As we wave goodbye to the second generation of the “new” Volkswagen Beetle, a car that never quite reached the astronomical sales of the original car, we’re already getting indications that VW may be planning a revolutionary new electrified model that would return to its rear-wheel drive roots.
We were pretty upset to hear there were no solid plans to replace the charming VW Beetle back in March, but it sounds like that may already be changing. According to Autocar, the VW bosses are interested in bringing back the Beetle name as part of the upcoming ID family of electric cars, which includes the ID Buzz bus that’s due for production in 2020.
VW now has its MEB flexible EV architecture, which all of its electric concepts so far has been based on, which means the company can develop multiple new models on one platform for much less cost.
The MEB platform does have its limits though, according to VW design head Klaus Bischoff speaking to Autocar:
“If you look at MEB, the shortest wheelbase [possible] is the ID [hatchback]. If you took that and did the Beetle on it, you have plenty of room so there’s no compromise in functionality any more. So it could be a very attractive car.”
Bischoff confirmed that he has already made a sketch of how a four-door Beetle on the MEB platform might look, but added it would be two or three years before a decision to approve such a car for production would be taken.
Although the Beetle EV would be derived from the ID hatchback’s underpinnings, Bischoff did not think there would be a danger of the two models competing for the same customers: “It has always been the culture at VW that there’s enough room for two or even three [in the same segment].”
VW boss Herbert Diess had also suggested in the past that electrifying the Beetle could mean a return to its rear-wheel drive roots. Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt, because VW still has a lot of other electric cars to get out of the gate before it even thinks about bringing back the Beetle.
Bischoff said it would be at least two or three years before the company would make a decision on the Beetle, but the brand is looking for its electric vehicles to be “emotional,” and they only time I’ve ever seen Jason Torchinsky emotional is when he talks about Beetles.