Report

The Volkswagen Beetle Could Return As A Rear-Wheel Drive EV

Looks like the Volkswagen Beetle may not be ready to die just yet.

The future of the Volkswagen Beetle was looking bleak a while back. Love it or hate it, it's one of the most important cars in history, but the repercussions of the dieselgate scandal and declining sales of the current-generation model, which was first introduced back in 2011, meant that it was in danger of being killed off. Volkswagen is still planning to wrap up production of the current model, but according to a report by Autocar the beloved Beetle could get a new lease of life as VW is considering developing an all-electric rear-wheel drive successor.

It would share the same MEB platform as the automaker’s upcoming I.D. range. If the all-electric Beetle does happen, it will be a sister car to the retro-inspired electric Microbus based on the Buzz I.D. Concept, which VW is planning to launch by 2022. Plans have yet to be finalized, but if a new Beetle does get the green light it will almost certainly be electric. “The next decision on electric cars will be what kind of emotional concepts we need,” said Volkswagen chairman Herbert Diess. “If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive.”

This setup would mirror the original Beetle that launched in 1939 with a rear-mounted boxer engine and rear-wheel drive platform. It would also offer other advantages over the current front-engined and front-wheel-drive model, such as a front luggage compartment similar to the original. Diess also believes that the MEB (Modular Electric Baukasten) platform provides the perfect basis for “emotional concepts” like a new Beetle and Microbus. “We have a good chance on the electric side. You can do derivatives efficiently,” he said. “We have a very flexible platform. We can do nice things: rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive.”

The new electric Beetle would be one of many EVs that VW is planning to launch in the future, including production versions of the Bulli, Budd-e, and I.D. Buzz concepts. By 2025, VW is aiming to launch as many as 30 EVs.

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