Volkswagen took the stage at CES debuting Budd-e, its electric concept car of the future. While the idea of electric vehicles is nothing new at this point, VW is using the Budd-e to showcase how much these vehicles will evolve in the coming decade.
The Volkswagen Budd-e isn’t a precursor to something we can expect to see tomorrow, but a showcase of several technologies and concepts VW sees happening in the next ten years. It’s a spinoff of the same architecture that you’ll find in production VWs like the Golf and Tiguan. They call it the MEB platform and view it as the possible foundation for nearly every vehicle they produce.
Think of this new platform like a skateboard. There are two wheels at the front along with an electric motor for powering them and the motor controllers. In back there’s another set of wheels, multi-link suspension for handling, and a second electric motor for extra traction. In the middle, there’s a long, flat battery with a theoretical 101-kWh capacity that takes up most of the vehicle’s floor.
This EV would have a 373-mile range and charge to 80 percent of its battery capacity in only 15 minutes. Those numbers sound iffy if you look at today’s electrics, but remember, this is what VW anticipates as reality in ten years. These aren’t pie in the sky numbers, but projections the company believes are realistic.
The interior is also futuristic, showing the reconfigurable seating and large touchscreens that everyone seems to think is the wave of the future. There is also a noticeable lack of buttons thanks to these big screens and upcoming gesture control technology.
That gesture control technology is getting very close and it will be featured in the next iteration of the VW Golf. The system was demoed at CES and they promise it will be in production vehicles by the end of next year. Since capacitive controls on our cars often have us jabbing our fingers at touchscreens in frustration, let’s hope we’re not all waving our arms around like idiots trying to make gesture controls work.
The Budd-e takes connectivity very seriously with a cockpit that truly turns your car into a rolling office. It has a curved dash area that houses a 12.3-inch touchscreen in front of the driver and a 13.3-inch display as the center console. Rather than separating things, it combines them into one cohesive display area. Whatever info you need is right there, all the time.
Budd-e isn’t a concept for a production car. Instead it’s a showcase for future technologies. Gesture control is set to be here within the next few years. Giant touchscreens, better batteries, and reconfigurable seats might not be so far behind.
Editor’s note: We can’t hear the name “Budd-e” without Space Ghost’s Brak reading it.