• Fun retro styling
  • Range of 155 miles
  • 201-horsepower electric motor
  • 62-kilowatt lithium-ion battery
  • Based on VW’s MEB EV platform

 

Back in the late-1960s and early 1970s, Volkswagen-powered dune buggies were all the rage in the surf-dominated culture of Southern California, with the Manx of Bruce Meyers starting the craze and leading the way. The VW-based Manx, fitted with an open-top fiberglass body, was a smile on wheels that spawned countless imitators. Now, Volkswagen has entered the fray with the ID. Buggy, an electric concept revealed at the Geneva Motor Show.

Unlike the original Meyers Manx, which used a shortened VW Beetle chassis, the ID. Buggy is built on Volkswagen’s new modular electric drive MEB architecture. As such, it has a 62-kWh lithium-ion battery integrated into its floor, along with a rear-mounted 201-horsepower electric motor that gives this futuristic retro buggy a claimed range of 155 miles.

Open-air experience

The composite body, which visually “floats” above the chassis, features no roof, and the two-seat interior is weatherproof.  As a minimalistic design without doors, this new electric VW buggy concept succeeds at showing it’s related to the fun-loving VW-powered buggies of the past. VW's head designer, Klaus Bischoff, cites the purity of simplicity as the inspiration for the buggy's shape. "No roof. No doors (we have enough cars with doors)," he says, "We cooked it down to the essence of design."

While the ID. Buggy is a 2-seater, it can be converted to a 2+2 and an additional electric motor can be hung on the front axle to create a 4-wheel-drive version. Additionally, the modular design of the new ID. Buggy allows for the upper body to be detached from the chassis, which was done on purpose to allow third-party manufacturers to make their own kits for the car, such as Bruce Meyers did with the Beetle in creating the original Manx.

No radiator, like the original

Because it’s electric, the Volkswagen ID. Buggy has no need for a radiator grille, and the shape of this summer cruiser is instantly recognizable as a VW. The raised ride height, flared fenders and short front and rear overhangs hint at this concept’s off-road abilities. The LED headlights and taillights, along with an LED VW logo, add a friendly air of approachability to the vehicle. To create the floating effect of the upper body, VW paints the top half of the ID. Buggy—the fenders and shoulders—matte green, while the bottom part is covered by a textured paint in a color called Grey Tech Blue.

As a dune buggy, this VW concept wears 18-inch wheels and aggressive BFGoodrich off-road tires (255/55 front, 285/60 at rear), while its underside is protected by an aluminum guard protecting the front axle and ancillaries in off-road driving. Aluminum side sill panels also help provide underbody protection.  

If the ID. Buggy ever gets stuck and needs to be pulled out, two steel eyelets integrated in the bumpers are designed for just the purpose.  Also, the Targa bar and a reinforced windscreen frame are specifically designed to provide rollover support. Although technically there is no roof on the car, a black tarp can be stretched between the ID. Buggy’s windshield and the targa bar to serve as a sun shield.

Also: Check out the latest news from the Geneva Motor Show

Compact footprint

The ID. Buggy concept is 160.0 inches long, 74.4 inches wide and 57.6 inches high, and it rides on a compact 104.3-inch wheelbase while short overhangs aid off-road prowess. What’s more, VW says the electric powertrain is a tidy package, so the ID. Buggy boasts an interior space about one class above that of comparable car with a conventional drivetrain. Neat interior details include a digital instrument cluster and hexagonal steering wheel covered in water-repellent leather, but again, the design philosophy was simplicity: "The cockpit is so simple, I can describe it in one sentence," says Bischoff.

VW says the ID. Buggy concept will hit 62 mph in 7.2 seconds, and reach an electronically controlled top speed of 99 mph. While that’s a good deal quicker than most of those original dune buggies, we can only hope VW’s new electric buggy is just as much fun.

Bonus Content: Check out the Volkswagen ID. ROOMZZ 3-row electric SUV

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