VW hopes to bring its iconic microbus into the 21st century (Photo: VW)

LAS VEGAS -- Volkswagen unveiled an electric van concept, the Budd-e, at the CES consumer electronics show and announced that a new e-Golf Touch will feature gesture control and other novel display and control functions.

"The Budd-e is a realistic trendsetter," VW brand CEO Herbert Diess said in a keynote address at CES.

The van concept is based on VW's modular electric drive kit (MEB), an architecture that will underpin most if not all of VW's future electric vehicles.

The Budd-e is a modern interpretation of the iconic microbus that was, for decades, a sales success worldwide, VW said. But the new van will have an electric engine and a battery that can be 80 pc recharged in 30 minutes. It also comes with a wide array of new connected features.

"We are developing completely new and unique vehicle concepts ”“ especially designed for long-distance electromobility," Diess said.

The e-Golf Touch, based on the production model of VW's most popular passenger car, comes with a further developed version of VW's modular infotainment toolkit (MIB). A 9.2 inch touch display merges the operating worlds of smartphones and cars, VW said.

Other innovations VW is bringing to CES include an interactive HMI, improved voice control and inductive charging for personal devices.

In his keynote address, Diess apologized for the widespread cheating on diesel emissions tests that VW admitted to last year. He said the company is "working day and night" to provide fixes for roughly 11 million cars affected and said management is committed to changing a culture that allowed the deceit.

Said Diess: "We are focused on ensuring that something like this can never happen again at Volkswagen."

-By Arjen Bongard