New Cars

VW brings back the dune buggy as an electric concept

Volkswagen is giving the world an early glimpse of a dune buggy concept that will make its official debut at the Geneva motor show in a matter of weeks. And just like most VW concepts for the last few years, this one is electric.

Taking its cues from VW-based dune buggies from 1960s California, Volkswagen’s version is doorless and features contoured fenders wrapped around a lifted body with large wheels and tires optimized for sand surfaces. Short overhangs front and back, as well as a roll bar, complete the look, with the buggy using the MEB electric platform that will underpin most ID range electric vehicles landing in the U.S. starting next year.

“A buggy is more than a car. It is vibrancy and energy on four wheels. These attributes are embodied by the new e-buggy, which demonstrates how a modern, nonretro interpretation of a classic can look and, more than anything else, the emotional bond that electric mobility can create,” said Klaus Bischoff, head designer at Volkswagen.

Volkswagen wants to demonstrate the flexibility of the MEB platform that will be used for a large variety of upcoming electric models, but we wouldn’t bet money on the dune buggy being among the first EVs to come stateside — this appears to be purely a design exercise that showcases Wolfsburg’s electric platform and the MEB platform’s suitability to low-volume cars.

While the VW ID Buzz is still almost four years away from production, designers inside Volkswagen have several model variations of it on the drawing boards.At a recent VW dinner that was part of the .

“The new MEB concept vehicle shows that this fully electric platform can be used for more than just large-scale series production models,” Volkswagen said. “Like the Beetle chassis of yesteryear, the MEB has the potential to facilitate the development of low-volume niche vehicles.”

Will we actually see such small-volume vehicles based on the MEB platform, given how Volkswagen likes to make everything in large numbers? It’s hard to tell, but at the moment the automaker is sketching out possible variants of the Microbus-styled Buzz, which has already been greenlit for production, including campers, two- and four-door pickups and other versions. In addition, Volkswagen has made noises about bringing back the Beetle itself as an electric car — this will be easy enough to do given the fact that small hatchbacks are already in the pipeline.

We may not see an actual dune buggy roll out of Zwickau or Chattanooga, but we may just see a Beetle.