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Volkswagen could bring back the Beach Buggy as an electric car

Wednesday, 16th January, 2019 4:44pm

Volkswagen looks set to use its new electric car technology to trigger a retro revival in the brand’s styling.

2019 will be a big year for Volkswagen, as it gears up production of the ID hatchback, its first standalone, all-electric model.

The ID is roughly Golf-sized, but apparently has the interior space of a Passat — as good an indication as any of the space-saving nature of electric propulsion. VW has also claimed that it will have a one-charge range of close to 500km, and a price tag to compete with a conventional diesel Golf.

We already know that the ID will spinoff an entire family of electric cars — the ID Crozz crossover (roughly Tiguan sized), the Vizzion luxury saloon (a Phaeton replacement) and the Buzz MPV.

It’s the Buzz that could start the real revolution at VW, though. The Buzz’s concept version sported styling that was an unashamedly retro throwback to the Type 2 Volkswagen Kombi van, and the public reaction was huge. VW later unveiled a commercial version, which could eventually form a replacement for the current T6 Transporter van.

The reaction to the Buzz’s styling, though, seems to have given VW something of a push towards more retro electric creations. Tears were shed, late last year, when it was announced that the current Golf-based Beetle would be ending production, bringing down a curtain on an unbroken run of VW Beetle production since 1945.

Those tears may have been premature — rumour has it (and it’s a rumour that VW executives have stoked by talking up the possibility) of an ID-based electric hatchback that will heavily reference the original Beetle in its styling.

Not only that, but the packaging advantages of the electric powertrain mean that it could, potentially, be rear-engined and rear-wheel drive, just like the Type 1 original.

VW has even begun re-patenting the old ‘Type’ badging system in anticipation of the new model.

The company may go one further. VW’s official Christmas card for 2018 showed Santa himself at the wheel of a distinctive design, one that was an unmistakable reference to the original VW-powered Beach Buggy.

The original Buggy, technically known as the Meyers Manx, was created in 1965 by Californian designer Bruce Meyers. It was a simple fibreglass monocoque, to which VW Beetle engine and suspension could be bolted.

VW is apparently working on an ID-based modern-day Buggy, which could make a world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. VW previously showed off a Buggy concept, based on the Up hatchback, but that never made it through to production.

The future for the new electric Buggy is thought to be rather more robust, as Volkswagen looks to generate maximum publicity for its new electric car lineup.

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