Volkswagen’s dune buggy is an electric shot of nostalgia

The dune buggies, according to Volkswagen and some of the staff of Verge used to be modern. I have been told that young people used to drive on the beaches of California instead of worrying about the paralysis of student loan debt, uncertain job prospects and inaccessible homes. Hoping to revive the spirit, if not the economy, of the past in a fully electric modern way, Volkswagen has come to the Geneva Motor Show 2019 with a new concept of ID Buggy. Like the Vizzion ID of last year, the Buggy is huge: it has the proportions of a smaller car, but the absolute dimensions of something that approximates an SUV, and all the VW logos are illuminated with LEDs.

In size, this VW Buggy also draws attention with a cheerful work of matte green paint, exposed wheels with off-road tires, open side skirts and, of course, the total absence of doors or ceilings. I can not say that the tactile controls on the steering wheel make much sense in the context of a buggy lover of dirt and dunes, but this week I have seen more foolish things in concept cars in Geneva. 19659003] "style =" object-position: 50% 50% "data-upload-width =" 2040 "src =" /iGgo6hqqqqXsHaEmi7elQTyaIFFk=/0x0:2040×1360/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:2040×1360):no_upscale()/”/>

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Like Kia and its Imagine concept, whose dashboard is made up of no less than 21 screens the size of a smartphone, the VW Buggy is an effort to bring more emotion to the design and attractiveness of electric vehicles. Instead of trying to convince customers to buy a car on the basis of its better cost-efficiency or environmental footprint, manufacturers are trying to provoke an emotional and irrational response.

This has already worked in my colleague Thomas Ricker, who sums up his opinion. the fascination of the generation with the modified beetles in dune buggies: "Growing up with a series of very embarrassing beetles in the garage, all I ever wanted to do was buy a buggy kit to make a cool one". Ironically, the beetles have become cold themselves, so it would not need to be strictly modified, but that youthful longing remains.

The modification is at the heart of the Buggy ID concept that VW is showing off, since the vehicle is built on the company's modular power tool kit ( MEB, or Modularer Elektrobaukasten, in German). The dune buggy is an exhibition of the versatility of that platform, which Volkswagen announced this week will open up to other automakers to also license and use. Therefore, although the Buggy ID is unlikely to come from VW in a near future production, there is a strong possibility that the underlying technology will appear in similar cars of other brands.

The idea with the MEB is that its standardization will allow car designers to create more niche models, like a dune buggy, without having to worry about selling millions of units to make a product like that financially viable. VW will be responsible for mass production of the MEB, while the brands of its partners will only have to worry about designing a chassis and an exterior that people find attractive. In case the VW scheme develops as planned, we can expect a future of increasingly diverse and interesting electric vehicles.

Photograph by Vlad Savov / The Verge [19659012]

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