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Volkswagen just might win back some fans since its emission scandal with its latest announcement. The car company unveiled two electric car concepts, the e-Golf Touch and the much-anticipated Budd-e microbus, Tuesday during the keynote address on the eve of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show.
“We want to create a new encounter of mobility,” Dr. Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, told the audience during his keynote speech. Diess briefly addressed the emissions scandal, but spent most of his time highlighting the unique features of the two all-electric vehicles.
The Budd-e microbus, which received the most attention, has a 101 kilowatt-hour battery (for comparison, Tesla’s premier battery is a 90 kilowatt-hour pack), can reach a top speed of 93 miles per hour and boasts a range of 373 miles on a single charge. However, The Verge noted, “you’d likely be looking at well under 300 miles, which is still pretty good for a car that doesn’t actually exist yet.”
TechCrunch’s Sarah Buhr had this to say about the Budd-e:
The Budd-e, a pint-sized version of the company’s legendary hippie van looked almost Tron-like as it glowed in the dark onstage—as if to let us know we’re now in the future. It also stayed true to what seems to be the automotive theme of the Consumer Electronics Show this year—connection to everything on command. The Budd-e will let you know if a visitor is at the front of your house, what’s in your fridge and “make sure your robot cleaner is ready” before you get home, according to one LG exec who came onstage during the presentation.
The car is also equipped to handle package pickup and delivery with a built-in drop box in the back where a delivery person can drop off and pick up packages wherever your car is parked.
Budd-e also seems to be adherent to “the force.” The handleless car doors will automatically open at the command of your voice. Diess demonstrated this onstage as the driver inside said politely, “Hello Budd-e, please open the passenger door.”
With this concept car, Volkswagen hopes to further integrate your smart car and your smart home—something other car companies are working on too.
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