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Mike Stevens | Apr, 23 2012 | 0 Comments

Electric vehicles, as motor-show concepts and often as production models, have long had a tradition of quirky styling and experimental materials.

Thankfully (depending on who you ask), that's changing.

Cars like the BMW 1 Series ActiveE and the MINI E have shown that futuristic powertrains and contemporary design can get along just fine, and Nissan's Leaf EV is a step in the right direction.

Earlier this year, Volkswagen revealed the E-Bugster, which saw the new Beetle's conventional drivetrain switched out for an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack.

Now it's back for the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, in convertible form.

Previewing what will likely debut as the regular petrol-powered Beetle Cabriolet, the two-seat E-Bugster Speedster gets the same enhanced styling pack as the hardtop concept, including big wheels, new bumpers and a ducklip spoiler at the rear.

The theme continues under the skin, with power provided by the same 85kW and 270Nm electric motor, matched with a 28.3kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

With that heart, Volkswagen promises a 0-100km/h time of 10.8 seconds - about two and-a-half seconds short of the regular 2.5 litre petrol model's sprint.

Driving range from one charge is listed at around 160km, and an 80 percent recharge can be accomplished in less than 30 minutes.

Whether we'll see either of the E-Bugster cars in showrooms remains unclear. Volkswagen has so far confirmed a number of electric variants among its current model lines, but the Beetle has yet to figure in any EV production plans.

As for the regular Beetle Cabriolet, we should see an international debut in the coming year, while the regular hardtop Beetle is expected to hit Australia later this year.

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