The Volkswagen ID Buggy Melds the Past with the Future
After much teasing, the new Volkswagen dune buggy is finally here. All-electric and ready to elicit nostalgia, the cult classic returns, bringing its storied past into the 21st century.
Based on the original Beetle-based Meyer Manx buggies that ran rampant on beaches all over the world during the 1960s, the retro off-roader Volkswagen ID Buggy is built on VW's modular electric drive matrix (MEB) and arrives sans fixed roof and conventional doors as the car that inspired it. Open sideskirts, freestanding wheels, and a remarkably tall ride height rank among the car’s more standout characteristics.
As this is an all-electric vehicle, the ID Buggy is driven by a floor-mounted lithium-ion battery pack that sends its power to a rear-mounted 204 hp electric motor. The modular platform allows for modifications and enhancements to be done to the car in the near future: VW says that the front wheels can be powered by an additional motor for a genuine 4x4 experience, and the upper body is easily detachable from the MEB chassis and replaced with a body of another color.
The ID Buggy's body sections are either made of steel, aluminum, or plastic. With seating just for two, there's a trunk-like open space right behind the aisle between the driver and passenger that possibly fits two more passengers or a securely-fastened large cargo. A minimalist approach pervades in the cabin, with the small digital cluster and storage shelf as the only functional accouterments.
"A buggy is more than a car. It's an attitude towards life," states Klaus Bischoff, Head Designer at Volkswagen. "This is notably embodied in the new ID Buggy: It visualizes a modern, non-retro interpretation of such a classic and, most of all, that electric mobility can be very emotional."
Alas, the ID Buggy is still in the concept stage, and judging from the looks of it, is meant as a one-off showpiece to demonstrate the versatility of the VW MEB platform. But if it generates enough buyer interest, who knows if we'll see a stylish VW buggy rollicking again on a beach?