Bugatti caters to something of a niche market: very rich people who are interested in owning a fast, rare car. But that’s not quite enough to satisfy yet another growing sector of the automotive population: electric vehicle enthusiasts. Enter Volkswagen, who might just be funding Bugatti’s EV dreams.
That’s right. The goal is for Bugatti to develop an electric crossover or grand tourer that could seat four people but still deliver the performance and luxury expected of the Bugatti brand. It’ll just need a little more money from parent company Volkswagen AG to fund the endeavor. From Bloomberg:
The plan shows how even automakers decoupled from the day-to-day realities of transport are grappling with the gradual end of the combustion-engine era. For Bugatti, it’s less about emissions and more about the changing definition of progress and innovation.
After the diesel emissions scandal of 2015, Volkswagen has been looking critically at its portfolio of available brands, and Bugatti is one that looks as if it could suffer. There aren’t many opportunities for technology transfer with such an extravagant lineup, and Bugatti was even named as being one of the industry’s biggest money-losers. Even a fancy name brand can’t protect you when you’re not good for business.
The Bugatti EV would be an attempt to gain a little more relevance in a changing era. Which isn’t to say that it’s necessarily going to give up its ultra-luxurious feel. The new car would still roughly cost somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million euros ($553,000 to $1.1 million), but that’s a pretty significant step toward affordability when you consider the fact that the Chiron costs $2.5 million.
This isn’t the first time Bugatti has tested the double-rowed concept car. Back in 1999, it unveiled the EB 218, a saloon car. Ten years later, in 2009, it introduced the five-seater 16 C Galibier concept. Nothing really came of either of those ideas, and it’s still unclear if Volkswagen will actually help fund the whole operation—but it would be another shot at a relevance Bugatti has had a hard time securing.