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Could the Volkswagen Beetle Make an All-Electric Comeback?

| Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Daniel Rufiange
Bringing back the Beetle as an EV is certainly intriguing, but it's easier said than done

Asked to name iconic models that have marked Volkswagen's history, most would probably answer one or both of the Beetle and the Microbus.

In 2019, we said goodbye officially to the modern version of the Beetle, the original having bowed out in 2003 after more than 21 million units produced over several decades. At the time, it seemed as if the name was gone forever. VW made it clear that it was moving on, plain and simple.

Not that everyone was convinced, of course. Like many others, we speculated that forever might not actually mean forever, especially if one day bright minds at the automaker decided it would be a great idea to bring back the Beetle as a BEV.  

Now, to be clear, Volkswagen in early 2022 hasn't confirmed it is mulling anything of the kind. But Motor 1 did report this week that could raise hopes among fans of the Beetle.

Specifically, a statement from Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess made during a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session got a lot of attention.

Responding to a question about the possible return of the Beetle, he said this:

“Our most emotional car in our history is definitely the microbus. This was my first priority to bring this icon back to life. But yes, many other emotional cars are possible on our scalable MEB platform.”

- Herbert Diess, Volkswagen CEO, 100% online, shop for your next car, buy online and get it delivered to you anywhere in Quebec!

Volkswagen Beetle 2019
Volkswagen Beetle 2019 | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Read that correctly and you understand Diess is not confirming anything, about any particular model. But in contrast with the spirit of resignation that prevailed in 2019 at the event we attended at the Mexican plant where the Beetle was assembled, his words do leave a door open to the model's rebirth.

While the idea of bringing back the Beetle in electric form sounds great and somehow natural, things aren't that simple. A look at the automotive landscape tells us that the car format in general has lost a lot of market share. The Beetle is a small coupe, not exactly the flavour of the month in the industry.

On the other hand, the return of an electric Beetle with new styling could have the opposite effect and lead to a trends-be-damned craze - much like the … buzz…  surrounding the ID.Buzz.

We’re not holding our breath here, but we’re dismissing the possibility of a Beetle EV out of hand either. Diess’ comment makes it clear there have at least been discussions within the walls of Volkswagen HQ…

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists