Volkswagen, which has already announced that it plans to revive its much-beloved microbus in the form of the battery-electric I.D. Buzz, may now have its sights on bringing another iconic nameplate into the electrified future: the Kübelwagen, the German military Jeep-like convertible better known on this side of the pond as the Thing.
In an interview with Car and Driver, Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess says he thinks the Kübelwagen is a good fit for the company's Modular Electrification Toolkit battery-electric architecture, and that platform could be perfect for reviving other favorites from the brand's past, including a dune buggy.
Volkswagen is using a common modular chassis called MEB for forthcoming production electric vehicles such as the I.D. Buzz microbus and I.D. Crozz crossover. The company is aiming to put 30 new electric vehicles on the road within a decade as it tries to move past the dieselgate scandal. But Diess said there's been "no decision yet" about replacing the current Beetle, another classic VW nameplate.
"MEB is flexible — rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive — and we have so many emotional concepts," Diess told C&D. "I don't know if you remember the Kübelwagen. This Thing is a nice car. Then there are all the buggies, the kit cars. We have the bus. We have the various derivatives of the bus. We have so many exciting concepts in our history that we don't have to do a Beetle."
Volkswagen built two versions of the Thing — the Type 82, designed by Ferndinand Porsche for use in World War II, and the Type 181, a two-wheel-drive four-door built for the West German Army from 1968 to 1983.