Electric Cars

A production VW I.D. Buggy? It's not as far-fetched as you might think

Volkswagen of America boss Scott Keogh explains how the electric Buggy could maybe, just maybe, become a reality.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen's electric I.D. Buggy is one of the biggest hits at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. It's wacky and fun -- a modern EV take on the old Meyers Manx dune buggy. It's purely a concept right now, and a wild one at that. But as it turns out, a production version might not be totally out of the cards.

"I think it's important to have these emotional products," Scott Keogh, president of Volkswagen Group of America, told Roadshow during an interview Tuesday. "When we've been at our best in the US market is when we've brought these kind of non-traditional concepts to life."

Just look at the success of Volkswagen's 1994 Concept One, which later became the New Beetle, one of the biggest hits of the turn-of-the-century retro craze. More recently, VW had a huge hit with its I.D. Buzz concept, and this reborn Microbus will soon enter production, riding on the company's modular MEB electric vehicle architecture.

If the I.D. Buggy does enter production, Keogh said it, too, would use Volkswagen's MEB platform. "This platform is flexible enough and this platform gives us the opportunity to do these kinds of cool things," Keogh said. "This is the upside of having scale on the platform -- this big chunk of the cost, you got that covered."

Because of that, Volkswagen wouldn't have to sell a ton of Buggies in order to make the project worthwhile. "We don't need hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands -- we could make this business case work at a much lower volume," Keogh said.

One of the hardest parts, of course, would be creating a production car that's true to the intrinsic simplicity of the concept.

"Restraint with this car is going to be huge," Keogh said, noting that he wouldn't want to load a Buggy up with features and tech. "The instant you start chipping away, then it's lost its soul, and it doesn't work at all."

But at the same time, Keogh knows the car would need to meet federal safety standards, and Volkswagen wouldn't do it as a specialty project only for off-road use. "We would only do it if you can certify it and get it on the road," Keogh said.

It would definitely take some work to get this thing to pass US safety testing.

Volkswagen

The big reason behind doing something like the Buggy would be to stand out in the EV marketplace. "If you look at the next, let's say, two to three years, you're going to see a tidal wave of very cool cars -- from us, from competition, everything else," Keogh said.

The Buggy would certainly be a unique-to-Volkswagen offering, and one true to the company's roots.

"It's one thing to say, 'OK, this is what everyone else does,'" Keogh said. "I think it's quite cool sometimes in life to say, 'This is what no one else does.'"