CES 2016: 7 Things to Know About the Volkswagen BUDD-e Concept
Among the more talked-about rumors in the lead-up to the 2016 edition of CES has been the potential of some type of Volkswagen Bus revival featuring some form of electric drivetrain. Well we finally have that van, in the form of the Volkswagen BUDD-e, and it is much more than a clever name. All New Electric-Focused Platform The BUDD-e rides on an all-new Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) platform. It features a zero-emissions drivetrain capable of up to 373 all-electric miles by the end of the decade (On New European Driving Cycle). It is comprised of a 101-kWh battery, powering a pair of electric motors–one at the front and one at the rear. It is also claimed that the new battery can be charged up to 80 percent in just 15 minutes. It remains to be seen how much of that is tangible technology right now, and how much still needs to be developed. RELATED: See More of the 2016 Volkswagen Budd-e Concept
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Rethinking Driver/Passenger Ergonomics
The BUDD-e features a very clean design for the interior controls, and Volkswagen says it's a major new direction for interior design. Unlike some concepts where design outweighs utility, there is apparently some thought on the part of VW when it comes to how this type of aesthetic would function in real-world application. The entire system adopts more of a tablet setup, eschewing tactile buttons. The instrument cluster and center stack controls have been merged (much like the look of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class interior)
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New Infotainment Layout
Volkswagen says the BUDD-e features something called an Active Info Display, which is basically a fully customizable infotainment system. The screen can be operated via gestures, touch control, or toggles on the multifunction steering wheel. This system debuted, in one particular form, in the 2015 Volkswagen Passat, but this looks like that concept has been taken to a new extreme.
A Smarter Car
The BUDD-e also foreshadows enhanced connectivity to your home or workplace, much in the way that smartphones are accounting for your daily routine and try to predict what you’ll need next. This system allows the driver or passenger to do things like controlling the A/C in your office, turn the lights on or off, or even check to see if your kids are home. This makes the BUDD-e smarter than any vehicle that wears the SMART car label.
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The BUDD-e has something called Gesture Control 2.0 and it allows you to control various features of the vehicle simply by employing specific hand gestures. For instance, a rear passenger can open the power sliding doors simply by waving their hand in front of that door.
The BUDD-e can remind occupants if they have forgotten an item, and drivers can create inventory lists for items to bring with you. You can fit certain items with transmitters that the BUDD-e can then sense if they are present when you get into the car. It will also be able to know if there is inclement weather and alert you to bring an umbrella.
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Visionary Van Design
There will likely be no production version of the BUDD-e, which is a bummer. Still, Volkswagen says that design cues from the BUDD-e are meant to inform future production models. So maybe look for a Golf, Tuareg, Tiguan, Passat, etc. in the near future to feature blacked out a-pillars, a beaming grille that flows effortlessly into the headlights, the darkened accent line behind the headlights, or the underslung section of the taillights.
It will be very interesting to see what elements of this concept make it on future VW models.