The Next-Generation VW Beetle Could Be A Rear-Drive EV

The next stage in the evolution of Volkswagen's iconic Beetle could see it return to the original's rear-wheel drive layout, only with an electric motor in place of an air-cooled gasoline engine.

What sounds like the stuff of wishful thinking and rampant speculation actually comes from the automaker's chairman himself, Herbert Diess, who told the UK's Autocar that VW is "actively considering" a plan that would see the next-gen Beetle built on a platform inspired by the ID Buzz concept revealed earlier this year in Detroit.

Volkswagen also floated the idea of a compact, rear-drive EV with the ID concept it showed in Paris in 2016.

While Diess was quick to point out a firm decision has yet been made, it's one of the items the company's board will vote on when it next convenes.

Electric vehicles are a big part of most automakers' plans for the coming years, but Diess said that Volkswagen needs to start thinking about EVs in terms of emotional concepts, a term he said applies to classic VW models like the Beetle and Microbus, along with the Kubelwagen/Thing and Buggy.

Diess said that VW's MEB modular electric vehicle platform lends itself to the more efficient deployment of "derivatives" because it would allow VW to do "nice things" like make cars with rear-, all- and front-wheel drive. He said the MEB platform is already lined up to provide underpinnings for 15 future EVs, including five to bear the VW logo.

Beetle, Juiced 11/10/2017 7:54:59 PM