Friday, October 27, 2017

It Can Be Any Thing: VW Looks at Back Catalog for EV Inspiration

By: Sebastien Bell
With the electric MEB platform essentially being a skateboard onto which Volkswagen can lay any body, designers in Wolfsburg are looking back through the ages for inspiration for the next EV concept. The latest contenders? The Thing and the dune buggy.
“We have so many emotional concepts,” Diess told Car and Driver recently. “I don’t know if you remember the Kübelwagen. This Thing is a nice car. Then there are all the buggies, the kit cars.”
Diess’s comments come on the heels of the wildly popular I.D. Buzz, which first debuted as a concept in Detroit early this year. As with many other modern Microbus concepts, opinion was divided as to whether or not it would ever become a reality. Its unexpected popularity meant that VW basically had no choice but to put it into production and at Monterey Car Week this summer, VW announced that the Buzz would go into production.

Now, it seems that VW has gotten a taste for nostalgia and hopes to create the Buzz’s buzz all over again. But rather than searching the back catalog for elegant coupes like the Karmann Ghia, VW has gone for more utilitarian cars.
“If we wanted to do a Beetle electrically, it would be much better than the current car,” said Diess. “[But] I think the Microbus is a much better emotional concept for the brand.”
So don’t expect to see an electric Beetle in the near future, though.
“We have so many exciting concepts in our history that we don’t have to do a Beetle,” Diess told Car and Driver. “The next decision on the electric cars will be, ‘What kind of emotional concepts do we need?’ [A decision] might happen next year. This Beetle won’t go electric; the next one might, if there is a next one. We have a good chance on the electric side to do derivatives and emotional derivatives.”
While an electric dune buggy makes a certain amount of sense–you don’t need to worry about filtering out dust, after all–we have to admit that even we’re a little mystified by the fact that the 181 was the first thing VW thought of, though ICON motors did prove that the idea works.

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