The Type2 Microbus may have been consigned to the history books, but Volkswagen appears to be planning to bring it back as an all-electric people carrier with wireless connectivity. Called the Budd-E concept, Volkswagen claimed that it will offer a glimpse of the next-generation connectivity and infotainment systems.
Much like the intelligent cars of the future, the Budd-E concept is network ready and has the necessary functions needed for wirelessly connecting to the internet. It also has a new human-machine interface (HMI) comprised of new displays and functions, lounge-like interior and an emission-free electric powertrain.
Starting with its exterior design, Volkswagen claimed it takes inspiration from classic Volkswagen vans. Aesthetically, it features a sleek, modern-looking shell that features a two tone paint finish; Phoenix Copper on the roof and Nevada White on the body itself. Up front, it has the signature VW logo that is paired with a V-shaped grill and LED headlights. The grill itself according to Volkswagen is reminiscent of the original microbus and Beetle but has been spruced up for the 21st century.
The side profile is sleek and free of door handles thanks to electronic sensors. An elongated roofline, long windows and glazed A-pillars provide the necessary flair however. The D-pillars at the rear provide better aerodynamics and feature integrated LED taillights. Much like the grill up front, the rear tailgate according to Volkswagen is also a nod to the original Type 2.
In terms of body dimensions, it measures 4,597mm long, 1,938mm wide, 1,833mm tall and has a 3,152mm wheelbase. This puts the concept in between the Touran and Multivan T6 according to Volkswagen.
Over to the cabin, it features the latest technology developed by Volkswagen. Gone are the traditional gauges and instruments as almost everything is now digital; from the 12.3-inch curved instrument panel, navigation screen and even the Active Info Display which manages and controls music playlists, apps, online services and points of interests.
Beside touchscreen function, the Budd-E also has voice and gesture control. A simple 'Hello Budd-E' according to the automaker will activate its voice control function. Gesture control on the other hand can also be done on the steering wheel.
Smartphone and smart home integration haven't been forgotten as well and can be linked to the Budd-E concept. A smart fridge from Korean electronics company LG can also link with the Budd-E and can deliver the necessary information. Home security and surveillance will also be integrated to the concept's functions, allowing for more remote access and control.
Platform-wise, the Budd-E concept is the first all-electric vehicle based on the new Modular Electric Platform (MEB). This platform was specifically designed for plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles, with an emphasis on interior space. Most of its electrical components can be found on the chassis floor, freeing up interior space.
The Budd-E Concept is powered by a flat-type 101 kWh battery that nearly encompasses the entire floor. It delivers energy to two electric motors that drive each axle. It is capable of having a top speed of 150 km/h and a maximum range of 600 km. Recharging its battery can be done with a traditional outlet socket or by way of a wireless charging system.