What is the point of the Volkswagen ID BUGGY concept on display at Pebble Beach last week? It’s not that Volkswagen will build it, it’s that Volkswagen could build it. It’s about emotion and reconnecting with one of the most iconic versions of the long lived and much beloved Beetle, the Meyers Manx dune buggy created by Bruce Myers in 1964. It’s a halo car, one that adds luster to a company’s public image, just as the Corvette enhances the image of Chevrolet.
The original concept was simplicity itself. Unbolt the body of the Beetle from the floor pan, bolt on a fiberglass tub with integral fenders, add some big wheels and wide tires, and go play in the dunes until the sun goes down or the thing runs out of gas. The dune buggy became a craze rivaled only by surfing in the California-centric culture of the ’60s.
Volkswagen brought its electric dune buggy concept — first revealed at the Geneva auto show earlier this year — to Pebble Beach in California last week, where it created plenty of excitement among the throngs in attendance.
After driving the car along the famous 17 mile long oceanside roads at Pebble Beach, Canadian journalist Gabriel Gélinas told the Volkswagen press representatives on hand, “The ID. BUGGY is unique. When the dune buggy was invented, it was almost the same. Something completely different and something that had a very specific task. This car is a modern reinterpretation of that. This neo-retro look is really great. At the same time, it looks very futuristic. A really cool car.”
“A couple from France asked me where I bought this car,” said motoring journalist Ronan Glon from the US after driving the ID. BUGGY. “They had seen the car in Geneva and I told them that this is the same car they saw. Later, a Ferrari driver waved at me. So, you really turn heads with this car.”
The ID. BUGGY is based on the MEB electric car chassis Volkswagen has developed for its new battery powered cars. The 3,500 pound concept has a single 204 horsepower motor driving the rear wheels through a continuously variable transmission. A second motor driving the front wheels could be added as well. With no roof and little in the way of side impact protection, it is unlikely the car will ever go into production.
Or will it? Ars Technica scribe Jonathan Gitlin was on hand at Pebble Beach and claims company officials told him Volkswagen is actively considering building the car if a business case can be made for it. Or they might sell the skateboard consisting of battery, motor, control systems, brakes, and suspension to other manufacturers and let them put their own bodywork on top of it. Either way, it seems safety certification would be a major hurdle to turning the ID. BUGGY into a production car.
ID Gets Dedicated YouTube Channel
For those who want to dig deeply into the creation of the MEB chassis and ID.3 electric car, Volkswagen has created a new YouTube channel with lots of videos. The new channel “illuminates the people behind the finished car and goes into more detail about specific details and backgrounds of the development work. The first episode is led by Klaus Bischoff, chief designer of the Volkswagen brand,” the company says.
“More than 20 departments and people will be examined in more detail and their activities presented. This includes, for example, pre-development, logistics and production.” Christian Senger, member of the Board of Management responsible for “Digital Car & Services” since 1 March and previously head of the Electric Mobility product line, and Jürgen Stackmann, member of the Board of Management responsible for Sales and Marketing, also talk about their work in the development of ID.3 and the creation of the sales concept. Below is the first video on the new Becoming ID channel.