Volkswagen reveals the Budd-e concept

Forget diesel engine scandals (for the time being), because Volkswagen's latest concept runs on electricity. The Budd-e is a largish MPV that has just been unveiled at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Significantly, it's the first application of the new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform architecture.

Volkswagen Budd-e Concept (2016) Front Side

A flat under-floor 101 kWh battery pack sends energy to an electric motor mounted on each axle. Total output is rated at 312 bhp (235 kW / 317 PS), although the all-wheel drive Budd-e is limited to a modest top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h).

Expected range is really anybody's guess, as the official figures vary massively depending on which measure is used. Under the New European Drive Cycle the Budd-e would manage 331 miles (533 kilometres), but that drops to 233 miles (375 kilometres) when applying the EPA's estimated real-world method.

Replenishing the battery to 80 percent capacity takes around 30 minutes. Cordless inductive charging is supported, along with more traditional lead-based arrangements.

Volkswagen Budd-e Concept (2016) Rear Side

As befits a vehicle making its debut at CES, there's plenty of technology on board.

The customisable instrument cluster and 13.3” screen-based infotainment system are merged into what Volkswagen describes as a “single information hub”. This incorporates a 3D navigation map display, internet access and full smartphone integration. Functions can be operated via voice, gesture or touch.

Other gadgets include haptic-sensing controls on the steering wheel, a foot-activated automatic tailgate and video cameras instead of door mirrors. There's even a built-in 'drop box' that allows an unattended Budd-e to accept parcel deliveries via a digital key.

"The Budd-e is a realistic trend setter,” according to Volkswagen's brand chief Dr. Herbert Diess. Whether or not that comment indicates a future production version remains to be seen.

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