We've shown you the teaser image that Volkswagen shared with the world which showcased their next concept, well the company has officially unveiled it at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show and it's called the Budd-e.
However, before we tell you more about the concepts, it may interest you to know that the the company's CEO, Herbert Diess, today apologised for the emissions-cheating software scandal at the event's beginning.
The folks at Volkswagen describe it as the Microbus of the 21st Century. The teaser image had already shown us the bold front fascia of the car and that comes as no surprise. The Budd-e gets a massive front grille that features LED ambient lighting and the concept also comes with flared D-pillars. The unique tail lamps and the 21-inch alloy wheels give it a distinct look and draw you away from the conventional idea of a microbus. The concept looks back to Volkswagen's Microbus heritage, yet there's really no retro in this design whatsoever.
Other highlights include roof-mounted solar panels, digital rear view mirrors, and a 'Drop Box' that pops out of the rear bumper. Volkswagen has given specifics of the Budd-e concept and it is 181 inches long, 76.3 inches wide, and 72.2 inches tall with a wheelbase that spans 124.1 inches.
Underneath, it uses a completely new Modular Electronic Toolkit (MEB) platform designed for plug-in vehicles and beside that it also uses a completely new 101-kWh battery pack that powers an electric motor at each axle. Volkswagen says the platform was created to accommodate large battery packs and electric drive components, while maintaining interior space and driving dynamics.
There was no word on how powerful the motors actually are but the Budd-e can touch speeds of up to 150km/h and boasts of a range of 600km on a single charge. The company further mentions that the battery can complete 80 per cent of charge in just 15 minutes.
If you thought the technology was from the future, wait till you see the interiors. The drivers gets a cabin which sees massive curved displays with three individually configurable screens. The model also has a wraparound rear seat and a switchless multi-function steering wheel that responds to swipes and pressure. All the features of the Budd-e, the doors, infotainment system and the like are controlled by touch and gestures.
Besides this, there is also an advanced voice recognition system that activates when you say "Hello Budd-e." Commands for the voice recognition system are sentences that are part of daily usage and you can request it to even "turn the heat up a bit." The system can even recognize who gives the command, so if a passenger makes a request to adjust the temperature only their climate control zone will be changed.
Beside the Budd-e concept, Volkswagen also previewed the next generation of its high-end infotainment system on a car called the e-Golf Touch. The e-Golf, infact, is a production version and we'll soon see it hitting the roads. We've seen the Golf R Touch at the last CES and that one wasn't really a production ready version, however, the e-Golf is a whole new ball game.
The e-Golf Touch features a big 9.2-inch touchscreen, gesture controls so adjust simple controls like volume with a wave of the hand, wireless phone charging in both the front and rear seats, and a USB Type-C port. But that clearly isn't the biggest change that has been brought out in terms of technology. The e-Golf also has features like voice amplification, where the voice of the driver and front passenger is picked up by embedded mics and piped over speakers in the rear passenger compartment, which according to Volkswagen makes it easier for people to carry on conversations.
There are many other functions which can be controlled over a Wi-Fi connected tablet which is good for passengers at the rear who can tune the radio or listen to music to their liking. Volkswagen has also introduced 'Personalization 2.0,' which lets a visiting driver customize the car according to settings they've got in the cloud, which then points out to ride-sharing. So Volkswagen seems to have thought about everything and the two electric cars certainly breathe in a new sense of direction for the company.