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VW shows off its quick-charging electric microbus concept

The microbus is back and full of electrons.
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When the US government has filed a civil suit against you because your vehicles violated emissions laws, it's a good idea to start showing off some electric vehicles. That's exactly what Volkswagen has done during its CES keynote. The company showed off the BUDD-e new concept bus that's packed with technology and like all concept cars, you'll probably never get to buy in its current state of awesome.

Gallery: Volkswagen BUDD-e | 30 Photos

The bus' gizmos and connection to the smart home are nice, but it's VW's MEB (Modular Electric Platform) that should get you excited about the future of electric vehicles. The company said vehicle batteries will get an 80-percent charge in 15 minutes. Not as quick as a filing up with gas, but pretty quick. Currently a Tesla Supercharger will replenish 50 percent of a battery in about 20 minutes.

The company noted that the MEB platform will reduce the amount of space needed by battery packs (which are now placed flat on the vehicle floor) leaving more room for the platform's compact engine components and more importantly, increased cabin space. All of this with an estimated range of 373 miles.

The platform could to make its way into production VWs by 2019.

Meanwhile inside the car, the Active Info Display turns the dash into a giant display that would apparently connect to tablets, smartphones and IoT devices. It would be controlled via gestures, touch screens and your voice. Volkswagen also says passengers would be able to interact with their smart homes.

Volkswagen CEO Hertbert Diess said, "the BUDD-e is the first car in the Internet of Things." During the event, he demoed the car opening the front door of a house and checking a fridge camera to see if they he needs to stop by the store on the way home.

Of course this is all pie in the sky concept stuff. But if the microbus were to make its way to production even in a more limited fashion than what was shown on stage, an electric van would be pretty sweet. As Diess ended the event he said, "the car of the future will make a difference. It will make our world a better place. Volkswagen will sure most people can afford it." So there's hope it won't break the bank.

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