The VW dune buggy is back but this time it's all-electric

Key Points
  • The VW dune buggy is back to showcase the automaker's electric drive platform.
  • The car was unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show this week.
  • Volkswagen Group are unlikely to roll it out for wider sale.
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Volkswagen brought back the spirit of the Californian sun and The Beach Boys at the Geneva Motor Show this week, when it paraded its 21st century version of the dune buggy.

I.D. Buggy is the latest vehicle from Volkswagen designed to show off the capabilities of VW's new battery-powered platform that will underpin a range of battery-electric vehicles the company plans to bring to market. The car company has already released a family of electric cars all under an I.D. branding.

While shamelessly surfing a wave of nostalgia, the updated dune buggy houses a strong nod to the future with a 62-kWh lithium-ion battery and 201-horsepower electric motor.

On roads, the buggy can sprint from zero to 62 miles per hour (100 kmh) in 7.2 seconds but maximum speed is electronically limited to 99 mph. Based on Europe's new performance benchmark, the I.D. Buggy will give a 155-mile range on one charge.

VW launches electric dune buggy concept at Geneva Motor Show

Speaking to CNBC Tuesday, VW Group CEO Herbert Diess described the I.D. buggy as one of a "very rich tradition of emotional cars."

Diess added however that the car won't come to a wider market unless it can be produced more efficiently.

The electric drive platform the car is built on is called the MEB (Modulare E-Antriebs-Baukasten) and VW has forecast it will sell 10 million cars using this technology.

It's also opening up the platform to car manufacturers outside its own stable of brands. It says the MEB platform will guarantee an 80 percent charge in around 30 minutes for each vehicle.

Dune buggy reborn

Bruce Meyers in his Manx Dune Buggy.
The Enthusiast Network | The Enthusiast Network | Getty Images

Also known as a beach buggy, a dune buggy is a motor vehicle with large wheels and wide tires that allow for use on sand dunes and beaches.

The original version is said to have been invented in 1964 by Californian Bruce Meyers who recognized the unusual suspension of the VW Beetle and its rear-sited engine as perfect for better comfort and grip on sand.

After bolting his own fiber-glass shell design to a shortened VW floorplan, the "Meyers Manx" was born. It then gained fame by beating motorcycles in races across long sandy stretches.

Meyers lost a court case to protect the patent of his invention, however, and has himself estimated that the Manx has been copied about 300,000 times all over the world.