VW buggy is back -

but now it's

electric

Volkswagen e-buggy, 2019, front
Volkswagen e-buggy, 2019, detail
Meyers Manx buggy, 1970, front

IT was an icon of the hippy years and now the beach buggy is making a comeback with Volkswagen to reveal an electric variant at the Geneva Motor Show.

Many of the legendary dune buggies which became part of the Californian scene of the 1960s and 70s were based on the VW Beetle and the latest sits on the German car maker's modular electric drive matrix platform.

"A buggy is more than a car. It is vibrancy and energy on four wheels," said Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen's head designer.

"These attributes are embodied by the new e-buggy, which demonstrates how a modern, non-retro interpretation of a classic can look."

Like the original, the e-buggy has no fixed roof or conventional doors and comes with free-standing wheels with off-road tyres and open side sills.

The new MEB concept vehicle shows that VW's fully electric platform can be used for more than just large-scale series production models and like the Beetle chassis of yesteryear, the modular electric system can be used for low-volume niche series.

The history of recreational vehicles and Volkswagen is a long one: from the Beetle convertible and special bodies produced by companies such as Hebmuller and Rometsch to fully open designs of the kind embraced by the Meyers Manx buggy.

The Beetle chassis allowed for creative - and sometimes exclusive - custom solutions for decades and some 250,000 individual vehicles were built as one-offs or at low volumes through to the 1980s.

Volkswagen will take the wraps off the newcomer in Switzerland at the opening of this year's Geneva International Geneva Motor Show on March 7.

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