Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept unveiled prior to the 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 9, 2012

The Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept is actually a preview of the electric version of the Vw Beetle that is about to come and we must admit that things are looking quite interesting. Of course, Volkswagen made the E-Bugster Concept more interesting by adding some new design features such as new LEDs integrated in the front bumper, a new set of five-spoke-wheels, a new rear bumper as well as an interesting hard top.

Moreover, the new concept also previews the convertible version of the Volkswagen Beetle that will probably make its debut later this year at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

The Vw E-Bugster Concept comes with an electric motor delivering 114 hp (85 kW) and 199 lb. ft. of torque and 695-pound lithium-ion battery fitted under the rear seats and trunk floor. According to the German manufacturer, the E-Bugster has a 100-mile driving range. The car can be quick charged in just 30 minutes to 80%, while the full charging takes few hours.

Inside, the car remains almost the same as the standard version of the Beetle, but Volkswagen added an energy consumption display in order to show the level of charging of the battery. More details to be revealed tomorrow when the car will be officially unveiled at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

Measuring 1,838 millimeters wide and 4,278 millimeters long, the E-Bugster is just as long but is 30 millimeters wider than the standard Beetle. The new roof is lower by 90 millimeters, bringing the height down to 1,400 millimeters. All of these make the Volkswagen E-Bugster look sportier and dynamic. The windshield is swept back and low, helping the drive see more. The rear screen is also very wide and practical.

Also, the rear and front bumpers have been redesigned compared to the production Beetles. You have LED daytime running lights up front, placed at the outer parts of the central air intake, each one taking on a C shape.

This is very similar to the lights you see on other Volkswagen electric concept vehicles. This design uses mirrors for the rear, where reflectors replace the LED lights. You also have flared wheel arches that house the 20-inch wheels that are made of alloy and that look like the 'Twister' alloys that you see on production Volkswagen cars. 235/35 tyres are used.

You could also find a chrome strip wrapping around the side windows’ bottom edge. This strip goes through from A-pillar to A-pillar. Meanwhile, you have a two seat interior that gives the E-Bugster its sporty and high-tech identity. These sports seats flank the continuous center console. You will also appreciate the aluminium door handles.

Push the Start button and the insides of the Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept become filled with a white light that turns blue. On the instrument panel, you will see a light pulse that goes from the instrument clusters to the doors and the air nozzles.

Press Release

Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept

The latest Beetle might be 'more power, less flower', but that doesn't mean that it's anything other than environmentally conscientious, and that's especially the case with the Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept, which is powered purely by electricity.

Revealed at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the two-seat VW E-Bugster Concept continues the latest Beetle's sporty theme. An electric motor provides 85 kWh of power, which can propel it from 0 to 60 mph in 10.9 seconds, and yet offer a range of at least 110 miles from the 28.3 kWh lithium-ion batteries. Even in a country as large as America, that's sufficient for the majority of commuters' needs, while if the E-Bugster needs a top-up, a fast-charging function allows complete recharging in just 35 minutes.

The quick charging is possible thanks to a new Combined Charging System that was developed in co-operation with Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, Ford and General Motors/Opel. This allows charging via single-phase AC sources (for example a 120-Volt US or 230-Volt European domestic outlet) or via ultra-fast DC sources at specific charging stations. To succeed, this will require the development of a uniform industry standard for sockets and plugs and also for the charge controller, so that all charging types can be handled.

Of course, the Volkswagen E-Bugster doesn't charge only when plugged in: as soon as the driver's foot leaves the accelerator pedal kinetic energy is transformed into electricity and stored in the battery. Applying the brakes increases the intensity of regeneration, a function that is indicated to the driver in the instrument panel. Other instruments include driving range and battery state indicators, and a meter that shows how much energy the driver is requesting via the accelerator pedal.

At 4,278 mm long and 1,838 mm wide, the E-Bugster is the same length as a standard Beetle but 30 mm wider, while the new roof lowers the height by around 90 mm to 1,400 mm. This helps to give the Volkswagen E-Bugster its more dynamic and sporty look. The low, swept-back windscreen ensures maximum visibility, as does the wide rear screen, which shows that speedster-style vehicles need not be impractical.

Both front and rear bumpers have been substantially modified from those of the production Beetle. At the front, LED daytime running lights at the outer edges of the central air intake form a C-shape on the left that is mirrored on the right - a signature feature of Volkswagen's electric vehicle concepts. This is also true at the back, where reflectors take the place of LEDs. Beneath the flared wheel arches sit 20-inch alloy wheels that are adapted from the 18-inch 'Twister' alloys of the production car, with 235/35 tyres. Around the bottom edge of the side windows is a chrome strip that loops around the vehicle from A-pillar to A-pillar. From this chrome strip to the top of the VW E-Bugster's hard top the height is a low 400mm.

Inside, the two-seat interior reflects the E-Bugster's blend of high-tech and sportiness, with sports seats nestling either side of a continuous centre console, plus aluminium door handles and seatbelt guides.

Starting the Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept is pure theatre: upon pressing the Start button the interior is bathed in white light, then blue light. It starts with a light pulse in the instrument cluster, from where the light emanates in a millimetre-wide strip, coursing into the doors and around the air nozzles.

If the E-Bugster's name is familiar, it should be: it takes some inspiration from the Ragster concept that made its debut at the 2005 Detroit Show, and which itself inspired the current Beetle. The 'E' of the name signifies the vehicle's electric power, and the 'Bug' part of the name should need no explanation.

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