The VW beach buggy rides again! It’s all-new, all-electric, has no doors and no roof, and comes from Volkswagen – which says it is actively considering making it as a retro-inspired niche offering within its coming new ID electric car family.
The classic beach, or dune, buggy kit cars from the 1960s through to the ‘80s epitomised a free and easy Southern Californian lifestyle and have long been held up as one of motoring’s most indulgent but readily accessible pleasures. VW’s revived offering, to have its world debut as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show on 5th March, sticks with the same simple formula but brought bang up to date.
Instead of Beetle underpinnings like the originals the new buggy sits on the “modular electric drive matrix” or MEB, the less-than-catchily named new platform that will underpin VW’s family of new battery-electric cars that kicks off with the ID hatchback later this year.
With huge wheels and off-road tyres, motors likely back and front for all-wheel-drive and a slab of batteries under the floor for a low centre of gravity, the reborn buggy should offer the kind of point-and-squirt handing thrills on all surfaces – including sandy beaches – that the original is famous for.
VW says it’s a “non-retro” interpretation and it is true there are plenty of modern touches, like the green-hued light strip and round LED headlights. But the big wheels, standalone windscreen, rollover hoop and bodywork all convincingly capture that classic beach buggy.
From these first images at least, we love it, as does VW’s head designer Klaus Bischoff: “A buggy is more than a car. It is vibrancy and energy on four wheels.” Hear hear.
Will VW build it? Well it does have a need to lighten up right now, especially in the US, and it does have soft spot for heritage, as shown by the long-awaited arrival of a modern Microbus in the form of the ID Buzz electric van. That’s a niche vehicle for sure, and the ID Beach Buggy would be more niche still, but wouldn’t they look good together in the showrooms?
The important point is that the MEB platform is flexible enough to make it all possible. VW says the new concept shows that its electric platform “can be used for more than just large-scale series production models. Like the Beetle chassis of yesteryear, the modular electric drive matrix has the potential to facilitate the development of low-volume niche series.”
Bring it on we say. If you are going to be all-electric you might as well be all-electric with the sun on your back, carving out wild figures of eight in the sand and surf…