VW Mulling Electric Convertible, Report Says

·3 min read
Photo credit: VW
Photo credit: VW
  • Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess mentioned a possible electric cabrio, months after the automaker invites comments on an ID.3 cabrio sketch, Automobilwoche reports.

  • The automaker is considering a number of new segments for its MEB platform, and has previewed some in concept form, including a sedan and a wagon.

  • In 2019, VW had revealed the ID. Buggy concept, showcasing the potential of its MEB electric platform for a variety of vehicle bodies.

Earlier this year Volkswagen revealed a sketch of a VW ID.3 convertible, inviting comments on such a possible model. The automaker sought to gauge reaction to what would be a relatively easy variant to construct, provided there was enough customer interest and actual market demand for such a variant now that the ID.3 has been in production in Zwickau, Germany.

"What if? An ID.3 convertible would be really appealing—enjoy nature electrically with roof open," VW said earlier this year. "We are still thinking about how such a concept could become a reality. Our design already has initial ideas."

This week VW CEO Herbert Diess has reignited talk of an electric convertible during a discussion with employees at the Osnabrück, Germany, plant, Automobilwoche reports.

"The next option must of course be an electric convertible. There are considerations at Volkswagen, there are considerations at Audi," Diess said, according to Automobilwoche.

The Osnabrück plant is not currently outfitted for MEB platform manufacturing, with most MEB vehicles being built in Zwickau, Germany. But Osnabrück does build the convertible version of the T-Roc, as Automobilche notes, and could produce the hardware for convertible versions of other models.

The current Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback has been seen as a natural starting point for a cabriolet for a couple of years now, in the same way that the Golf platform spawned a cabrio. But Volkswagen has also shown a doorless SUV convertible in the recent past, also imagined with MEB underpinnings, dubbed the ID. Buggy concept.

Photo credit: VW
Photo credit: VW

"The ID. Buggy demonstrates the broad spectrum of emission-free mobility that can be achieved with the MEB within the Volkswagen brand. But we want to open up the platform for third-party suppliers," Ralf Brandstätter, COO of the Volkswagen brand, said during the Buggy's debut in Geneva in 2019.

Of course, while the ID. Buggy concept as it sits is suited to a somewhat narrow audience, one with (ideally) some access to a beach or at least some sand dunes, an ID.3-based cabriolet would be aimed at a wider potential audience.

Perhaps a more likely candidate for a cabriolet version could be the ID.5.

The decision over a potential electric convertible in the next five years may well come down to just how easily VW will be able to adapt one of its existing MEB platform models—and how big of an audience it believes is out there for such a vehicle. At the moment VW is being pulled in many different segments when it comes to battery-electric models, and it has to aim new models at the most promising segments before it can afford to specialize in some narrower offerings. It's also not lost on Wolfsburg that convertible offerings have retreated quite considerably over the past decade, and that there is close to zero demand for them in China outside of some high-end luxury models. These are just a couple of the reasons why there are currently so few affordable cabriolets on the market globally, and why they are appearing on crossovers more often.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned