Volkswagen e-Bugster Concept Car
Volkswagen unveiled its e-Bugster concept car on Monday at the Detroit auto show. Volkswagen

DETROIT -- Playing off its popular Beetle, Volkswagen unveiled its e-Bugster, all-electric concept car at the 2012 North American International Auto Show on Monday.

Volkswagen's iconic Beetle has been redefined for the 21st century, Volkswagen said. Now, it has been further reinvented as a concept car for the future: the pure electric e-Bugster.

The name e-Bugster is derived from the obvious -- e is for electric, Bug is the nickname of the iconic Beetle, and speedster describes the open-top two seater, the company said.

The concept car is not a convertible, however, but it has shallow windows and a low, dramatic roofline.

It's crazy, said Walter de'Silva, head of Volkswagen Group Design. Isn't that a crazy car?

The e-Bugster concept was unveiled Monday from Volkswagen's main stage presentation after the company revealed its new 2012 Jetta Hybrid, and made a case for a 2012 product offensive in the United States. The company has a new manufacturing plant and North American operations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that includes research and development, and sales and marketing functions.

The e-Bugster isn't planned for production, at this point anyway, but it serves as a showcase for the modified version of Volkswagen's drivetrain scheduled to be put into the Golf Blue-e-motion. The golf is slated for limited release in 2013.

The VW e-Bugster concept blends iconic Beetle styling with zero-emissions motoring, and is the latest addition to the Blue-e-motion concept cars family. The car is powered by a 114-horsepower electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. De'Silva noted the car's low roofline and unique styling.

In addition to being a study in pure-electric mobility, Volkswagen said, the e-Bugster is also a dynamic study in Bettle desigin. From the side, the E-Bugster's flat roof serves to frame the rest of the vehicles distinctive features.