Electric VW Beetle Would Draw From Model’s Rear-Wheel-Drive Heritage

Volkswagen could use the powertrains of tomorrow to recreate the Beetle of yesteryear.

VW, much like Honda, is using “emotional concepts” to get people excited about its future electric vehicle offerings, and the Beetle could be the next model to get the retro treatment, according to Autocar.

Herbert Diess, VW’s chairman, said that the automaker is considering making an electric Beetle to slot in alongside the Microbus in its initial EV lineup. And if the plug-in Beetle is green-lighted, it likely will be very different from the current one.

“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,” Diess told Autocar.

The original VW Beetle — like its “cousin,” the Porsche 911 — was rear-engined and rear-wheel-drive, but when the moniker was revived in 2011, the car assumed a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. Given the dramatic size difference between electric motors and internal combustion engines, however, it would be easy for VW to return to the original formula.

“We have a good chance on the electric side,” Diess said. “You can do derivatives efficiently. We have a very flexible platform. We can do nice things: rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive.”

VW plans to use its Modular Electric Baukasten (MEB), which debuted on the ID Buzz microbus concept, as the basis for its EV range.

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