As car fans, we’re bracing ourselves for change. As manufacturers inevitably push toward electrification, the big, noisy internal combustion engines we love are in a steep decline, and you can’t help but worry that we’re on the road to increased homogenisation.
But, perhaps we’re looking at it the wrong way. Yes, cars are set to become a lot more similar underneath, but the flexibility of electric platforms opens up all sorts of possibilities, like this VW ID Buggy concept.
It might look entirely new, but don’t be fooled: it’s based on VW’s new MEB architecture, which has also been used to underpin the ID, ID Buzz, ID Vizzion and ID Crozz concepts. So, that’s a hatchback, a beautiful retro-styled van, a saloon, a crossover and now a beach buggy, all using the same electric guts.
As for the Buggy, it uses a 62kWh battery powering a rear-mounted motor, nicely echoing the rear-engined Beetle-based buggies that first emerged in the 1960s. The motor is good for 200bhp, propelling the Buggy from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds, on to an electronically-limited top speed of 99mph.
The ID Buggy is intended to cover “short but active distances,” with a range of 155 miles according to the WLTP cycle. It’s technically possible to have a motor at the front axle too, making the vehicle all-wheel drive with what VW dubs an “electric prop-shaft.”
Inside its removable body - made of a plastic, aluminium and steel composite - you’ll find two “integrated” seats, with the option to install a couple of smaller ones to turn the Buggy into a 2+2. It doesn’t have any kind of temporary roof, but the interior is weatherproof. There’s also a strengthened windscreen surround and a Targa bar should your dune-bashing get a little out of hand.
It should be plenty capable on looser surfaces, with its 18-inch wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich All Terrain off-road tyres. There’s 240mm of ground clearance to play with, and when that runs out, an aluminium bash guard to bear the brunt of any impacts.
The point of all this? VW is offering two explanations, the first one being another nod to the original Beetle-based buggies. “As in the past, Volkswagen is opening up to external producers with the ID Buggy concept,” the manufacturer said, adding, “On this basis you can build the emission-free dune buggy for a new era – no matter whether for Santa Barbara in California, the Yalong Bay in China or St. Peter-Ording in German”.
Secondly, VW reckons that the ID Buggy “illustrates the broad spectrum of emission-free mobility that can be achieved with the modular electric drive matrix within the Volkswagen brand,” going on to point out that unlike the other ID concepts, this one has no “assisted driving system” - it’s about driving, fun, and that’s it.
Whatever the future holds for the concept, we’d rather like a go.