Last night, prior to the kick off of this year’s CES, Volkswagen gave the media a glimpse of what their future holds with the Budd-e concept and e-Golf Touch. It will come as no surprise that the letters TDI were nowhere to be found or heard. The group has had a difficult year, following the infamous Dieselgate, and has been trying to regain some of its former glory with apologetic ad campaigns, goodwill programs and purchase incentives. So to make some extra amends and perhaps catch up on some emission numbers, the automaker took the stage with two electric vehicles.
The Budd-e has been introduced as the conceptual electric version of a hypothetical returning VW Minibus, though it looks like it belongs to the Kia lineup. The Budd-e is new from the ground up and is the first vehicle to be built on the new EV-dedicated MEB infrastructure, unlike the Golf GTE concept introduced last May, built on a modified MQB platform, the same as the e-Golf available in the US. The all-wheel drive EV would offer a range of up to 533 kilometres and charge up to 80% in about 15 minutes. The design also locates the battery in the floor of the vehicle, which would allow infinite possibilities in terms of seating arrangements. Volkswagen’s land of fantasy sure looks and sounds good, let’s see how the concept will do with the harsh reality of limited range and safety ratings.
The Budd-e concept shared the stage with the e-Golf Touch, a technologically upgraded e-Golf, a model already available in limited European and American markets. What’s so special about the Touch is the gesture control technology it features. From a simple hand motion, you could open a window or command the infotainment system. Volkswagen is hoping to send this gesture control system into production soon, as in: this year. However, Canada will have to play the waiting game before we know when exactly the gesture control system will cross the border.