Don't call it a Ragster. Though it shares its basic body shape with the slammed New Beetle that debuted at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show, the Volkswagen E-Bugster is a completely new concept that's based on the latest version of VW's iconic Beetle. And it's electric.

That electric motor puts out 114-horsepower (85 kW) and 199 pound-feet of torque, which out to be plenty to get this squashed Bug down the road with a quickness. Range is listed at about 100 miles, courtesy of a 695-pound lithium ion battery pack that resides both under the rear seats and trunk floor. A charging port is located under the VW logo at the car's nose, and, depending on the charger being used, an 80-percent charge can happen in just 30 minutes.

The electric drivetrain is only half of the story. The E-Bugster's most distinctive styling element is no doubt its chopped roof, which, when combined with the wide, flat windshield, makes the E-Bugster look like a 2012 Beetle that's seen a California-based plastic surgeon customizing shop. Also take notice of the 20-inch wheels, which remind us a bit of the Fuchs wheels seen on many retro Beetles all around the country.

But you don't have to take our word for it. Check out our high-res image gallery of live photos from Detroit, and then read the full press release after the break.
Show full PR text

Two-seater concept blends iconic Beetle styling with zero-emissions motoring

• Latest addition to the Blue-e-motion™ family of concept cars
• Powered by a 114-horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery
• Low roofline and unique styling make E-Bugster stand out

Herndon, VA - Volkswagen's iconic Beetle has been redefined for the 21st century. Now, it has been further reinvented as a concept car for the future: the pure electric E-Bugster.

What's in a Name?

The name "E-Bugster" is a combination of "E" for electric, "Bug," the American nickname for the Beetle, and "speedster," which typically describes an open-top two-seater. Although the E-Bugster concept is clearly not a convertible, it sports the typical speedster profile of shallow windows and a low, dramatic roofline.

Blue-e-motion for a Cleaner Future

At the electric heart of the E-Bugster is an electric motor that makes 114 horsepower (85 kW) and 199 pound-feet of torque. A lithium-ion battery enables the car to go more than 100 miles in zero emissions driving. Stored under the trunk floor and the rear bench, the battery weighs 695 pounds. The battery is recharged via a plug interface located underneath the hood's VW logo and can accommodate all three types of available chargers: Level 1 (120V), Level 2 (240V), and, where available, Level 3 (quick charge, 80 percent charge in 30 minutes). Holistically, Volkswagen calls the electric drive unit used in the E-Bugster "Blue-e-motion," and it will be found in future products such as the Golf Blue-e-Motion.

Unique Design

In addition to being a study in pure-electric mobility, the E-Bugster is also a dynamic study in Beetle design. Up front, the E-Bugster's flat and wide windshield is distinctive. The E-Bugster utilizes LED Daytime Running Lights, just like the production Beetle, except that here they form a distinctive graphic on either side of the lower air intake in the front bumper. This LED graphic is mirrored by reflectors in the rear bumper. Ever since the e-up! concept car was presented in Europe, these unique DRLs have become a signature element on Volkswagen electric vehicle studies.

From the side, the E-Bugster's low, flat roof serves to frame the rest of the vehicle's distinctive features. Between its flared fenders and 20-inch wheels, there's a distinctive Beetle "V" that runs along the side of the vehicle. Above its side sill, a decal with the "E-Bugster" signature can be seen. Just above this point, the chrome has been lengthened from the lower window border towards the rear of the car. The top of the E-Bugster extends in a flat arch over this chrome line and borders the vehicle's side windows. The height between the chrome lower edge of these windows and the uppermost roof line is tight, like a chopped-down speedster. Overall, the Bugster is nearly three inches lower than a Beetle.

EV-specific instrumentation

A unique exterior look isn't all that sets the E-Bugster apart from the production Beetle; it also sports EV-specific gauges inside. The traditional tachometer has been replaced with an energy consumption display that fluctuates with vehicle acceleration. Other instrumentation includes a driving range indicator, a display showing the battery's charge state, and a display that shows the driver the intensity of battery regeneration.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      They need to produce that 3 wheeler shown years ago now
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ah, it burns! My god this thing is hideous! Just MHO... Let the down voting begin!
        • 3 Years Ago
        After driving my Leaf around, the eBug looks awesome.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Big :)
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's a mild win that automakers make their concepts electric, it associates EV with the future and some drivers will realize they can buy the future today instead of waiting for VW to finally do something. If you like the chopped-off look, you can actually buy a MINI Coupe gasser. The manual Cooper version gets 29 mpg city / 37 highway / 32 combined, the same as most other Cooper models. The new Beetle gets 22 city / 31 highway / 25 combined, though it's a larger car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Despite beeing not optimal, I like it, and I think it would definitely find some buyers. But to sell it you ned to produce it. I would applaud if VW really would make 10.000 of them.
      • 3 Years Ago
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      • 3 Years Ago
      Are they going to make a convertible model? That would be really popular in Southern CA.
      • 3 Years Ago
      A "guys" bug with an electric drive-train? Really? Is this what passes as new an innovative at VW? The beetle has horrible aerodynamics despite its rounded nose. A Kammback would improve interior room & cargo capacity and it would improve aerodynamics which would allow the car to achieve the same range with a lighter smaller battery pack. This sloppy concept will never read production. Car design 101:
        • 3 Years Ago
        the kammback despite beeing developed by a german is disregarded by german carmakers. they tell the buyer that it looks wrong. drivers of "sport cars" are surprised that a prius has a better aerodynamic than a sleek fast car. so it is german engineering. take a normal car, use light resistance tires, attatch some panels to guide the wind and then it is good. but the kammback is EVIL!
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        a kammback in itself is not a fix. for instance you could say a box van is a kammback. key to aerodynamics seems to be a bulb/wedge front and long taper back (see body of sword- or sailfish). kammback is just a decent way to end an aerodynamic shape without having to make it long like a fish but you need the rear taper. the profile of a porsche 911 is much better for instance but you can also move the windshield more forward. you can also look at birds and dolphins; bulbous front, rear taper. in principle an aerodynamic shape could have a Cd of 0, the rear taper is that important. sailfish have been clocked at over 110km/h in water which is 1000 times more dense than air. that's a spectacular achievement. for a hummer to go 110km/h in water you'd need a nuclear bomb. smart makes all the difference
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not a vehicle for geeks! But yeah, I can see a market for this sort of car. (especially, in convertable configuration).
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