Earlier today, we told you about Volkswagen’s new concept car, the ID.2all, which is intended to become, in its production-car form, a cheap ($26,000 or so) small and usable electric hatchback – a modern EV equivalent of the famous Golf/Rabbit (At least back when it was a genuinely affordable car). There’s one detail we didn’t mention, but that has been mentioned online, and absolutely should be, because it’s great. It has to do with a company finally just having some fun with the possibilities offered by a digital dashboard, and also demonstrating the one reasonable excuse to have a skeuomorphic LCD instrument cluster: goofiness.
What VW showed on its concept was the ability to switch the instrument display and center stack display clusters between three different modes, which you can see here:
As you can see, you can pick between the boring-slick modern mode, which had rendered models of the car and delicate gradients, or “Classic Käfer Era” which is German for Beetle Era, and then “Retro Mode Golf Era.” So, we’re talking, really: modernity, late 60s to early 70s, and ’80s-era.
You can see the modes being selected a bit here; note that on the center selecting knob, the VW logo changes to the Wolfsburg Crest (you know, the castle with the dog on it) when it’s in Käfer mode:
Here’s what the Käfer mode looks like, along with the Beetle dashboard era I think it’s closest to referencing:
Based on the simple typography and the black radio grille surrounding the lone dash gauge, this feels like an early ’70s Beetle dash. The inclusion of the Wolfsburg crest there makes me think it’s after the speedo numbers simplified to the clean san-serif font from the more stylized font (1970) but before VW moved to the new steering wheel with a less-prominent Wolfsburg crest at the center (1972). I love seeing that old-school radio grille rendered there, it’s unexpected and fun.
This one also has a fun center stack infotainment display with a cassette player animation and some kind of bulletin board thing:
These are fun! You can literally make an LCD dash display look like anything you want, so why not have some nostalgic fun with it? I’m delighted to see VW doing this. I do, however, have one question: what did the company do about the dashboard turn indicator light?
Look, see the glowing green LED in the lower image above? If that corresponds to the green LED in the traditional instrument cluster of ’80s VWs (shown in the upper right image), then that would be the turn indicator lamp, which you will note has two arrows above it. That’s because, ever since the Beetle and pretty much every car VW made until, what, the late 1980,? VW insisted that one inside turn signal indicator was enough.
I mean, you know which way you pushed that lever, why should the car have to show you left and right arrows? One blinking light is plenty, I mean, what are you an Emperor? King of the world, over here, with two separate dash cluster turn indicator lamps? Come on.
So, what I want to know is did VW, when faced with an LCD screen that can display anything at all, choose to emulate the ridiculous, penny-pinching one indicator lamp, or did the company give in to decadence, and program in individual left and right indicator dash lights?
Oh, and since we’re asking questions, what’s this?
There’s a turtle on there? Is that a reference to a Gordon-Keeble? Or is it like one of the speed controls on a riding mower with the tortoise and hare?
I’d love answers to these questions, and I’ll reach out to VW, because so far the materials for the ID.2all don’t explain jack about these important issues.
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