First Impressions: Volkswagen’s BUDD-e Concept

Volkswagen’s hinted strongly at a forthcoming Microbus-like concept for some time, and at this year’s CES, the car we’ve all been hearing so much about finally became reality.  More computer on wheels than the utilitarian Bus we originally fell in love with, the BUDD-e gives us quite a lot to discuss, so lets get into it.

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Long-Range Capability
Boasting a range of up to 373 miles using the New European Driving Cycle, or 233 miles measured by the EPA’s drive cycle, the BUDD-e is squarely on par with many of today’s gas-powered vehicles.  More impressively, it takes just 15 minutes to reach 80% charge, thanks largely to new battery technology.  This is great news for those living in more rural areas, greatly reducing any feelings of ‘range anxiety’ caused by today’s offerings.

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Tech-Centric Interior
No doubt enhanced for the tech-savvy crowd attending CES, the BUDD-e likely has more screens than you do at home.  Starting with the few screens on the dash, navigation, smart-home connectivity (BUDD-e can tell how much beer you’ve got in the ‘fridge or unlock the front door for friends), and weather functionality are all readily available in addition to many other features.  The doors open at you’re voice’s command, and the steering wheel features touch-sensitive controls rather than physical buttons.  Gesture control is also present, meaning that the highly capable infotainment is quite intuitive to use as well.

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Let There be Light

Borrowing from last year’s Golf R Touch concept, all of the interior lighting in BUDD-e is completely customizable by the driver.  On the exterior, what at first appears to be a belt-line trim piece is actually a system of LED lights, illuminating the flanks in bright white light.  The front and back of the vehicle are also illuminated, as the grille also features LED strips, and sweeping tail lights leave a unique signature.

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Delivery to Car
Perhaps BUDD-e’s most practical feature, is a simple ‘DropBox’ for deliveries.  Now delivery to car is nothing new (Volvo has begun their own pilot program already), but the way Volkswagen goes about it is quite interesting.  Rather than unlock the entire vehicle, a compartment hidden behind the bumper is used.  The idea here, is that a delivery person can use a digital key to unlock and reveal the ‘DropBox’, but nothing else, protecting the belongings inside your vehicle.

Now, at the moment we’re not quite sure when we’ll see the BUDD-e translate into a retail vehicle, but we do expect quite a few of these elements to make their way into production vehicles quite soon.

To see more of the BUDD-e, check out additional photos below.