A few weeks ago, the folks at electric VW forum VW ID Talk discovered that the German automaker trademarked the name "e-Samba" with the European Union Intellectual Property office. That same forum has now found a few other names based on classic Volkswagens. Each of the names follow the same pattern as e-Samba, adding a lowercase "e" prefix to a classic car name. Most intriguing is that one of the trademarked names is "e-Beetle."
It would be easy to jump to conclusions that VW is planning a line of vintage vehicle revivals that are electric, but there are many reasons automakers trademark names. Sometimes it's just to reserve a name in the off chance it decides to use one. It could be to prevent another company from obtaining it for their own product or to sell it back to VW for a profit. Obviously it could also be for a new car altogether, one that could be a nice complement to the upcoming ID.Buzz, possibly called e-Samba. Though another possibility is that VW is planning a line of electric powertrains to be sold for conversions to vintage cars. After all, the company previously showed an electric Beetle conversion called e-Beetle or "e-Kafer" for the German name (pictured above).
Then there's the names themselves, which also seem to support the idea that this could be for a line of conversion powertrains. One of them is the "e-Golf Classic," and it would seem strange to highlight "classic" in a modern electric Golf. The "e-Karmann" is another one that would be cool to see as a reimagined electric car, but probably doesn't have the broad appeal of a Beetle or Bus to merit a modern car.
We've also separated the fourth name because it seems like a bad idea to even trademark: "e-Kübel." While "kubel" has other uses in German, when used in reference to a Volkswagen, it's intrinsically tied to the Kübelwagen military truck built by VW for the Nazi armed forces in World War II. Even as a possible name for a historic EV conversion, this seems like a name VW shouldn't worry about maintaining a trademark for. We'd suggest trademarking something like "e-Kurier" to reference the German name of the Thing, or even "e-Thing" for some sort of Jeep-like EV. No, wait, "Thing-e!"
Whether or not these trademarks will be used for new models, revamped old cars or nothing at all, it is an interesting look into VW's ideas for its electric future. It certainly seems the company has an eye on unique EVs, which we're glad to see.