Next Volkswagen Beetle could be all-electric and rear-wheel drive

VW's board will weigh a plan to update the Beetle.

Volkswagen's board of directors will consider plans for an electric, rear-wheel-drive version of its current Beetle as a sister model to the production version of its battery-powered ID Buzz microbus concept and part of the automaker's plans for its initial wave of electric cars.

Board Chairman Herbert Diess told Autocar that the successor to the third-generation Beetle could be based on VW's modular electric MEB platform. Volkswagen is aiming to introduce 30 new electric vehicles within a decade.

"If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today's model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel-drive," Diess told Autocar. VW's original, iconic "Bug" version of the Beetle featured a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration when it launched in 1938. The current iteration, which resurrected the Beetle nameplate in 1997, is a more tradition front-mounted engine delivering power to the front wheels. It's also based on the same platform as the Golf.

Diess has also hinted recently at an all-electric Type 181, better known in the U.S. as the Thing. He told Autocar the MEB platform will support up to 15 new electric-powered models, five of which will be sold under the VW badge.

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