So after previous false dawns – notably the VW Microbus concept in 2001 that was cancelled – VW has revealed their latest concept of a future iconic campervan, or have they?
Named Budd-E is actually an electric powered and has a rear sofa set up akin to the rear seating often found in VW Splitscreens used for weddings. Unveiled this week at the CES Las Vegas show its certainly caused a debate in VW circles. According to Volkswagen it will virtually recharge in around 30 minutes and is likely to have a range of around 220 miles.
The dashboard the features a futuristic double touch screen board that provides the newly coined term infotainment with touchscreen and voice control
The rear incorporates a rear L shaped sofa often found in the back of VW Splitscreen campervans particularly those used for weddings. Ambient lighting will be computer controlled using multiple LED systems.
With two separate electric motors the VW Budd-e will top 90mph and produce zero emissions. Using e-mirrors which are in effect two separate camera feeds the traditional wing mirror views will be internally displayed on the dashboard.
Whilst it is no doubt a technological advance in electrically designed vehicles, as traditional campervan fans we are not blown away by this concept vehicle. A retro vehicle that harks back to the Splitty but incorporating modern safety features and tech is all that is required. We want lots of space to go camping with all the modern creature comforts so it has always seemed pretty simple to us and VW would be on to a sure fire winner! With still relatively poor electric charging infrastructure the practicality of a medium haul campervan trip seems remote in this concept vehicle.
Whilst there is the possibility that a proper campervan version is launched is seems unlikely and instead this will be another MPV. Without seats that convert into beds, fridges, hobs and sinks then its obviously not a campervan but it with looks that send a nod to the iconic looks of the past then it certainly seems to be an opportunity missed.