The People’s Car has come a long way since 1938. Where the original Beetle was simple, utilitarian and cute, the E-Bugster is sleek, sporty and elegant.
This week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit is setting the tone for 2012 as the Year of the Electric Vehicle, as a couple dozen new EVs glide onto the stage. Volkswagen’s E-Bugster concept is sure to be one of the most talked-about models.
The People’s Car has come a long way since 1938. Where the original Beetle was simple, utilitarian and (for want of a better word) cute, the E-Bugster is sleek, sporty and elegant. VW’s marketing mavens seem to have wisely taken a page from Tesla’s playbook. The concept car sports a “typical speedster profile,” with a removable hard top, shallow windows, flared fenders and LED running lights that form a racy graphic on the bumper.
Under the stylish hood is an 85-kW electric motor that cranks out 114 hp and 199 pound-feet of torque. The battery, located beneath the trunk, supports all three levels of charging, and delivers a range of more than 100 miles. The “Blue-e-motion” electric power train will also be used in upcoming models including an EV version of the Golf.
There’s no word yet on whether and when the E-Bugster will go into production. But we predict it will be an instant hit with the media, especially the segment thereof that can’t seem to mention EVs without using the word “hippy” in the same sentence. Expect the terms “iconic” and “flower power” to be trotted out ad nauseam.