The German automaker has followed up with an “update” on the modern Microbus at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, ask officially premiering during the event the all new Budd-e prototype.
Following the teasers the name of the concept that also follows in the footsteps of 2011’s Bulli concept is being labeled as a Microbus for the 21st century, with the Budd-e coming up with a front end that goes against the usual percept at the company that “less is more” (pun intended if you recall the dieselgate scandal where they said they were less harmful…). Anyways having a bold design is always welcomed especially considering the stale looks of the recent VW models and here we’re being treated to a set of LED headlights and a pretty large radiator grille that comes to the party with LED ambient lighting. We also see some flared back pillars, a set of bespoke taillights and 21-inch alloy rims. Other noticeable features include the set of roof-mounted solar panels, the digital rearview mirrors or the practical “Drop Box” that is housed inside the rear bumper.
The concept is 181 inches long, 76.3 inches wide, and 72.2 inches tall and comes with a wheelbase span of 124.1 inches – sitting neatly between the Touran and the Multivan T6. Inside the cabin there’s a high-tech environment with a large curved display setup using three individually controllable screens. There’s also a wraparound rear seat and a “switchless” multifunction steering wheel that instead uses swipes and touch pressure. Everything inside – from doors to playing music is controlled by touch and gestures – but there’s also an advanced voice recognition system, which can recognize informal commands or even the person initiating them – the driver or the passengers.
The Budd-e uses the all-new Modular Electric Platform (MEB) which has been tailored specifically for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles – able to include big battery packs and still deliver the same interior space and handling dynamics. Power comes from a 101 kWh battery pack delivering electricity to electric motors on each axle – maximum speed is of 93 miles per hour and a single charge will do for a range of 373 miles.