Volkswagen seems to be hell-bent on dwelling on the past. Consider that the German automaker continues to offer a retro-style Beetle that doesn’t sell particularly well, not to mention that the Golf and Scirocco nameplates are staying alive even after all these decades.
And then, there’s the idea of a reborn Volkswagen Microbus that the carmaker keeps flirting with, reminiscent of the company’s first-generation Transporter/Microbus from the mid- to late-1900s. A Volkswagen Microbus concept car showed itself in 2001, intended for a 2003 production start, before those plans were canned. Later, a similar “Bulli” concept was shown in 2011.
Now, as Motor Trend reports, the manufacturer continues to ponder the role of so-called “lifestyle vehicles,” and is still toying with the idea of building a modern Volkswagen Microbus. The issue, says Volkswagen Board of Management Member Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, is in stylistically recalling the original Volkswagen Microbus with its short nose, without resorting to the same rear-engined layout.
As Dr. Neusser told Motor Trend: “That makes it hard, because this technical architecture of the Microbus with its rear engine is not anymore fitted to what we are doing with our mainstream architecture where we have the greatest flexibility of different powertrains.” Not to mention, a modern, rear-engined Microbus might not sell so well to generations of consumers acclimated primarily to front-engined cars.
He continued: “So we are actually thinking about how we can take all of the advantages of MQB and put it into a Microbus genetic code. Maybe it makes sense to think about a battery-electric car which doesn’t have the need to put all that space in front of the A-pillar because all you need is a small space for an electric motor in front, or perhaps you put it in the rear… On the other hand we are also thinking about long-range battery-electric vehicles with more battery space inside, and [Microbus] also gives us that possibility since you sit up high.”
Regardless of whether a Volkswagen Microbus EV does ever make it into production, Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser insists we’ll only ever hear of it again if such a thing is indeed market-bound.