Volkswagen’s iconic Beetle could return as a modern electric car, joining the ranks of the VW Microbus (VW Bulli). After years of on and off rumors about a VW Beetle EV, evidence suggesting internal discussion on the Beetle EV surfaced just days ago. With the New Auto strategy in place, an electric Beetle seems more realistic than ever this decade.
Developing new models as EVs from the outset offers flexibility on the design, more so than traditional ICE vehicles or derivative EVs, and they are cheaper to manufacture. Volkswagen Group sees it as an opportunity and plans to launch ’emotional’ offbeat EVs. The plan includes leveraging the brand’s heritage by reviving classic models and launching the 1950s VW Bus-inspired ID. Buzz is the first step. This is a luxury that, for instance, a startup company cannot afford.
Volkswagen Group CEO Dr. Herbert Diess has been exploring the possibility of reviving legacy models as EVs to join the company’s electric mobility plans. Recently, Dr. Diess fielded questions from Weibo users, one of whom asked how the company responds to so many customer expectations, like an electric Beetle launch and cinema/camping mode in VW ID. models, for instance. In response, he confirmed that the company is thinking about the Beetle EV and was looking forward to suggestions from China of what the company should do.
I’m really excited about another product which is not as famous in China, which is the (ID.) BUZZ. And after launching this, we have probably better experience how we can bring our this emotional, traditional world of Volkswagen into the EV sector. And then it would be easy to also do other emotional (models). We have been thinking about Beetle, yes. We have been thinking about Dune buggies, or some other emotional cars in our history. That would be possible, and I would look forward to suggestions from China what we should do. You know, it can be done. If we have big enough followership, we would be also prepared to do something special for China.Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group
Once as the mainstay of the Volkswagen brand, the Beetle made a comeback as a neo-retro model in 1998, but it handed over the baton to the Golf again in July 2019 when production ended for the second time. In a few years, the iconic Bug could be reinstated in the lineup, sporting high-tech features and battery, but with the signature shape that is an emotion.
Between now and 2026, Volkswagen Group will invest around EUR 52 billion into developing and producing new EV models. At least for the Volkswagen brand, neo-retro EVs could evoke a lot of excitement among customers. The success of the VW ID. Buzz could hold weightage in the decisions about launching more classic models with electric propulsion. In a positive case, we see a VW Beetle EV arriving in showrooms only after the SSP platform is ready for commercialization, which will happen in 2026.
VW SSP platform could support the ID.Beetle/ID.Bug
Succeeding MQB, MSB, MLB, as well as MEB and PPE hardware platforms, SSP is a mechatronics platform. It will form the basis for models across segments, from entry-level to the top of the range. The super-platform will underpin every Volkswagen Group car with outputs ranging from 85 to 850 kW. Volkswagen Group is planning four versions: SSP 1, SSP 2, SSP 3, and SSP n.
If launched, the VW Beetle EV, possibly called VW ID. Bug ideally should go to the Volkswagen Puebla plant, which has an illustrious history with the car. The Mexican factory was the production center of the VW Beetle for the world market, and according to a report from The Detroit Bureau, it will make the VW ID. Buzz for North America in the future.
Featured Image Source: Volkswagen Group