Can’t wait for summer? Neither can Volkswagen’s electric dune buggy

Volkswagen looks set to resurrect the emblematic Meyers Manx beach buggy as an electric vehicle. Confirming an earlier rumor, the company has released a pair of teaser sketches that give us an early glimpse at a yet-unnamed concept car scheduled to make its debut during the 2019 Geneva auto show.

The design study takes the form of a battery-powered, two-seater dune buggy that channels the spirit of the original, Beetle-based Manx sold between 1964 and 1971. It’s built on the MEB (modular electrification toolkit) platform, though technical details haven’t been published yet. Volkswagen won’t fully reveal the buggy until the start of the Geneva show, but we can tell from the sketches that it’s not merely a retro-styled recreation of the Manx. It stands out with a look and a personality of its own.

“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, non-retro interpretation of a classic can look and, more than anything else, the emotional bond that electric mobility can create,” said Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen’s head designer.

While Volkswagen will present the buggy as a concept car, British magazine Autocar learned that turning it into a production model is under “active consideration.” If built, it would showcase the MEB platform’s unusually high level of flexibility. Volkswagen has also used the architecture as the basis for a Golf-sized hatchback, a Microbus-inspired van, an SUV, and a sleek-looking sedan. All of these vehicles have been previewed by concept cars over the past two years.

It sounds like we haven’t seen everything the MEB platform is capable of underpinning yet. Decision-makers reportedly envision the buggy as one of three heritage-inspired additions to Volkswagen’s ID-badged lineup of electric cars. It will join the production version of the retro ID Buzz concept from 2017, which has already been confirmed for production, and Autocar reports the third model will arrive as a four-door interpretation of the timeless Beetle, which is scheduled to retire for the third time in 2019.

We expect to learn more about Volkswagen’s next concept car in the coming weeks.

Updated on January 31, 2019: Added new photos, details about Volkswagen’s concept.

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