VW Recharges Beetle Past With Electric Dune Buggy Concept

img 630978354 1548963888484 jpg Volkswagen I.D. Buggy Concept | Manufacturer image

Volkswagen is again reaching back to the future with a new concept for an electric car that revives the look and spirit of the classic VW-based dune buggies of 1960s California. The I.D. Buggy follows the throwback I.D. Buzz electric van concept that revisited the look of the old VW Microbus and now is headed for production.

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The electric buggy will be unveiled March 5 at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, and sketches released today show a swoopy, big-wheeled electric car that reflects the looks and capabilities of the original Meyers Manx bugg and the many knockoff kit cars that were designed for the beaches and sand dunes of yesteryear. Those cars used the VW Beetle platform, added big wheels and beefier suspension, and topped it with a roofless, doorless, fiberglass bucket body.

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The update is based on VW’s new MEB vehicle platform, which offers some of the same uncomplicated powertrain advantages for a buggy as the old air-cooled and self-contained Beetle powertrain. VW says the concept shows the flexibility of the MEB platform, as well as the opportunities it might present for low-volume and niche vehicle variations, much as the old Beetle platform did. VW says that about 250,000 one-off and low-volume vehicles were based on the Bug through to the 1980s.

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“A buggy is more than a car. It is vibrancy and energy on four wheels,” said Klaus Bischoff, VW’s head designer. “These attributes are embodied by the new I.D. Buggy, which demonstrates how a modern, non-retro interpretation of a classic can look and, more than anything else, the emotional bond that electric mobility can create.”

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Former D.C. Bureau Chief Fred Meier, who lives every day with Washington gridlock, has an un-American love of small wagons and hatchbacks. Email Fred Meier

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