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Volkswagen’s electric BUDD-e tours China

Volkswagen’s BUDD-e concept car is touring China as an ambassador for e-mobility, presenting the next generation of electrically-powered vehicles to Chinese motorists.

The zero-emission MPV made its world premiere in January at the CES in Las Vegas and since then, has been travelling the globe as the precursor to a new generation of electric vehicles.

The BUDD-e is the first Volkswagen based on the new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). Approaching 2020 is when we will see the launch of the MEB models – electric cars with ranges at the level of today's petrol counterparts (330 miles in the case of the BUDD-e).

It also features a new form of operation and information handling, says Volkswagen, via voice, touch and gesture control, plus large display landscapes.

According to VW, the Chinese are very open to driving electric cars as the environmental conditions in their big cities can be improved through developments such as zero-emission, electrically-powered vehicles. 

The state and major municipalities are promoting electric motoring through a variety of measures. One example: in megacities such as Beijing (21.5 million inhabitants, third-largest city on earth) or Shanghai (at 24 million inhabitants the world's largest) the number of newly issued vehicle registration numbers is being limited – however, without a registration number it is not possible to licence a new vehicle. The wait is therefore very long. 

However, buyers of models with plug-in hybrid, electric or hydrogen drive systems receive the coveted registration numbers much more quickly – on condition that the cars, known as New Energy Vehicles (NEV), must be made in China.

Volkswagen is pushing ahead with the development of fully and partially electrically powered vehicles so that by 2020, seven new Chinese-built, electric and plug-in hybrid models will have come onto the market in China.