Plug in, Bug out: VW unveils E-Bugster concept car at the Detroit Auto Show

Volkswagen rolled into the Motor City with something a little different this year—think of it as a time machine in the guise of a car. Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, it’s a little something we call the E-Bugster, and it’s the latest addition to our Blue-e-motion™ line of concept cars. While its design lines hearken back to the classic Beetle era, it takes a future-forward leap with an all-electric motor and pumped-up, speedster styling.

At the heart of the E-Bugster is a 114-horsepower (85 kW) electric motor and a lithium-ion battery that enables the car to go more than 100 miles with zero emissions. Stored under the trunk floor and the rear bench, the battery weighs a mere 695 pounds—pretty light, considering all the power it’s producing. The battery is recharged via a plug interface located beneath the hood’s VW logo and can accommodate all three types of available chargers: Level 1 (120V), Level 2 (240V) and, where available, Level 3 (quick charge; 80 percent charge in 30 minutes).

Up front, the E-Bugster boasts a distinctive flat, wide. The E-Bugster features the same “C”-shaped LED daytime running lights offered on the production Beetle, mirrored as reflectors in the rear bumper. The front end is arched and stretched, like a chopped-down speedster; it’s three inches shorter than the production Beetle.

A unique exterior look isn’t all that sets the E-Bugster apart from the production Beetle; a peek inside reveals other differences. Traditional gauges are for traditional vehicles, and the E-Bugster is anything but. It features EV-specific gauges, like an energy consumption display that fluctuates with vehicle acceleration, a driving range indicator and a display that shows the battery’s charge state. There’s even a display that shows the level of battery regeneration, important for long road trips.

We know you can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the first-ever electric Beetle, but we’re afraid you’ll have to. Concept cars like the E-Bugster and the award-winning Bulli offer a glimpse into the future of the automotive world, and besides, good things come to those who wait. Even though you can’t drive it now, you can see it at the Detroit Auto Show, located on the main stage of the Volkswagen booth And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for live updates from the show.

Tell us: what do you like best about the E-Bugster?


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