Driving Volkswagen’s all-electric ID Buggy idea

The VW electrical ID Buggy idea is pleasant and vibrant, stout and smiling. It’s a automobile match for the sunshine and sand dunes, or maybe a much less committing sluggish roll alongside the seaside.

And so my first drive in a prototype of the all-electric buggy — alongside the coast close to Spanish Bay in Monterey, Calif., — was tinged with disappointment. In any case, the ID Buggy is only a idea. It’s not meant for this world. Not less than not proper now.

There may be nonetheless an opportunity that the ID Buggy will make it to manufacturing. VW is already in talks with “at the very least one firm” to carry the buggy into manufacturing, TechCrunch confirmed.

The international debut of the ID Buggy idea on the 89th Geneva Worldwide Motor Present in March was meant to showcase VW’s electrical future and display the flexibility of its modular electrical drive toolkit chassis, or MEB. The MEB, which was launched in 2016, is a versatile modular system — actually a matrix of widespread elements — for producing electrical automobiles that VW says make it extra environment friendly and cost-effective.

The primary automobiles to make use of this MEB platform shall be below the ID model, though this platform can and shall be used for electrical automobiles below different VW Group manufacturers resembling Skoda and Seat. (The MEB received’t be utilized by VW manufacturers Audi or Porsche, that are creating their very own platform for electrical automobiles.)

VW has proven off a number of ID ideas. A few of these, just like the ID Crozz and ID Buzz are going into manufacturing. A manufacturing model of the Crozz is coming to the U.S. on the finish of 2020. Others, like this buggy, should not presently on the manufacturing monitor.


Driving the ID Buggy Drive

The ID Buggy is easy, and that’s precisely what it needs to be. No muddle or whiz-bang creature comforts. As an alternative, this leisure automobile impressed by the 1960s period Meyers Manx has no roof or doorways — though a tarpaulin will be stretched between the windscreen body and the Targa bar as a solar sail or gentle climate safety. With out doorways, the driving force climbs in, and with relative ease, relying on one’s basic health and suppleness.

The ID Buggy towers over its inspiration — the long-lasting Meyers Manx buggy that turned standard among the many California beach-and-surf tradition of the 1960s.

The ID Buggy was additionally a quieter, smoother trip than the Meyers Manx. I additionally spent a while in a traditional vibrant pink buggy with a four-speed guide transmission and gasoline engine which may have been a contact carbureted. Whereas the Manx roared as I shifted into first and peeled away, the electrical ID Buggy was silent and clean because it rolled out of the sandy car parking zone.

vw id buggy wheel

The principle element contained in the ID Buggy is the shortage of options and do-dads. The hexagonal steering wheel, proven above, isn’t affected by toggles; there are only a couple of controls on the crossbar. A small built-in inventory to the precise facet of the steering wheel permits the driving force to maneuver the automobile into drive, reverse and park. A digital instrument cluster gives the fundamental info like velocity.

Even the brake and accelerator pedals proceed this stripped-down design story. 

The dashboard and the passenger space are simply as void of options. This lack of “stuff” is extra about operate than kind, though the matte inexperienced and textured gray blue on the backside does make a visible assertion. The ID Buggy is supposed to be pushed within the parts, rain or shine. And so designers made the inside waterproof.

vw buggy dash

Underneath the ID Buggy’s physique is the place the great things lives.

The rear-wheel drive buggy is outfitted with an electrical motor that produces 201 horsepower and a most torque of 228 pound-feet. It has a 62-kilowatt-hour battery that may journey 155 miles (below the WLTP commonplace) on a single cost. There may be not an EPA estimate for the vary. It might probably speed up from a standstill to 62 miles per hour in 7.2 seconds.

Sadly, this prototype had a kill-the-thrill velocity limiter on it, scuttling my plans for a zippy trip alongside the coast.

Nonetheless, the ID Buggy supplied a enjoyable and simple, breezy trip. It dealt with the curves of the roads with ease and its vast physique and better rear finish supplied a way of safety even whereas driving amid different a lot bigger passenger automobiles.

vw buggy id front

Constructing the ID Buggy

It’s unclear what firm, or firms, are in talks to provide the buggy. VW wouldn’t give names; not even the ocean breeze and cloudless sky or the limitless supercar eye sweet had been sufficient to loosen the lips of VW staff throughout Monterey Automotive Week.

It’s doable that this unnamed firm is e.Go Cell. VW introduced in March that e.Go Cell can be its first exterior companion to make use of its MEB electrical platform to launch different EVs along with Volkswagen’s mannequin vary. A devoted automobile undertaking is already being deliberate, VW mentioned on the time.

A VW spokesperson advised TechCrunch there’s no choice about which automotive shall be produced below this partnership with e.Go Cell. It may very well be the buggy; it may be another automobile.

After which there’s Ford. Earlier this yr, the 2 automakers introduced a partnership that features Ford producing electrical automobiles based mostly on the MEB developed by Volkswagen.

The VW people on the bottom in Monterey did categorical hope {that a} third celebration does construct the buggy, or a modified model of it. As one spokesperson later advised TechCrunch, “Because the drive in Monterey confirmed, the Buggy is a superb ambassador for Volkswagen and for e-mobility. I’m positive it might discover a number of prospects.”

In the long run, the ID Buggy is a glossy cruiser relatively than a seaside bomber just like the 1960s unique. It efficiently demonstrates the flexibility round VW’s electrical platform. In any case, Volkswagen foresees important elements within the ID Buggy used to energy a number of shopper electrical automobiles within the close to future. And it’s a good assumption the ID Buggy’s manufacturing cousins can have a bit extra devices, together with foolish issues like doorways.

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