Genetically Modified BeetleConcept cars can be frustrating. They often contain good ideas, but often pushed too far; designers and engineers push the "conceptual" aspect too far and everything has to mean something. Certain lines are supposed to evoke various emotions, names are supposed to represent this or that, etc... But they often end up looking like caricatures of Jetson cars. Thankfully, the VW E-Bugster concept doesn't go too far in that direction (the "E" is for electric, the "bug" for Beetle, and "ster" for "speedster", even though it's not actually a convertible). It ends up looking like a souped up Beetle, and what's under the hood can give us some clues as to what VW engineers are working on in the electric car department.
VW E-Bugsters Technical Specifications
"At the electric 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 and the rear bench, 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."
This drivetrain in a Golf or even Jetta could end up competing with the Nissan LEAF, Ford Focus Electric, Chevy Volt, etc. The quick charge option would be especially nice to have, and hopefully carmakers can make sure to standardize it so that fast-charging stations are compatible with all EV models.
Here is VW's description of the 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.
From the side, the E-Bugster’s low, flat roof serves to frame the rest of the vehicle’s distinctive features. 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 top of the E-Bugster 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 speedster. Overall, the Bugster is nearly three inches lower than a Beetle.
Like other concept cars, if it proves popular enough, VW might turn it into a production model at some point. But it's too early for that, and so far there are no plans to make a commercial E-Bugster.
More from the 2012 Detroit Auto Show: 2013 VW Jetta Hybrid Debuts at Detroit Auto Show (Lithium-ion Battery, 45 MPG, Turbocharged)