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Volkswagen ID. Buggy Is Little (But Not Blue) as It Debuts in Geneva

img531584736 1551732112803 jpg Volkswagen ID.Buggy concept | Manufacturer images

Looks like: A modern Meyers Manx; Speed Buggy from the old, eponymous Hanna-Barbera cartoon

Defining characteristics: Rear-wheel drive, rear electric motor, detachable body

Ridiculous features: A factory-built, detachable-body electric dune buggy? The whole thing is ridiculous (in a good way).

Chance of being mass-produced: Volkswagen could build the ID. Buggy, but it probably won’t — and even if VW did, it would never make large numbers.

Cue that song by The Presidents of the United States of America. The Volkswagen ID. Buggy is a modern take on the dune buggies that were popular in the 1960s and ’70s, featuring a 201-horsepower electric motor with 228 pounds-feet of torque mounted in the rear and powering the rear wheels — although VW says an additional motor could be added to the front of the buggy to make it all-wheel drive. The automaker also says it could be easily converted to a 2+2 seating arrangement instead of the concept’s two-seat layout.

Related: More Geneva Motor Show Coverage

That configurability is true to the spirt of the original dune buggies that were based on Volkswagen Beetle models, and where the original body was removed from the chassis and replaced with a new fiberglass design. The ID. Buggy rides on VW’s MEB electric-vehicle platform, and the composite body can be completely detached from the chassis, which VW wants to use as an invitation for third-party companies to create alternatives to the current design.

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The body itself is roofless and doorless, though a black tarp can be stretched from the windscreen frame to the bar behind the seats to provide shade or minimal protection from the elements. Running gear for the ID. Buggy includes 18-inch wheels with staggered-size BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires — 255/55 at the front and 285/60 at the rear. There’s an aluminum skid plate to protect the ID. Buggy’s vitals, and the aluminum side sills also serve to protect the car from damage.

Inside, as currently configured, there are two seats up front and a raised, rubber-lined shelf behind the seats for cargo storage. Water-resistant materials are used throughout the minimalist cabin, and the ID. Buggy’s display is meant to indicate its readiness for whatever the driver can throw at it.

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The electric powertrain is good for a claimed zero-to-62-mph time of 7.2 seconds, an electronically limited top speed of 99 mph and 155 miles of what VW terms “short but active” range. Will it ever reach production? Probably not, although it’s fun to think about the versatility of the MEB platform and its potential as a kit-car base.

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Photo of Brian Normile
Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and Cars.com in 2013, and he became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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