Eager to dispel the smog of diesel gate from its reputation, Volkswagen has notably been putting extra effort on the marketing of its electric vehicles. This week, VW will be showing off a new Microbus at the Consumer Electronics Show, and it’s all-electric. It’s also said to have a range of 373 miles on a single charge, and it’s called the BUDD-e.
That range figure is notably similar to the Audi e-Tron concept’s 310 miles (Volkswagen did note that it was a goal for “the end of the decade”), and the quick-charging capability — 80% in 15 minutes — is familiar from Porsche’s futuristic, all-electric Mission E sedan concept that was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year. Combined, Volkswagen AG is indicating that it’s not going to be keeping its tech siloed to one brand or another. It’s sharing the wealth.
Volkswagen promises “new driver and passenger interfaces” that “signal next-generation display and ergonomic design” in the BUDD-e, prototypes of which could be illustrated by Volkswagen’s other CES show-and-tell item — mass-production gesture control for the e-Golf. It’s the first time gesture control will be put in a car that’s more mass-market than a BMW 7-Series.
Volkswagen says that the BUDD-e “could” indicate what “electric mobility” might be like by the year 2019. Though it’s a concept and VW is talking in hypotheticals, the firm date implies that maybe — just maybe – VW is planning a legitimate return of its beloved Microbus.
“Gesture control 2.0 enables intuitive operation of interior and exterior features. Cameras are used to register if a passenger in the rear compartment wants to open the sliding door, for instance,” Volkswagen’s press blast read. “Interactive displays and projections also assist the driver and passengers during operation. Gestures are recognized without the gesture control system needing to be explicitly activated,” it added. The system was initially introduced to the world as a concept from CES last year, the Golf R Touch.
The new Golf Touch will use a 9.2-inch high-resolution display as its vehicle, delivering the next generation of VW’s MIB infotainment platform. What VW calls “electronic voice amplification” will reportedly make it easier to communication with back-seat passengers (though in an electric car, there’s not a whole lot of noise to overcome), and, in a sign of the times, it will be possible to wirelessly charge smartphones in the back seats by means of the rear armrests, the company said.
Like your phone, computer, or Netflix account, settings on the new MIB Touch system can be saved for specific users, allowing drivers to “sign-in” prior to using the car. It kind of stings for gearheads like us, but it delivers what’s probably the next logical step in the car-turned-smartphone hybridization. Gone are the days of simply swapping out your head unit for a Best Buy special. These days, a new system means a whole new car.
Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.