Detroit 2012: Volkswagen Reveals E-Bugster Electric Concept

This funky two-seater is the Volkswagen E-Bugster, an all-electric concept car that is based on the new-for-2012 Beetle. It mixes the funky, retro-inspired design of Volkswagen’s new Beetle with the zero-emissions drivetrain that will eventually be found in an electric version of the Golf. Before Volkswagen revealed the E-Bugster car, three breakdancers performed wild jumps and dance moves while loud, bass-heavy dubstep music played.

“It’s a crazy car,” said Volkswagen design chief Walter de Silva. “It’s funny, it’s bold, and it’s an American car.”

The car’s speedster look comes from an aggressive roof that is about three inches lower than that of the gasoline-powered Beetle, with the production car’s rear quarter windows filled in to form large stylish (and probably blind-spot-causing) B-pillars. Unique 20-inch wheels, bracket-shaped LED running lights, and a larger rear spoiler help set the E-Bugster apart from its internal-combustion forbear. The name comes from combining the Beetle’s “Bug” nickname with the “speedster” descriptor — although car aficionados might quibble that a true speedster is an open-top vehicle.

“It’s looking a bit like a hot rod,” opined Volkswagen board member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg.

The concept is powered by the same electric drivetrain that will be used in the Golf Blue-e-Motion hatchback from 2014. An electric motor connected to the front wheels provides 114 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, drawing power from a 695-pound lithium-ion battery mounted beneath the trunk floor. Volkswagen says driving range is about 100 miles per charge.

Will the E-Bugster ever enter series production? For now, the car is just a concept that lets Volkswagen show off its dedication to future electric cars. The aforementioned Golf electric will be built starting in 2014, but it seems unlikely this racy two-seater will ever be more than a show car.

For more on the Volkswagen E-Bugster concept, check out our First Look here. For more on the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our Detroit Show homepage.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

MSRP $19,795 2.5 (Manual) Hatchback


22 City / 31 Hwy

Safety (NHTSA):


Horse Power:

170 @ 5700