Volkswagen's hippy bus could reincarnate as a retro-styled electric van

2019 volkswagen budd e news specs range pics concept 5784
The Budd-e concept that Volkswagen presented during 2016’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been approved for production, according to British magazine Autocar, which spoke to sources familiar with the automaker’s plans. The family-friendly, retro-inspired model will be one of the first cars built on the group’s new Modular Electric Drive platform.

The concept’s design pays homage to the iconic Bus, which was introduced in 1950 and axed just a few short years ago. Much like the Bus was based on the original Beetle, the Budd-e — a name that most likely won’t be retained for production — will share its bones with the production version of the I.D. concept shown a few months ago in Paris. Power will be provided by a rear-mounted electric motor programmed to zap the back wheels with 163 horsepower and upcoming advances in battery technology will allow it to offer up to 310 miles of range. All-wheel drive will be offered at an extra cost.

Insiders say the stylish sheet metal will make the jump from the show floor to dealerships with only minor tweaks. The van will stretch about 192 inches from bumper to bumper, and it will offer one of the most spacious interiors in its segment thanks to clever packaging solutions made possible by the compact electric drivetrain. For that reason, a gasoline-powered variant of the Budd-e isn’t in the works.

Engineers are developing the Budd-e as a fun, family-focused model with space for up to seven passengers spread out over three rows of seats. However, it’s not difficult to imagine a work-oriented version of the van aimed at businesses big and small. Volkswagen has been toying with the idea of returning to the commercial vehicles segment in the United States for a few years, so the Budd-e might spearhead the project.

The Bus was, for all intents and purposes, an economy car, but the Budd-e will be positioned a little bit higher up on the market. Notably, Autocar learned that well-equipped models will boast high-definition screens for the instrument cluster and the infotainment system, an advanced heads-up display, and the semi-autonomous technology that Volkswagen is developing. All of these features will be hallmarks of future electric Volkswagen models.

Volkswagen will introduce the production version of the I.D. concept in 2020. The Budd-e could arrive about a year later if the rumors are accurate.


Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.