Volkswagen has tapped the iconic design and versatile layout of its original Microbus for inspiration in the second of what company officials suggest will be a series of new self driving electric powered concept cars to be unveiled in 2017.
Pictured here in a series of teaser photographs ahead of a world premiere at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit the new concept is based around Volkswagen's MEB (modularen Elektrifizierungsbaukasten – modular electrified architecture) platform first unveiled underneath the I.D. hatchback at the Paris motor show last September.
Intended to bridge the gap between one of Volkswagen's most heavily admired models and a future electric car line-up, the multi-seat concept is described as featuring "outstanding accommodation" and an "extended electric range".
The three photographs released so far by Volkswagen reveal the front- and rear-end styling treatment of the new concept, which receives distinctive horizontally positioned LED headlamps and tail lamps similar in appearance to those adorning the I.D. hatchback.
Among the exterior design elements that hark back to the Microbus is an upright front end with what appears to be an almost vertical windscreen and minimal overhang. It supports a large illuminated VW badge and V-shaped feature line that recall the detailing of Volkswagen's original MPV. Further cues include a multi window glasshouse, sheer unadorned flanks and an upright rear.
One of up to five advanced zero emission models being considered for production as part of the German car maker's recently-announced Future 2025 plan that targets up to 500,000 electric car sales by the middle of next decade, the second I.D. concept features a drivetrain with two electric motors and four-wheel drive capability.
Volkswagen is holding back on further details of the drivetrain for the Microbus inspired concept. However, it confirms the new MPV will receive similar connectivity and autonomous driving functions as with the original I.D. concept.
Included is a retractable steering wheel, which is depicted on one of the teaser photographs of the new concept. When activated via a touch sensitive pad, it triggers the autonomous driving functions, which use laser scanners, ultra sonic sensors, radar sensors and digital stereo cameras, before retracting to provide the driver with greater space.
The new I.D. concept is the second electric powered MPV to be showcased by Volkswagen in the past 12 months following on from the similarly conceived Budd-e concept revealed at the 2016 Consumer Electric Show in Las Vegas.