It’s back, and it’s electric – German carmaker Volkswagen is bringing back the dune buggy, a phenomenon of the swinging 60s with an open roof design, large, beach-friendly tyres that was more often than not built on a VW chassis.
Set to be unveiled at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show next month, VW’s new “e-buggy” recalls the funky curves of the original dune buggy styling created by American fibreglass sailboat maker Bruce Meyers in the iconic “Meyers Manx”.
Hailed as one of the most recognisable examples of 20th century industrial design, Meyers’ dune buggy consisted of a fibreglass shell with big curvy “hips” on a VW chassis that earned it its’ “buggy” moniker.
Volkswagen say they are bringing all that verve and vibe back with their revival of the dune buggy, and with it, a new all-electric powertrain that will be sure to add modern kudos.
With strip lighting down the side that accentuate its curvy legacy and distinctive headlight “eyes” that breathe life into the all-electric dune buggy (those old enough may be reminded of Herbie, the cheeky VW Beetle of movie fame), its clear VW are intent on creating another iconic vehicle to join its eclectic stable of 50 planned electric models.
“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,” Klaus Bischoff, VW’s head designer said in a statement.
The all-electric e-buggy will, of course, be built this time around on the modular MEB electric “skateboard” platform that VW is planning for all its new all-electric models, and which they say will make producing EVs that much cheaper.
Thanks to the MEB platform, VW says it will be possible to produce more low volume, niche models like the dune buggy, in the future.
The carmaker has not stated when and where it plans to make the all-electric dune buggy – for now it is only a concept – but if it were, it would more than likely target the dune buggy’s original playground, the USA, making it at the $US800 million Chattanooga, Tennessee EV factory it announced in January 2019.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.