Volkswagen has debuted a Beetle concept car called the E-Bugster at the NAIAS in Detroit. The two-seat Beetle speedster features pure electric drive and is a powered by a Blue-e-Motion system, with a 85 kW motor at the heart of it. The concept is lower (by 90 mm) and wider (by 30 mm) than the stock Bug.

Taking some cues from the Ragster concept from 2005, external design elements include a swept-back and wide windscreen, LED headlights and highly customised bumpers from the production Beetle, and these feature daytime running lights to the left and right of the central air intake styled in C-shape fashion. These styling elements also appear in modified form as reflectors in the rear bumper, which was also redesigned.

Inside, the car features a lightweight construction steering wheel, sport seats, the use of aluminium as material for door handles and belt guides as well as a continuous centre tunnel finished in body colour, among other things.

Staring up the E-Bugster is a bit of a light show – engaging the Start button immerses the interior in a white light, then a blue light. It begins with a light pulse in the instrument cluster – from there the light emanates as a thin line of light, just one millimetre wide, coursing into the door window sills and around the air nozzles.

The car’s central electric module weighs just 80 kg, and juice for the motor is stored in a lithium-ion battery whose modules are housed in a space-saving location behind the front seats. The battery has an energy capacity of 28.3 kWh, offering the car a 180 km operating range.

The car features a new Combined Charging System, which has been developed in cooperation with Audi, BMW, Daimler and Porsche as well as American carmakers Ford and General Motors. The system’s standardised interface offers single-phase charging with AC current and fast DC charging. Via a quick charge, the battery can be topped up within 35 minutes at suitable charging stations.

The E-Bugster rides on 20-inch versions of the production Beetle’s 18-inch Twister wheels, and these are wrapped with 235/35 series rubbers.