Volkswagen has been hacking their way through a thicket of bad news since, well, it falsified the diesel emissions ratings on scores of vehicles. Many of us still aren’t sure if we can accept this brand back into our hearts, but this electric Microbus concept is making a strong case!

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The company’s going to be rectifying their mistake for a while yet, but here’s VW’s Passenger Cars Chairman Dr. Herbert Diess back in the United States for the first time since #dieselgate broke, delivering the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show keynote address and showing off “the first vehicle based on the all-new Modular Electric Platform (MEB) that is designed specifically for plug-in vehicles.” It’s called BUDD-e.

“The microbus was pretty much the embodiment of peace, love and happiness,” proclaimed Dr. Diess.

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The idea is actually similar to the scheme Faraday Future is pitching; a universal platform that can accept a range of body-style applications.

If BUDD-e were ever to hit the street, it’d be running a hypothetical 101 kWh battery-powered drivetrain with a massive range of 373 miles. Technology which VW claims could be the definition of electric mobility by 2019.

The claimed charging time for the battery pack by then, hypothetically speaking, is said to be able to recharge to 80 percent in fifteen minutes, which is similar to the claim made by Porsche’s Mission-E concept car.

On the interior, VW went for “comprehensive digitization” of the instrument cluster and the infotainment center, with a single large screen spanning across the dashboard, and is entirely configurable to the driver’s taste. The information and apps are split up into three sections, “Drive” which includes vehicle information like speed, “Control” which includes trip information and vehicle status, and “Consume” which includes music, messages, weather, calendar, and other interactive applications.

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The BUDD-e concept also has advanced gesture control technology inside and out, allowing people to use hand motions while approaching the vehicle to open the electrically operated doors, with similar features for all passengers inside the vehicle. The interactive system will recognize passenger movements without the need for any sort of activation to better integrate a no-touching-zone, or something.

Oh, you can also customize the lighting, which interacts with the gesture control system. Groovy. The car is also smart enough to alert passengers or the driver via their phone or smart watch when they have left something in the car, or to check up on other people at home or at work.

Anyway—will VW build it for real? Probably not. Like many other concepts it’s a “potential future direction of the brand,” according to a VW press release.

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Here’s hoping the folks at VW change their minds.


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.