When Bruce Meyers shortened a Volkswagen Beetle chassis and threw a fiberglass shell on it, he started the dune buggy craze of the mid-1960s with his Meyers Manx off-road race car. Now here at the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen has put an electric twist on the old favorite with its I.D. Buggy concept.
The I.D. Buggy swaps out the old air-cooled engines of yore for a 62-kilowatt battery, good for 155 miles of range on the. The rear wheels are powered by an electric motor good for 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. Sixty-two miles per hour comes in 7.2 seconds on the way to a blistering top speed of 99 mph.
The I.D. Buggy comes as a two-seater without doors and roof, just like the original Meyers Manx. However, a rear seat can be added, and the company says a second electric motor could be added to the front axle to put power down to all four wheels.
The concept looks ready for Baja with 18-inch wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A tires. A front skid plate provides protection from rocks, but with a healthy 9.4 inches of ground clearance, it should stay fairly shiny.
Drivers are welcomed with a “Hey you” greeting display in the cockpit, but by and large the inside reflects the minimalist design of the first Manx. There is a multifunctional steering wheel, and materials are waterproof. This is a beach buggy, after all.
The I.D. Buggy showcases, in which the entire composite body can be removed, allowing for customization by drivers in the garage or by the pros in the shop.
The I.D. Buggy won’t make it into production, but that doesn’t mean it’s not super-rad. It’s great to see Volkswagen get back to its off-road roots, and it’s even better to see it with a nod to the future.