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Car and Driver: VW’s Electric BUDD-e Concept—or Something Much Like It—Headed for Production

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Volkswagen BUDD-e concept

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Rocked by its diesel-emissions scandal, the VW Group is pivoting on its wheels and rushing to embrace battery-electric technology instead. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when the company attempted to change the conversation by rolling out the BUDD-e electric microvan concept at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. And it’s only slightly less surprising that VW wants to put the BUDD-e, or a vehicle much like it, into production.

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Volkswagen BUDD-e concept

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Speaking to Britain’s Car magazine, Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, head of electrical and electronic development at VW, said, “You will see a car that looks a lot like this, on the MEB [modular electric] platform, reach production. I can’t say exactly when, but 2020 or thereabouts.”

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Volkswagen BUDD-e concept cutaway

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“[The] basic idea is to develop a modular toolkit and take this flat-battery idea into serial production, one motor on the front, one motor on the rear,” Tanneberger added. As shown in the BUDD-e concept, the battery pack was a 101-kWh lithium-ion unit claimed to provide a range of 233 miles. It lives under the floor between the axles, which will be standard fare for MEB-based passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles.

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The BUDD-e, then, will be only one of many EVs spun off this platform. As for VW billing it as the second coming of the Microbus, we’re not seeing a whole lot of resemblance between the two. And as much as we’d like to see a modern version of that iconic machine, VW’s overarching mission at the moment is to refashion itself as a company that puts EVs—rather than TDIs—front and center, so this little battery-powered microvan will have to do.

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