New Volkswagen: Electric and fully connected

VW BUDD-e conceptVolkswagenThe VW BUDD-e concept

Volkswagen wants to reinvent itself.

During the company’s keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, Volkswagen passenger cars chairman Dr. Herbert Diess revealed what he called the “new” Volkswagen.

The brand is pivoting toward a new focus on electric mobility, fully connected cars, and a new driver experience, Diess announced.

To start, Diess introduced two brand-new vehicles — the BUDD-e Concept and the e-Golf Touch.

Here’s the BUDD-e concept:

The VW BUDD-e concept is a throwback to Volkswagen’s classic Microbus — the quirky, tube-shaped van that became an icon in the 60s and 70s.

The old Microbus was a well-loved staple in the Volkswagen family for decades, and has taken on many different iterations over its more than half-century in existence. It’s clear that Volkswagen wanted to evoke the icon with the BUDD-e concept.

The BUDD-e is a zero-emissions, battery-powered vehicle, boasting up to 373 miles of range on a full charge, according to Volkswagen.

Following in the footsteps of a handful of tech companies and automakers at CES, Volkswagen announced it is developing a new suite of connected technology designed to make its upcoming vehicles more interactive and intuitive.

VolkswagenThe VW BUDD-e concept interior.

The BUDD-e concept, for example, features interfaces that are controlled with simple hand gestures, and offers connectivity that links to your other smart devices between the car and home.

The big story here is that Volkswagen is going full-bore into the world of electric vehicles. The BUDD-e is built on Volkswagen’s new EV-dedicated modular electric MEB architecture. The platform will be exclusive to Volkswagen’s forthcoming electric vehicles.

VolkswagenThe underpinnings of the Volkswagen BUDD-e concept

According to a statement from Volkswagen, the platform will give its electric cars mileage that’s “on par with today’s gasoline-powered cars by the end of the decade.”

Long-range electric vehicles are one of the lofty benchmarks required to help EVs compete with gas-powered vehicles in a market that’s as thirsty as ever for SUVs and pickups. EVs currently make up only about 1% of the auto market. 

These latest moves signal Volkswagen’s attempt to turn the page on its massive emissions scandal that dominated headlines last year, and subjected some 11 million affected vehicles to worldwide scrutiny.

Beyond all of the excitement of Volkswagen’s new products, chairman Diess reiterated that the “Most important goal for 2016 is to solve the emissions issue in the US.”

NOW WATCH: The median sale price of a Manhattan apartment is now $1.15 million

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.