In addition to the announcement of the new Jetta Hybrid as a 2012 production car, VW is showing the two-seat concept based on the current Beetle but integrating zero-emissions technology.
Called the E-Bugster, the concept’s low roofline clearly owes a debt to the original Ragster Beetle concept, and gives the design study a purposeful appearance. However, it’s the 114hp electric motor that’s getting all the attention thanks to a generous 199 lb-ft of torque.
A lithium-ion battery is said to enable the car to go more than 100 miles in zero emissions driving. It’s stored under the trunk floor and the rear bench, but weighs a significant 695 lb. Fortunately, all this weight is mounted low in the chassis, so shouldn’t upset the handling too badly.
The battery recharging plug is located under the VW logo on the hood and can accommodate all three types of available chargers: Level 1 (120V), Level 2 (240V) and, where available, Level 3 (quick charge – 80% in 30min).
Volkswagen is calling the electric drive unit “Blue-e-motion” and claims it will be found in future products such as the Golf Blue-e-Motion. In addition to being a study in electric mobility, the E-Bugster has a more upright widshield that can’t help aerodynamics… It also has LED Daytime Running Lights that form a distinctive graphic on either side of the front bumper’s air intake. This LED graphic is mirrored by reflectors in the rear bumper and is an echo of the e-up! concept car with similar DRLs.
From the side, the E-Bugster’s low roof is a counterpoint to the flared fenders and 20-inch wheels. With its extended chrome trim and low roof line, the Bugster is nearly three inches lower than a regular Beetle.
Inside, the traditional tachometer has been replaced with an energy consumption display that fluctuates with vehicle acceleration. Other instrumentation includes a driving range indicator, battery charge, and a display that shows the intensity of battery regeneration.
The E-Bugster hints at a hybrid or EV future for the Beetle and further underlines VW’s attempt to join other major manufacturers with greener vehicles.