TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Outlining Volkswagen’s view of the car of the future, Matthias Erb, chief engineering officer-North American Region, details the automaker’s BUDD-e minivan, a concept introduced earlier this year at CES in Las Vegas.
It is a square, practical package reminiscent of the famous Microbus outside, but inside it is loaded with the latest technologies and concepts. Doors can be opened with the wave of a hand or a simple voice command.
It showcases VW’s new MEB EV platform said to be the basis of its next-generation connectivity and infotainment technology, including a new human-machine interface, ergonomic designs and advanced connectivity that enables the driver to communicate with the outside world and keep tabs on what’s in the fridge at home.
Claimed to represent what electric mobility could be like in 2019, the automaker says the BUDD-e will result in a mass-volume car that will have pure electric range of about 233 miles (375 km).
The new VW architecture is designed to have space for electric drive components and large batteries while maintaining interior room and driving dynamics. The battery is flat, to save space, and integrated into almost the entire vehicle floor. It powers two electric motors, one to drive each axle.
The interior design of the BUDD-e is characterized by the new HMI that eliminates the traditional distinction between the electronic instrument cluster in front of the driver and the center console infotainment system.
All the systems are operated intuitively with gesture controls, touchscreen (displays and touch slider) or voice control. The driver can choose between various intuitive control modes.
The BUDD-e’s programmable instrument cluster is an evolution of the Active Info Display first introduced by VW on the ’15 Passat. A 12.3-in. (31.2-cm) curved display with a surface consisting of three individually configurable sections is centrally positioned, right in front of the driver.
Cameras are used to detect if a passenger in the rear compartment wants to open the sliding door, and interactive displays and projections also assist the driver and passengers during operation.