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Volkswagen Shows E-Bugster Electric Beetle In Beijing


Volkswagen has chosen the Beijing Auto Show for the Asian market reveal of its E-Bugster electric concept, shown to North American audiences in hardtop form at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

Based on the newly redesigned Volkswagen Beetle, the E-Bugster (which is an amalgam of Electric Bug Roadster) sheds the rear seats and loses its internal combustion engine in favor of an all-electric drivetrain. Power comes from an 85 kW electric motor, fueled by 28.3 kWh worth of lithium-ion batteries, which is good enough to propel the E-Bugster from 0-62 mph in 10.8 seconds.

Designed for maximum flexibility, the E-Bugster can be charged on household current, or quick charged in as little as 35 minutes via a DC charging station. Range “in the urban world” is said to be just over 110 miles, although that figure would likely be reduced substantially on the highway.

New for Beijing is the car’s open-air stance, although it’s not yet clear what happens to the shed hard top. Is it removable in a single piece, like the optional hardtop on Ford’s Thunderbird or the soft-top Mazda Miata? Is it retractable, like Volkswagen’s own EOS convertible? Volkswagen isn’t saying.

Ultimately, the E-Bugster concept serves two purposes. It shows the styling direction for the automaker’s upcoming Beetle Cabriolet, and at the same time reaffirms VW’s commitment to alternative powertrains. While the E-Bugster itself may not see production, we’d be very surprised if a similar product didn’t come to market in the near future.
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