At the CES in Las Vegas, Volkswagen finally introduced its long-awaited zero-emissions van. It's called BUDD-e and is based on the new platform for electric car; it also serves as an example of next-generation connectivity and infotainment concepts.

BUDD-e is the first ever Volkswagen that is based on the new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). It comes with the electric four-wheel drive; the front electric motor produces 100 kW, while the rear motor produces 125 kW. The concept car can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds and has a top speed of 112 mph/180 km. The motors are powered by a 92.4 kWh battery that provides enough energy to enable a range of up to 233 miles (EPA estimated real-world driving range) or 533 kilometers (NEFZ). The battery can be charged by plugging it into a power socket or by inductive charging. At a charging power of 150 kW (DC), it takes about 30 minutes for the battery to charge to up to 80 percent.

The battery is flat and space-saving, integrated into almost the entire vehicle floor of the BUDD-e. At the same time, there is plenty of room left for passengers and their luggage in this 181.0"/4,597 mm long, 76.4"/1,940 mm wide and 72.2"/1,835 mm high minivan. Size-wise, BUDD-e can be placed somewhere between Volkswagen's Touran and Multivan T6 vans, only it's wider. Generous width and a relatively long wheelbase (124.1"/3,151 mm) with very short overhangs make BUDD-e quite a 'swift dancer'. A newly developed rear steering system resulted in a very tight turning circle of 37.7 ft/11.5 m and a much better dynamic response.

The engineers integrated heating and air conditioning unit in the front end of the car, which enlarges the space available in the front end of the car, but also results in excellent acoustics, because the fan noise has been heavily reduced. These advantages are particulary welcome since the cabin is designed for the passengers to feel comfortable during their travels. The driver can also enjoy a relaxing travel experience, when he implements autonomous, automated driving. 

BUDD-e offers a new way of operation and information processing with everything more intuitive than ever before, with analog screens replaced by digital ones, with touch and gesture control perfectly in tune, and individual displays blending into large infotainment panels – not to mention the driver can now easily access car controls from home.

Jan. 6, 2016 Driving photo: Volkswagen

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