Update: Budd-e Concept wins Best Innovation Award from Engadget’s “Best of CES Awards” thanks to its improved range and predicted charging times projected for 2019. Way to go, BUDD-e!
VW BUDD-e concept on Modular Electric Platform
We have to admit, we’ve chosen a great time to start a new blog. The Consumer Electronics Show was just held in Las Vegas, and Volkswagen had plenty of things to show off. Chief among them is the VW BUDD-e concept, which is the first vehicle on the automaker’s new Modular Electric Platform (MEB). There is a distracting amount of things going on with BUDD-e, from new design direction to a host of features that make it seem like we’re taking a sharp leap into the future, but the new platform should be one of the major things focused on as we consider what the concept means for the future of the brand.
Right now the only electric vehicle VW offers is the 2016 VW e-Golf. There’s also one hybrid Jetta, but it isn’t a plug-in, which means its fuel-economy isn’t the most impressive thing on the market. That said, the BUDD-e may never be a production vehicle, so many of the features it displays aren’t representative of anything we’ll be seeing available for purchase. As a concept, it does show VW is likely going to be offering more electric vehicle options in the future. Designing a new platform is a fairly big deal, and this one is made specifically for electric vehicles. The range of the BUDD-e is estimated at 233 miles by EPA standards, thanks to a 101 kWh battery. VW has also said battery charging time should speed up to just 30 minutes for up to 80% charge by 2019. Why provide a deadline if we aren’t to expect some models to be available to prove it?
More about current models: 2016 Volkswagen Passat
It would be an exaggeration to expect the technology from BUDD-e to be fully incorporated into any new vehicle, as the interior is completely digital. All controls are either touchscreen, gesture or voice-operated, which would likely create an insanely priced model. We do expect some gesture control technology to make its way into the next generation of infotainment systems, maybe even upper trim levels during the next model year, but we can’t see a fully digital system hitting the market.
Volkswagen has also revealed intentions to dive into Internet of Things technology, with BUDD-e connecting to smart devices, including equipped homes and offices. The future of all technology seems to be complete connectivity, with the desire to monitor our environments when we’re away. Think you left your lights on? Someday you may be able to check to be sure from your car.
We’re not quite sure BUDD-e is the next Microbus for Volkswagen, but it does reveal a lot about the direction the automaker is heading in. Are you on board, or do you wish car companies would keep it simple? Let us know with a comment, and be sure to stop back here at the Compass Volkswagen blog for more posts on VW news.