Volkswagen unveiled its all-electric dune buggy at the Geneva International Motor Show this week to demonstrate how the German automaker’s modular electric drive platform can be used for widely varying types of vehicles.
The ID. Buggy concept forsakes a roof and doors for a waterproof interior and two integrated seats. A reinforced windshield frame and Targa bar protect occupants in a rollover. The dune buggy uses a black tarp to shield occupants from the sun or rain.
A 201-horsepower electric motor produces 228 pound-feet of torque and offers a 0-to-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds on a paved road. The ID. Buggy’s top speed is 99 mph. The concept uses 18-inch wheels. The buggy has a ground clearance of 9.4 inches and a solid aluminum underbody guard to protect the front axle. As with all vehicles built on this platform, the standard setup is rear-wheel drive. VW says the concept could be fitted with a second electric motor on the front axle for 4Motion four-wheel drive.
VW has displayed five other concept EVs that use its modular – MEB – platform, including the I.D. Crozz SUV and the I.D. Buzz van. The MEB was designed specifically for all-electric vehicles. VW said that the production vehicles in the ID family will have a scalable range of between 200 and 300 miles based on internal estimates. The ID. Buggy concept uses a 62-kWh battery for what VW said was a “short but active” range of 155 miles.
While the ID. Buggy is a concept vehicle, VW says that it was designed to allow owner modifications similar to those made on the classic VW Beetles to turn them into dune buggies. A second row of seats can be added, for example, and third-party manufacturers can easily remove the upper body and install a cabin of their own design.
The ID. Buggy’s wheelbase is just 104.3 inches. But the MEB platform would accommodate a design that pushes the wheels and axles to the edges of the car, creating an interior space that’s one class size larger than the conventional drivetrain allows.
VW will start building the first MEB-based EVs for the U.S. market in its Chattanooga, Tenn., factory in 2022. It currently builds the Passat sedan and Atlas SUV there. VW has said that worldwide, it plans to build 10 million vehicles in over two dozen styles based on the MEB platform.