Will the Microbus finally be succeeded?
The Volkswagen Budd-E concept, the third Microbus-inspired concept car seeking to bring the classic people-mover shape back, might just make series production, as rumours circulate about a possible production model utilising electric propulsion.
As the German marque pushes forward with its electrification plans, Autocar reports that the Microbus is one of several variants that may spawn from the flexible MEB electric platform that was unveiled with the ID concept car at the 2016 Paris motor show. This coincides with Volkswagen’s intentions to bring no less than 5 new electric vehicles to market by 2020.
The MEB platform, which utilises liquid-cooled lithium-ion batteries housed in the floorplan, allows for a completely flat floor that can be stretched or shortened, based on application. When compared to the ID, the platform will be longer and wider than the rated wheelbase and track of the ID hatchback.
MEB was engineered in conjunction with Audi and Porsche under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, and has also seen application in the e-tron quattro SUV and Mission E saloon concepts, which further underlines the adaptability of the architecture. The Microbus, should it make production this time around, benefit from the same space-saving drivetrain layout as the ID hatch, with a single electric motor squeezed in at the back, and accommodating the power electronics package up front.
Just like the ID, the Microbus should be offered as rear-wheel drive, though there’s some mention of an electric driveshaft of sorts, which can power the front wheels. If the production ‘new Microbus’ makes production, it’ll be able to draw a direct connection to its namesake: The original Microbus had an air-cooled engine at the rear, sending power to the rear axle, too. At present, the range that’s being bandied about by the Microbus’ drivetrain ought to be about 500km.
We would, very much, like to see the Budd-E go into production, revolutionary drivetrain or not. If anything, just to mend the hearts broken by the consistent cancellation of every possible Microbus-successor before it.