Volkswagen has officially unveiled the Budd-e concept at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Described as a Microbus for the 21st century, the Budd-e has a bold front fascia with LED headlights and a massive grille that features LED ambient lighting. The concept also has flared D-pillars, unique taillights, and 21-inch alloy wheels. Other highlights include roof-mounted solar panels, digital rearview mirrors, and a "Drop Box" that pops out of the rear bumper.
Overall, the concept measures 181 inches long, 76.3 inches wide, and 72.2 inches tall with a wheelbase that spans 124.1 inches. This effectively means the concept slots between the Touran and the Multivan T6.
Once inside the cabin, drivers will find themselves surrounded by a massive curved display that consists of three individually configurable screens. The model also has a wraparound rear seat and a "switchless" multifunction steering wheel that responds to swipes and pressure.
Virtually all of the concept's features - including the doors - are controlled by touch and gesture controls. However, the car also has an advanced voice recognition system that activates when you say “Hello Budd-e.” The system is intuitive and can respond to informal commands such as a request to "turn the heat up a bit.” The system can even recognize who says a command, so if a passenger makes a request to adjust the temperature only their climate control zone will be changed.
The Budd-e rides on Volkswagen's all-new Modular Electric Platform (MEB) which was designed specifically for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Volkswagen says the platform was created to accommodate large battery packs and electric drive components, while maintaining interior space and driving dynamics.
Motivation is provided by a 101 kilowatt-watt hour battery that powers an electric motor at each axle. The company didn't say how powerful the motors are but noted the concept can hit a top speed of 93 miles per hour and travel up to 373 miles on a single charge.