Here we go again. Volkswagen, after deciding to pull the plug on the Beetle, has revealed that a ‘revolutionary’ successor is being considered, and that it will be a pure battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV). This certainly isn’t new, seeing that the company first mooted the idea in November 2017, but celebrations were cut short when R&D boss Frank Welsch said “two or three generations is enough now.”

Well, apparently not. The iconic Beetle and original people’s car could make a comeback as an EV, but it will probably take the form of a rear-wheel drive, four-door arrangement. According to Autocar, the new Beetle would be based on VW’s flexible electric vehicle architecture (MEB platform), which will underpin the company’s range of I.D. electric vehicles.

VW design boss Klaus Bischoff said the packaging advantages of the MEB platform could enable the company to broaden the appeal of the Beetle EV 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,” he explained.

The I.D. Buzz, a revival of the iconic Microbus, is an example of ’emotional’ concepts VW is pushing for

“If you look at MEB, the shortest wheelbase [possible] is the I.D. [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,” he added. Bischoff has already made a sketch of how a four-door Beetle on the MEB platform might look, but said it would be two or three years before a production decision can be approved.

Despite sharing the same underpinnings as the I.D. hatch, Bischoff doesn’t think it will cannibalise sales, especially when targeting the same customer base. “It has always been the culture at VW that there’s enough room for two or even three [models in the same segment].”

However, Bischoff said the firm must put emphasis on producing bigger-selling electric cars before deciding on a Beetle EV and other models. “Our duty is to get the volume [I.D.] 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,” he said. Aside from the aforementioned hatch, VW’s volume models also include a flagship sedan (I.D. Vizzion) and an SUV (I.D. Crozz) – former is due to arrive in 2022.

Volkswagen’s “volume” I.D. models, clockwise from left:
I.D. hatch, I.D. Crozz SUV, I.D. Vizzion sedan

Meanwhile, VW CEO and chairman Herbert Diess has dropped hints about an electric Beetle in the past, saying “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.”

In reference to the MEB for providing the perfect foundations 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.” The VW Group’s electrification strategy, according to Diess, is the most “far-reaching initiative in the car industry.”

An example of the ’emotional’ concept is the I.D. Buzz, which is a revival project of the iconic Microbus. It is slated to go into production in 2022. So, what do you think of a four-door pure electric Beetle, guys?