Electric car: buggy concepts pile up but never materialize

The probability of a manufacturer producing what appears to be an electric cart is close to zero. However, several manufacturers use this type of machine as a concept car. The most recent is signed by Dacia with its Manifesto.

They are often closer to the lunar exploration machine than to a real vehicle that we might find on our roads. However, it is sometimes in this form, the buggy concept, that manufacturers present their vision of the future of mobility. On September 16, 2022, it’s Dacia’s turn to participate in this fun exercise with its Manifesto concept.

Dacia is not the only manufacturer to venture into this niche. Audi, Volkswagen, Citroën, Lexus or even DeLorean have had fun with this type of equipment.

About the Dacia manifesto concept

As the name of Dacia’s concept suggests, it is essentially a manifesto. A vision of the future that will not give, in the state, any vehicle marketed in this way. Dacia takes advantage of this Manifesto presentation to reaffirm that the brand specializes in robust and cool outdoor vehicles.

Dacia Manifesto concept with its unique, removable headlight. // Source: Dacia

What is interesting to remember about this concept is that it promotes carbon footprint reduction. However, this is not necessarily obvious when we think of Dacia today. It is compact (3.6 m) and light, it could be quite efficient in theory. The brand talks about “green engine”, without talking more about its vision of the future in this matter.

The concept also gives prominence to recycled materials. A good part of the parts, which are used in the body and interior, are made of recycled polypropylene. Cork replaces leather and imitation leather traditionally used in dashboards and steering wheels. The use of airless tires also goes in the direction of durability from the elements. With tires that can become indestructible, Dacia also aims to unite ecology and economy.

Interior of the Dacia Manifesto concept. // Source: Dacia

The choice of buggy is certainly justified to reinforce the fact that the vehicle is intended for leisure and outdoor activities. Without distorting the message, we could have put these elements into a slightly more urban vehicle of the same size, with a roof, doors and trunk. A kind of Dacia Spring of the future, but maybe the brand didn’t want to commit to making false promises. The production of a buggy is unlikely, a vision of a Dacia Spring of the future could have created unnecessary expectations.

Other brands also created buggies/SUVs with no market perspective

It is even more surprising to see Dacia present a concept in the form of a buggy, when several other brands, mainly European, have already had fun with this type of body. However, public feedback has been quite mixed overall.

In late August, it was the DeLorean brand that launched a half SUV, half buggy concept vehicle, which left us a little on the sidelines.

DeLorean Omega Concept. // Source: DeLorean

Looking at the lines of the DeLorean model, it is also another concept, signed by Audi and presented at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, which we thought about. If no vehicle for the general public should result from this machine, what comes closest are the vehicles entered by the German manufacturer in sports competitions, such as the Dakar or the Extreme E.

Audi AI:TRAIL quattro
Audi AI:TRAIL quattro. // Source: Audi

In fact, the Dacia Manifesto reminds us above all of a hydrogen concept signed by Lexus. For its small adventurer compact size, we find a bit of the same frame of mind as the Lexus ROV. But Dacia brought a whole vision of sustainable development, absent from the Lexus concept.

lexus rov
Lexus hydrogen ROV concept. // Source: Lexus

The real electric buggy concept that really got people talking about it is the ID. Volkswagen cars. Perhaps it is a real mistake on the part of the German manufacturer not to try to make this happen. When it was presented in 2019, the vehicle was acclaimed by the public. Is that enough to start producing such a machine? Probably not, but the brand has re-released the ID. Buzz in the footsteps of your old Combi. The identification. Buggy could have found an equally eccentric and nostalgic clientele from the past.

Volkswagen ID.  buggies
Volkswagen ID. carts. // Source: Volkswagen

Finally, the only brand that has produced its imitation buggy is Citroën with its limited-edition Buggy Ami. You can make fun of it, but it’s the closest thing to it, in what it’s actually been marketed to. Unlike other concepts, the Ami Buggy concept is about to come true and isn’t just there to wow the gallery at a fair.

Citroën AMI Buggy. // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama

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