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Detroit show: VW previews Beetle Speedster

Bug zapper: The Volkswagen E-Bugster concept uses the same EV drivetrain as the forthcoming Golf Blue-e-motion.

Volkswagen EV show car points the way to a low-roof version of the latest Beetle

10 Jan 2012

SEVEN years on from the largely forgotten Ragster Concept, Volkswagen has again channelled the spirit of the Porsche 356 Speedster from the 1950s with another low-roof coupe version of its latter-day Beetle, called the E-Bugster Concept.

This time, however, the German car-maker is set to introduce a similar shape during the lifecycle of the latest Beetle, which will go on sale in Australia later this year.

Revealed this week at the Detroit auto show, the EV is powered by essentially the same production drivetrain that will power the Golf Blue-e-motion from 2013.

Production timing for this future open two-seater with a removable hardtop is still up in the air, but do not expect to see the ‘Bugster’ version of the latest Beetle in production before 2014.

Meanwhile, the E-Bugster Concept showcases where Volkswagen electrification is at, with an 85kW electric motor up front and a 28.3kWh lithium-ion battery pack located in place of the rear seats.

3 center imageRegenerative braking helps to extend range to a claimed 180km and VW quotes a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 10.9 seconds.

Fast charging is possible, dropping the regular single-phase AC current charge time down from 10-12 hours to about 35 minutes for 80 per cent battery capacity.

The E-Bugster Concept is the same length as the regular Beetle hardtop at 4278mm, but around 90mm shorter at 1400mm and 30mm wider at 1838mm.

Volkswagen’s EV trademark C-shaped LED lights are incorporated into the front bumper, with C-shaped reflectors in the rear.

Other visual changes include 20-inch alloy wheels (instead of standard 18-inch items), a wraparound chrome strip immediately below the lower window border that runs around the waist from A-pillar to A-pillar, and the roof section itself, which at its highest point is 400mm above the lower window line.

The E-Bugster Concept’s cabin includes a pair of sports seats, a body-coloured central tunnel, aluminium detailing in places like the door handles and belt guides, and a starter-button-operated ‘light show’ to indicate the vehicle is ready to go.

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