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Geneva LIVE: Volkswagen's electric ID. Buggy concept

by Byron Hurd

The EV buggy first teased late last year makes its formal debut.

Volkswagen introduced its electric ID. Buggy concept in Geneva Monday at the VW Group's preview night, giving the world its first look at its nostalgia-infused blend of electric car and off-road toy.

First teased back in December and officially announced a month ago, the ID. Buggy blends a pure electric drivetrain with styling derived from the Meyers Manx dune buggies of the 1960s. As it turns out, this wasn't too hard for VW's designers to pull off.

Why? Well, what do electric drivetrains have in common with open-air-mounted and air-cooled gas engines? Neither needs a grille up front for a radiator. Volkswagen further embraced the old-school styling with fat, knobby BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires (255/55R-18 in the front; 285/60R-18 in the rear) at all four corners.

Power comes from a 62 kWh battery powering an electric motor with an output of 201 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque. Volkswagen says this combo is good for 155 miles of total range (WLTP). Like the original, the ID. Buggy is rear-wheel drive, but the platform supports a four-wheels-driven layout as well.

The compact, rear-mounted engine and outboard-oriented axles make also make for a rather large storage area behind the ID. Buggy's seat. The platform is also flexible enough for a second row of seating, should that make for a more desirable package.

While concepts don't often make their way to production, Volkswagen went out of its way to produce something with a greater chance of such a transition. Rather than simply forecasting the company's own future design intentions, Volkswagen approached the ID. Buggy's design with the possibility of making its variant of the company's MEB (modular electric drive matrix, because German) available to third parties for custom projects.

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