New Volkswagen Beetle Will Be Electric and Rear-Wheel Drive

A next-generation, rear-drive, EV punch buggy would sit on Volkswagen's MEB platform.

Daniel Byrne

Despite rumors of its discontinuation earlier this year, a new report suggests that the Volkswagen Beetle may be back for another generation. 

Speaking to Autocar, VW chairman Herbert Diess says the company is indeed considering a new, volt-powered Beetle. Sitting on the brand's electric MEB platform, the next-generation punch buggy would also apparently be rear-wheel drive, harking back to the original, rear-engine, rear-drive layout seen in the original People's Car in 1939. It'll also be closely related to the I.D. Buzz Microbus resurrection scheduled for 2022.

"The next decision on electric cars will be what kind of emotional concepts we need," says Diess. He goes on to define "emotional concepts" as cars such as the Microbus, Kübelwagen, and of course, Beetle—unconventional vehicles that bear strong historical significance to the brand. "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," adds Diess.

The original, WWII-era Beetle used a rear-mounted boxer-four and sent power exclusively to the back wheels. The Volkswagen bug's 21st-century incarnations, however, have all been front-engined, front-drive affairs so far. 

While nothing is yet to be set in stone for the next Beetle, Diess says that the electric MEB platform is extremely flexible, suiting the needs for any potential "emotional concepts" well. "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."

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