The first “emotional” model will be the ID Buzz microbus (below). Inspired by the classic camper van, it is scheduled to arrive in 2022, before which VW will launch its more mainstream electric vehicles. In additionto the ID hatchback, there will be production versions of the ID Crozz SUV and ID Vizzion saloon, both previously seen as concepts, and a larger electric SUV is also due.
VW design boss Klaus Bischoff said the company must focus on producing the bigger-selling electric cars before making a decision on a Beetle EV and other models: “Our duty is to get the volume [ID] models under way. These cars have super-complicated technology and if you do too much, it’s an overload. Then we [can] move into more exotic cars and the field of emotion.”
On the possibility of a zero- emissions Beetle, Bischoff said the packaging advantages of the MEB platform could enable VW to broaden the appeal of the model by offering more space and comfort while retaining the iconic shape: “The Beetle of today is a very attractive two-door coupé or convertible, but it is limited in the amount of cars that it can sell because it’s a niche.
“If you look at MEB, the shortest wheelbase [possible] is the ID [hatchback]. If you took that and did the Beetle on it, you have plenty of room so there’s no compromise in functionality any more. So it could be a very attractive car.”
Bischoff confirmed that he has already made a sketch of how a four-door Beetle on the MEB platform might look, but added it would be two or three years before a decision to approve such a car for production would be taken.
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Although the Beetle EV would be derived from the ID hatchback’s underpinnings, Bischoff did not think there would be a danger of the two models competing for the same customers: “It has always been the culture at VW that there’s enough room for two or even three [in the same segment].”
Diess has dropped hints about an electric Beetle in the past: “If we wanted to do a Beetle EV, it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive.”
Referring to the MEB tool kit providing a perfect basis for ‘emotional’ concepts, Diess said: “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 or all- wheel drive.”
Diess, who was appointed boss of the entire VW Group earlier this year, described the group’s strategy as “the most far-reaching electrification initiative in the car industry”.