Now all that's left is to sign off on the program.
Not long ago we learned the Volkswagen Beetle was living on borrowed time. The current generation, that is. Volkswagen doesn’t appear to be finished with the iconic nameplate just yet. According to Autocar, VW is considering a plan to turn the two-door coupe and convertible Beetle into a four-door battery-powered electric car. Interestingly, the report further adds it’s possible this EV Beetle sedan will return to its rear-wheel drive origins.
If VW proceeds with the plan, then the Beetle EV will surely be built on the brand’s flexible electric vehicle architecture that will underpin the upcoming ID models, the first of which, a hatchback, is due next year. VW’s new CEO, Herbert Diess, understands the importance of building “emotional” cars, specifically EVs. Because of this, a production version of the ID Buzz microbus, a modern day version of the iconic minibus, is slated to debut in 2022. Will an ID Beetle be next? It’s possible but a decision won’t be made until the initial ID model lineup launch gets underway. VW will then evaluate the sales and overall situation at that time. “Our duty is to get the volume (ID) models underway,” said VW design chief Klaus Bischoff.
“These cars have super-complicated technology and if you do too much, it’s an overload. Then we (can) move into the more exotic cars and the field of emotion.” But why would VW turn the Beetle into a sedan, even if it goes all-electric? According to Bischoff, “The Beetle of today is a very attractive two-door coupe or convertible, but it is limited in the amount of cars that it can sell because it’s a niche.” Furthermore, the MEB platform, which will serve as the basis for the ID hatchback, could easily accommodate a Beetle sedan. “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.” Some early sketches of an MEB-based four-door Beetle have already been done at VW as well. Another advantage of the MEB platform is the ability to do RWD. VW CEO Diess previously stated that, in regards to “emotional” EVs, “We have a good chance on the electric side. You can do derivatives efficiently. We have a very flexible platform. We can do nice things: rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive or all- wheel drive.” The current generation Beetle is slated to end production very soon, but it could make a triumphant return as a reborn EV in the not too distant future.