Volkswagen is in the process of converting the ID.BUZZ concept first unveiled at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show into its production version. We don’t even have what it will be called in its production self yet. So, before we see the brilliantly retro minibus come to life, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle is setting the stage with the launch of the eTransporter developed jointly with German tuning firm ABT. On the outside, the Volkswagen eTransporter looks like its diesel-powered model with the small exception of the obvious ABT emblem on the grille.
Developed in collaboration with ABT e-Line, VW says the ABT eTransporter 6.1 combines smooth driving, instant torque, fast charging and high load capacity. The model offers an all-electric range of up to 131 km and flexible charging options allow for 80 percent charge in 45 minutes.
The ABT eTransporter 6.1 delivers a maximum power output of 109 hp and a 0-100 km/h time of 17.4 seconds. The lightweight electric motor has low maintenance requirements and instant maximum torque. This is connected to the battery via the power electronics that supply energy to both the on-board electronics and the electric motor.
Volkswagen have not revealed images of the interior but a substantial change on the instrument panel will be inevitable. The driver will see the battery status from the instrument cluster, where the usual rev counter dial has been replaced with a power meter.
The ABT eTransporter 6.1 features a modified dual-clutch transmission DSG, combining the conventional system with the requirements of an electric drive. When Drive (‘D’) is selected, the motor will deliver 75% power to maximise range, with the kick-down function on the gear shift providing 100% power and torque.
The electric Transporter has as standard a DAB+ radio system with 6.5-inch touchscreen and four loudspeakers, SD card slot, Bluetooth handsfree and two USB interfaces (type-C) in the dashboard. Volkswagen AppConnect allows smartphone apps onto the infotainment system’s touchscreen, which is also standard alongside driver assistance systems, including Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System, rear parking sensors and Crosswind Assist.
Pricing for the ABT eTransporter 6.1 Panel van starts from £42,060 exc VAT (approximately Rs 39 lakh). Next in line for VW’s electric van venture is the ID.BUZZ which is expected to launch by 2022. Chances of the eTransporter launching in India though, remain very slim.
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