mirrored by reflectors in the rear bumper. Ever since the e-up! concept car was presented in Europe, these unique DRLs have become a signature element on Volkswagen electric vehicle studies.

The E-Bugster’s profile previews what a Beetle convertible might look like — except that the windshield has been dramatically lowered by nearly three inches. Between its flared fenders and 20-inch wheels, there’s a distinctive Beetle “V” that runs along the side of the vehicle. Above its side sill, a decal with the “E-Bugster” signature can be seen. Just above this point, the chrome has been lengthened from the lower window border towards the rear of the car. The E-Bugster has a removable hardtop, which extends in a flat arch over this chrome line and borders the vehicle’s side windows. The height between the chrome lower edge of these windows and the uppermost roof line is tight, like a chopped-down coupe.

A unique exterior look isn’t all that sets the E-Bugster apart from the production Beetle; it also sports EV-specific gauges inside. The traditional tachometer has been replaced with an energy consumption display that fluctuates with vehicle acceleration. Other instrumentation includes a driving range indicator, a display showing the battery’s charge state, and a display that shows the driver the intensity of battery regeneration.

2 Comments

  • January 11, 2012 - 8:22 pm | Permalink

    The concept is interesting. But is there going to be a charging station all over the country, or are you supposed to carry a charger around?

  • james braselton
    January 15, 2012 - 9:59 pm | Permalink

    hi there san deigo the answer is just plug into any 110 outlet charger has a charger and dont woory i will have big bang batteries out before release infint unaverses range

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