Next Volkswagen Beetle to be electric, rear-wheel drive?

Should reported plans for a next-generation Volkswagen Beetle pan out, the iconic car will see a major transformation. On Friday, Autocar reported VW is actively considering a rear-wheel-drive, all-electric Beetle.

The change would harken back to the original Beetle, which was rear-wheel drive with an engine placed in the rear. Per the report, if an electric Beetle comes to fruition, its powertrain will reside in the rear. The car would compliment the new Volkswagen Microbus, based on the ID Buzz Concept shown early this year at the Detroit auto show.

VW’s push for electric cars includes plans for “emotional” concepts to come, according to chairman¬†Herbert Diess. Diess previously alluded to a new electric Beetle when he commented on prospects of a reborn, all-electric Volkswagen Thing. The MEB platform, VW’s dedicated electric car architecture, seems poised to rebirth multiple iconic cars from the brand’s past. He was clear, though, that VW hasn’t made a decision surrounding a new Beetle. That will be for the company’s board to vote on when considering its upcoming range of electric cars. The executive notes MEB is an ally for “emotional concepts” thanks to its flexibility.

1960 Volkswagen Beetle from the Jerry Seinfeld collection - Image via Gooding & Company

1960 Volkswagen Beetle from the Jerry Seinfeld collection – Image via Gooding & Company

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“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, all-wheel drive,” he said.

Diess confirmed MEB will support 15 electric cars, with five of them slated for Volkswagen. The brand already confirmed the ID hatchback for Europe and it showed the ID Crozz Concept as a potential precursor to an all-electric crossover.

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