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'Sportier' Beetle breaks out

2012-01-10 10:43

ELECTRIC SPEEDSTER: The E-Bugster at the 2012 Detroit auto show remains a concept - for now.

Volkswagen’s latest Beetle may be heading to South Africa later in 2012, but fans wanting something more environmentally-friendly may want to wait a while longer. The electric E-Bugster concept’s just been shown at the Detroit auto show.

The two-seat E-Bugster continues the latest Beetle’s sporty theme.  It uses an electric motor that provides 85 kWh of power and can propel it from 0 – 100km/h in around 11 seconds, and yet offer a range of at least 177km from the 28.3 kWh lithium-ion batteries.

If the E-Bugster needs a top-up, a fast-charging function allows a recharge in 35 minutes at specific charging stations, while a standard household outlet should suffice for a regular charge.


Volkswagen E-Bugster concept

CHARGING BEETLE: The E-Bugster can be charged in 35 minutes.

The E-Bugster uses a new Combined Charging System developed with BMW, Daimler, Ford and General Motors as the automakers attempt to establish an industry standard for sockets and plugs.

The E-Bugster doesn’t, however, charge only when plugged in. It uses brake regenerative technology transform kinetic energy and store it as electricity in the battery. The concept also uses a range of instruments that include battery range and battery state indicators.

The E-Bugster is the same length as a standard Beetle but 30 mm wider, while the new roof is lower by around 90 mm to 1400 mm. Given its speedster ambition, the Bugster’s lower and wider stance gives it a sportier look.

In addition, both front and rear bumpers have been modified from those of the production Beetle.  At the front, LED daytime running lights at the outer edges of the central air intake form C-shapes – an idea that is repeated at the back, where reflectors take the place of LEDs. Flared wheel arches house 20-inch alloy wheels.


Volkswagen E-Bugster concept

ELECTRIC SPORTS: The concept is also lower and wider than the standard Beetle.

Inside the two-seater’s cabin, the E-Bugster’s shows a blend of high-tech and athleticism, with sports seats on either side of a continuous centre console, and aluminium door handles and seatbelt guides.

Volkswagen describes starting the E-Bugster as “pure theatre”.

“Upon pressing the Start button the interior is bathed in white light, then blue light.  It starts with a light pulse in the instrument cluster, from where the light emanates in a millimetre-wide strip, coursing into the doors and around the air nozzles.”

Sounds dramatic enough and it should be interesting to behold although the company has stresses the E-Bugster – at this stage – is only a concept. The latest Beetle arrives in South Africa from mid-2012.

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