When Volkswagen first hinted at ID Buggy electric dune buggy concept, I was pretty excited. Partially because I’ve always been fond of old dune buggies like the Meyers Manx, and partially because of what this sort of vehicle hinted at for the future of Volkswagen. That’s why I was especially excited to see the car in the metal/plastic at the New York Auto Show, and pleased that VW let me crawl all over and under it.

What you first really notice about the car in person is that it is absolutely, unashamedly plastic. The body is not trying to be anything other than plastic, and given the context of this thing, that works fine.

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It really does feel like a modern Meyers Manx, and the side profile feels especially Manx-ish. The headlamps are actually semi-separate units in flattened buckets, like an updated buggy light, and the whole thing is spare and minimal and open, just like a dune buggy should be.

It’s by far the most reminiscent of old-school, air-cooled Volkswagens that modern VW has put out in quite a while, especially technically—the motor is at the rear, and the general layout of the chassis/platform is certainly reminiscent of an old VW Type I pan.

I spoke with some Volkswagen engineers, and while they said that the MEB platform isn’t really a free-loading skateboard like the original VW Type I pan (it’s in three parts: front assembly, battery pack, rear) but they did say they’re serious about the idea of selling the MEB components to other manufacturers to produce low-volume cars like these; noted builder of other companies’ cars Magna Steyr was mentioned as a hypothetical example.

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Also like the original Manx, the buggy is somewhat shortened compared to most mainstream MEB designs—that’s why the range isn’t expected to be great.

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Overall, though, this thing didn’t disappoint in person, at least from a look/feel/size standpoint. Something like this coming to market at all, from a major manufacturer, even in limited numbers, would be remarkable, but would really go a long way to showing how flexible and fun electric cars could potentially be.

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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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