VW’s retro electric Buggy recalls ’60s-era Beetle-based sand runners

Give Volkswagen credit for understanding its heritage — even when it involves vehicles it didn’t directly build.

The automaker Monday rolled out a battery-electric dune buggy concept at the Geneva auto show that lovingly harks back to the Meyers Manx Beetle-based sand runners of the 1960s and 1970s.

The I.D. Buggy uses Volkswagen’s flexible MEB platform for a minimalist concept vehicle in part to show what small-run automakers might be able to do with the MEB electric toolkit. The company decided to license MEB to outside automakers as a way to lower its costs.

The I.D. Buggy uses a floor-mounted 62 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery paired with a 201-hp rear-mounted electric motor to give it an expected range of up to 155 miles, based on the European testing cycle. Like the original Meyers Manx dune buggy kits did for the Beetle, the roofless I.D. Buggy two-seater features an upper body that can be detached from the chassis, allowing for added modifications, such as a second electric motor to drive the front wheels, enabling all-wheel drive.

Designed as a pure sand runner, the I.D. Buggy’s interior can be hosed out, while its exterior design is grilleless with a raised hood, fenders and tail. It uses LED lighting as well as an LED-lit VW logo, while a targa bar and reinforced windshield provide additional protection in case of rollover. The I.D. Buggy has a length of 160 inches, a wheelbase of 104.3 inches and 9.4 inches of ground clearance, Volkswagen says.

The automaker says the I.D. Buggy concept is capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds. Its maximum speed is electronically limited to 99 mph.

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