Volkswagen is lifting the lid on the E-Bugster concept car at the Beijing Motor Show. The E-Bugster made its debut as a coupé at the Detroit Auto Show in January, but this time the electric concept’s hard-top has been removed, giving the best hint yet of the look of the future Beetle Cabriolet, and also showing the potential for Volkswagen’s future all-electric drivetrains.
An electric motor provides the E-Bugster with 85 kWh (115 PS) of power, which can propel it from 0 to 60 mph in 10.9 seconds, and yet offers a range of at least 110 miles from the 28.3 kWh lithium-ion batteries. If the E-Bugster needs a top-up, a fast-charging function allows complete recharging in just 35 minutes from a specialist DC source, or slower charging from an AC source such as a 230-volt domestic outlet.
The E-Bugster also charges itself as soon as the driver’s foot leaves the accelerator pedal, when kinetic energy is transformed into electricity and stored in the battery. Applying the brakes increases the intensity of regeneration, a function that is indicated to the driver in the instrument panel. Other instruments include driving range and battery state indicators, and a meter that shows how much energy the driver is requesting via the accelerator pedal.
The E-Bugster’s speedster look is created partly by a 90 mm lower windscreen, and also by the distinctive shape of the panel that covers the lithium-ion batteries behind the seats. Both front and rear bumpers have been substantially modified from those of the production Beetle. At the front, LED daytime running lights at the outer edges of the central air intake form a C-shape on the left that is mirrored on the right – a signature of Volkswagen’s electric vehicle concepts. At the back, reflectors take the place of LEDs.
At 4,278 mm long and 1,838 mm wide, the E-Bugster is the same length as a standard Beetle but 30 mm wider. Beneath the flared wheel arches sit 20-inch alloy wheels with 235/35 tyres.