How do you salvage a tainted image and divert people attention
from a looming court case for flaunting fuel emission
regulations? Well, calling a press conference and sincerely
apologizing would do for me but wait a minute…Volkswagen did
more than that.
The scandal-rocked automaker launched a pure-electric van which
we can say is purposefully built to conjure warm feelings from
its customers, authorities and the general public (With its 0%
C02 emission it is in a whole opposite realm of the diesel
engines involved in the scandal). The vehicle which was
unveiled on the eve of Consumer Electronic s Show won the best
innovation award sponsored by the Engadget magazine courtesy of
its exceptionally efficient battery.
In winning the award, the Budd-e-Concept beat a quadcopter and
a drone technology add on, the other two finalists. VW has been
planning to release such a vehicle for a long time; in 2001,
the automaker showcased the Microbus concept at Detroit Auto
Show and reminded us of the concept with the smaller Bulli
concept in 2011. The Budd-e comes as an evolved model of the
two. All in all, the automaker should be planning a production
version rather than show us a concept after the other of the
Still it seems VW is long away from releasing a production
model since they have only promised that only some of the
Budd-e features will be adopted in other models. Anyway, read
along to find out why this automobile is rated so highly in
terms of innovativeness;
Volkswagen BUDD-e Concept Exterior
The Volkswagen Budd-e concept will be the first of a brand new
generation of plug-in electric vehicles. It will be based on
MEB platform specifically developed to optimize space usage and
accommodate large batteries for plug-in vehicles.
By all standards, the Volkswagen BUDD-e will be a compact
MPV. It will stretch 181 inches long with a width of 72.2
inches and a height of 72.2 inches. It will also have a long
wheelbase of 124.1 inches and short overhangs which make it
look elongated and planted to the ground.
It will feature a two-tone color finish (white and gold). It
will also feature LED lights on its illuminated VW logo fitted
on the center of the front grille and on its headlights,
taillights and fog lights. Mirrors are replaced with cameras
and the rear features a continuous strip of LED lighting which
results in a wraparound look. Its doors are operated via
infrared sensors and one only needs to wave at the door.
Volkswagen BUDD-e Concept Interior
The Budd-e will accommodate 2 rows of seats. The rear is fitted
with a wraparound bench that adds a touch of lounge-like
atmosphere, a large entertainment system behind the driver’s
seat and carpeted floor. The front passenger seat according to
Volkswagen sketches can swivel to enable the driver to face
At the front, VW designers have combined its instrument cluster
with its infotainment system to a single unit which is mounted
behind the steering wheel. The new system will offer navigation
directions, driving information, entertainment information as
well as video stream for its camera-based mirrors.
Its 2-spoke steering wheel is also fitted with
pressure-sensitive touch pads and swipes which replace
traditional buttons. What’s more, the vehicle can be controlled
via gestures, touch-screen or via voice control. To activate
voice recognition, one needs to announce “Hello BUDD-e”.
The vehicle will also offer advanced connectivity with your
home enabling features such as checking your security cameras.
This is in line with VW’s vision of a world of
interconnectivity between vehicles and our homes) Climate
control systems are wisely fitted at the front of the MVP which
allows inclusion of larger filters and reduction of fan noise
in the cabin.
Engine Specs and output
Under the hood is where the “Buddy”…sorry, Budd-e-excels. It is
equipped with a gigantic 101 kWh lithium-ion battery. This is
what won the Budd-e the best innovation award at the ECS. The
battery gives the MPV a 233 miles range.
In addition, the battery can be replenished to 80% from 0% in
only fifteen minutes using a fast charging technology; the
automaker also plans to offer cordless inductive charging. The
vehicle is estimated to hit a top speed of 93 mph
The battery is fitted fully flat underneath occupying almost
the entire floor which helps the MPV retain huge van-like cabin
space. The vehicle will be equipped with two motors which will
drive all wheels.
Coincidence or excellent timing
The fact that the Budd-e concept was revealed a day after the
Department of Justice filled a case against VW for cheating on
emission tests raises eyebrows. Though the timing might be
coincidental, the concept is intentional.
The fact that the automaker only announced the MEB development
in October last year and 2 months later is announcing a concept
based on the platform is indicates to their intent to
minimize the extent of damage their reputation.
Coincidence or not, the idea is ripe and the time is right for
a remake of the Microbus. What more, if it is reputation they
want to salvage, a Microbus will do them wonders.