By on January 6, 2016

Autodesk VRED Professional 2014 SR1-SP7

UPDATE: Volkswagen says the range is 233 miles on the EPA cycle, 373 miles on the New European Driving Cycle.

Volkswagen unleashed its futuristic Microbus concept car in Las Vegas on Tuesday, complete with expressive face, connectedness to the “Internet of Things,” and gesture control everywhere, but only its bare bones are rooted in any real future for the automaker.

The 2016 Microbus, which is “dubbed BUDD-e,” is the latest and perhaps most significant iteration of the Microbus because of its timing. This week, the U.S. Justice Department announced it filed a $40 billion lawsuit against the automaker for cheating emissions tests.

In Las Vegas, Volkswagen showed off its modular electric powertrain architecture underpinning the Microbus that’ll almost certainly make it to production in one, or several cars — just probably not this one.

According to Volkswagen, the modular electric powerplant — which it calls “MEB” — can power the bus up to 233 miles and be charged to 80 percent capacity in 15 minutes. The automaker didn’t specify what kind of charger is needed to cram that many electrons into BUDD-e’s 101 kWh, flat-battery pack, so we’ll just infer they mean Porsche’s 800-volt hypercharger.

All four wheels are driven by two different electric motors, and Volkswagen claims BUDD-e can achieve a velocity of 93 mph.

There are sign-of-the-times touches, such as gesture controls for driver and passenger, Internet-enabled everything and swank-lounge seating, but Volkswagen clearly has its eyes on what you can’t see.

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9 Comments on “Volkswagen’s BUDD-e is Still the Microbus They’ll Never Build...”

  • avatar

    Oh sweet, 28mph heading to the music festival! Don’t forget your tablet and your amp. Fits up to four tools inside. Also shows you their avatar on the dash.

    I approve of the copper-look trim, though. Rose gold and brass are coming back in style. Sad face on the brass.

  • avatar

    “All four wheels are driven by two different electric motors,…”

    …and about seventy-five different $350 dealer-only modules.

  • avatar

    I knew Microbus. I owned a Microbus. And, BUDD-e, you’re no Microbus.

  • avatar

    “UPDATE: Volkswagen says the range is 233 miles on the EPA cycle, 373 miles on the New European Driving Cycle.”

    No stark differences there, not only do you have to be high to drive it, you have to be high to test it.

  • avatar

    VW: Hey Honda! Do you mind if we slap the grille of the 2014 CR-V on our new “Microbus” concept?

    Honda: Oh, hey. Another one of those, huh? Sure, as long as it doesn’t go into production. The CR-V has a new grille now anyway.

    VW: No, just a concept. Like the Bulli, and the Microbus concept from years ago. Thanks, buddy!


  • avatar

    Has anyone noticed the flying buttresses? Is this the next fender vent?

  • avatar

    I’ve owned three transporters; a ’57 six door panel, a ’59 Kombi and a ’67 Kombi. If VW is trying to evoke those vehicles then they should have sent someone to actually look at one before they started.

    Aaron is correct; VW will never build it. They won’t build it because they can’t. The virtues of the original Transporter were that it was inexpensive to buy (Even new), simple and cheap to maintain, reliable, and they consistently exceeded expectations. VW can’t even accomplish one of those things now, let alone all of them.

    Look to China or India for the next Transporter. VW’s half-assed attempts to reinvoke the company that it used to be will come to nothing.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Wait ’til people see the price. This Thing will cost over $60k.

    It is not Volkswagen’s savior.

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