Geneva 2019 – Volkswagen Shows Off EV Flexibility with California-Cool ID. Buggy Concept
Meyers Manx–Style Off-Roader Powered by MEB Modular Electric Platform
Volkswagen brought an all-electric off-roader to the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show today, intent on showing the world how versatile its forthcoming electric platform will be.
The so-called I.D. Buggy draws inspiration from the VW-based California dune buggies of the 1960s and 1970s, vehicles such as the Meyers Manx. Like that most famous Volkswagen buggy, the I.D.’s rear and side bodywork are unified in a single U-shaped piece, stepping down on the sides to ease access to the interior—the I.D. Buggy doesn’t have doors or a permanent roof. The off-roader’s matte Fern Green bodywork floats visually above the Grey Tech Blue lower bodywork, again recalling the bathtub-like Meyers Manx.
Round head- and taillights rendered in “three-dimensional oval LED” give the Buggy a fun, funky feel that’s retro, but not a direct rip-off of the original, sort of like the 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle. Also modernizing the look are a full windshield and robust-looking roll protection, with a black fabric roof that can be stretched between the two for some protection from the elements (note the cute little VW logo on the roof’s hooks).
The I.D. Buggy is appropriately equipped for some soft-road adventuring, thanks to BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires (29 inches up front, 31 inches in the rear), a solid aluminum underbody guard and side guards, and two steel recovery points integrated into the front bumper. The Buggy also gets 9.4 inches of ground clearance, a thoroughly respectable amount for many off-road activities.
Powering the stylish little thing is a 201hp rear-mounted electric motor, which also boasts a useful 228 lb-ft. A 62-kWh battery permits a theoretical range of 155 miles (those all-terrain tires likely take a fair amount of energy to keep rolling), and Volkswagen claims a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds. Furthermore, it’s possible to mount a front drive unit to the I.D. Buggy, giving it 4Motion all-wheel drive. The flat battery is mounted in the vehicle floor for a lower center of gravity and better handling.
Inside, the EV gets modern, minimalist styling that pays homage to the simple interiors of the buggies of old. A hexagonal steering wheel is covered in Nappa leather, and it sits in front of a multifunction digital instrument cluster. Waterproof materials cover the interior, including unusual-sounding Grey Tech Blue soft-touch paint for the interior trim, and the floor plate is dappled with grippy little knobs. There are provisions to add a rear seat, but the Geneva show model instead features storage and a matching skateboard—right down to tiny little BFG tires—back there.
There are no production plans for the Volkswagen I.D. Buggy just yet. But in its first announcement of the concept, Volkswagen claimed the dune-eating machine was being built to showcase the versatility of the company’s Modular Electric Matrix (MEB) architecture. VW says that MEB will be highly adaptable, so building a buggy-style fun machine would likely be relatively easy for the company. If that means a rugged off-roader is in Volkswagen’s future, we welcome it with open arms.