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The VW Bug Goes Topless And Electric

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On: Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 12:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

The VW Bug Goes Topless And Electric

Volkswagen has shaved the top off the Beetle and filled it with an electric powertrain for the Beijing Motor Show. More than just a fun, fanciful concept, the E-Bugster previews an upcoming Beetle Cabriolet.

The E-Bugster, which was first displayed at the Detroit Auto Show in January, is one of those concepts that knock out two birds with a single stone. It simultaneously shows what the new Beetle could (will?) look like in convertible variety, and it shows how the model could be fitted with an emissions free powertrain. The two-seat concept uses a Blue e-Motion powertrain built upon a 28.3 kWh lithium-ion pack. That battery provides 111 miles of range (a sure little bump from the ~100 miles offered by every other mainstream EV) and has fast-charging for 35-minute battery fills.

In terms of styling, Volkswagen experiments with a speedster version of the 2012 Beetle, which launched last year. In an effort to garner more favor with men, Volkswagen made the new Beetle sportier and more athletic, so the E-Bugster is sporty by extension. VW enhances the sporty look and feel by lowering the E-Bugster about 90 mm over the hardtop Beetle. In Detroit, VW showed the E-Bugster with its removable hard hat, but it removes it completely in Beijing to give the full effect of the open air design. Other enhancements include customized bumpers with C-shaped LED running lamps, 20-inch wheels and chrome stripping that wraps the cabin from A pillar to A pillar.

Inside, the Bugster is defined by sport seats, aluminum equipment, and an impromptu "light show" that's activated by hitting the ignition button.

Volkswagen has said that the E-Bugster provides a preview of the upcoming (gas powered) Cabriolet version of the Beetle. That model is expected to show up at the LA Auto Show later this year, according to Inside Line.

I've always found the Bug to be a bit frumpy and cliché, but I think that VW did a good job in its most recent redesign, and I think the E-Bugster is an attractive extension of that redesign. Not bad at all.

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dwalter | 2:08PM (Fri, Apr 27, 2012)

the Beetle Cabriolet is more masculine than I thought it'd be. good job, VW.

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