Volkswagen is currently working on a new Microbus concept vehicle to be debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, according to recent reports.
Interestingly, the new vehicle may end up as a production vehicle available as an electric — in addition to availability as a gas- or diesel-powered version — if you give much heed to rumors anyways.
The concept’s power train is rumored to utilize a fair amount of the same hardware that is used in the Audi R8 e-tron, as well as the Audi e-tron quattro SUV concept — making for a pretty interesting-sounding offering, especially when taking into account the rumored 250–310 mile targeted range.
Presumably, the electric version would take a bit of a backseat to the gas and diesel versions, considering Volkswagen’s actions to date. That said, a diesel offering isn’t looking likely to be a good bet for the American market considering all of the issues that the company is currently having there with the country’s Environmental Protection Agency — so perhaps that’s more incentive to focus on the electric version?
(For those who haven’t heard, the US Environmental Protection Agency is fining Volkswagen up to $18 billion for the use of specially designed “defeat device” software intended to deceive regulators testing the emissions levels of some of its diesel vehicles. The software works by determining when a vehicle is being tested, as opposed to being put to normal use, and adjusts the vehicle’s emissions controls accordingly. In other words, the car is only clean enough to pass these EPA tests when it is actually being tested. The issue is relating to around 482,000 4-cylinder Volkswagen + Audi diesel cars sold in the country since 2008. German engineering at its finest I suppose, eh?)
Back to the Volkswagen Microbus: As far as the electric version goes, there wouldn’t be much competition in the American market, as Nissan has yet to release the e-NV200 there (though perhaps Nissan will get around to it soon). An electric van with good range to it would likely get quite a bit of interest, so hopefully this concept will make it to the production vehicle phase.