Volkswagen executives are mulling a plan to make the next-generation Beetle a rear-drive electric car in a bid to inject a bit of passion into its future battery-powered vehicle range.
That’s the word from VW chairman Herbert Diess, who told the U.K.‘s Autocar the company’s board will soon be voting on a plan to flip the Beetle around from its current front-mounted gas engine layout to an EV platform that puts an electric motor in the back.
We already knew VW had big plans to make electric vehicles a key part of its future vehicle lineup, but Diess says there must be a connection to the company’s history as it transitions to electric power.
“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.”
But Diess isn’t just talking about the Beetle: he also mentioned models like the Kubelwagen (aka the “Thing”) and the Microbus. The latter saw its spirit revived in the ID Buzz concept VW showed at the Detroit auto show in January 2017.
VW has already set a precedent for a RWD EV in the ID hatchback it revealed in Paris last year. That car was built on the MEB platform, a flexible electric vehicle architecture that Diess says can be adapted to “nice things” like rear-, front-, or all-wheel-drive, and has already been tapped to underpin as many as 15 new models.
No decision has been made on the Beetle’s future, electric or otherwise, but the issue is set to go to a vote at VW’s board of directors, who will decide on what shape the manufacturer’s EV plans will take.