It should be worth the wait.
We spotted Volkswagen trademarking the name "e-Samba," possibly for an electric version of its iconic Samba bus, around this time last year. The German automaker trademarked several other iconic nameplates, including e-Beetle, e-Karmann, e-Kubel, e-Golf Classic, and e-Thing. We assumed VW had settled on a naming scheme with a lower case "e" plus a hyphen, but a recent trademark with the USPTO may prove otherwise.
VW filed for the name "Samba" on June 4, 2021. The trademark registration is "intended to cover the categories of automobiles; engines for land vehicles." Automakers often mention electric propulsion in their trademark applications, so the absence of this terminology is intriguing. The revived Samba may include more than one drivetrain option.
VW previously expressed interest in bringing back the iconic Samba bus, so this trademark didn't take us by surprise. The ID.Buzz concept looked like a modern interpretation of the icon, riding on the same electric MEB platform used by the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4. The company even implanted an electric drivetrain into an original T1 Samba bus, dubbing it the e-BULLI Concept (pictured below). While the prospect of an all-electric van sounds highly appealing and an open market for VW to create, perhaps the company believes there is also room for a gas-powered Samba to return to the lineup.
A revived Samba using one of VW's turbocharged gas engines could appeal to a different market than the electric version. We will wait to see if anything comes of this trademark application, as VW has been on a bit of a spree lately with protecting its nameplates in the US. VW recently trademarked its Amarok pickup truck, a model that has never been sold in the US market. The Samba bus is an iconic vehicle with a recognizable name, so if VW chooses to bring it back as an all-electric model, we don't think the "e" prefix is necessary to garner attention.