Volkswagen I.D. Buggy Electric Off-Roader Revealed Ahead of Geneva Motor Show
On the eve of the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen revealed a conceptual electric off-roader which it calls the I.D. Buggy.
Inspired by the Beetle-based Meyers Manx beach creature of yore, the I.D. Buggy is an open-topped, doorless off-roader concept, one that VW says "puts the fun in functional." It sports two seats, across which a canopy can be stretched, from the top of the windshield to the structural, rollover-safe targa bar behind the headrests. Because the I.D. Buggy is about being out in the elements, it serves only as an escape from rain or overbearing sun, and only for the front seat passengers: VW says the I.D. Buggy can be configured for four riders.
A 62 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack feeds a single electric motor on the rear axle, which can generate maximum power of 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. Zero-to-60 evaporates in 7.2 seconds, and the I.D. Buggy can eventually march on to 99 miles per hour. Estimated range on the slightly generous WLTP protocol is 155 miles.
VW says it could mount a second motor to the I.D. Buggy's front axle, giving the vehicle all-wheel-drive, though it doesn't say what this would do to the vehicle's range or performance capabilities.
On-road chops and creature comforts matter very little for what amounts to a dedicated off-roader. BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A tires 255/55 up front and 286/60 out back enclose 18-inch wheels, which give the I.D. Buggy a solid 9.4 inches of ground clearance. Overhangs are 27 inches in front, and 28.6 out back, and when that isn't enough, there are solid aluminum underbody guards to protect the frame and drivetrain from damage. Should the I.D. Buggy be beached, steel tow loops can allow the vehicle to be winched or yanked back out.
As the I.D. Buggy is just a concept car, and not a practical one at that, VW can't commit to bringing the vehicle to production, even though the MEB platform allows even niche, low-volume models such as this to have viable business cases. VW states that even if it doesn't build the I.D. Buggy, someone else can build it for them. It declares that I.D. Buggy's upper body can be stripped away from the MEB frame, and that custom bodies can be fitted to MEB-based models in the same way that the Meyers Manx was a re-bodied VW Beetle.
"A clear signal to small series manufacturers and start-ups: as in the past, Volkswagen is opening up to external producers with the I.D. Buggy concept," the automaker's release reads. "The offer: on this basis you can build the emission-free dune buggy for a new era—no matter whether for Santa Barbara in California, the Yalong Bay in China or St. Peter-Ording in Germany."
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