The revived Volkswagen Samba may receive several powerplant options, including an electric one.
About a year ago, we spotted a Volkswagen badged e-Samba, possibly an electric version of the iconic Samba bus. At the same time, the German automaker registered several other iconic nameplates, including the e-Beetle, e-Karmann, e-Kubel, e-Golf Classic and e-Thing. We have assumed that VW settled on a naming scheme with a lowercase “e” and a hyphen, but a recent patent application proves otherwise.
On June 4, 2021, Volkswagen applied for the Samba name. Trademark registration “is intended to cover vehicle categories; engines for land vehicles “. Automakers often mention electric motors in their patent applications, so the lack of this terminology is intriguing.
VW has previously shown interest in bringing back the iconic Samba bus, so the brand didn’t take us by surprise. The ID.Buzz concept looked like a modern interpretation of the icon, based on the same MEB electric platform as the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4. The company even installed an electric motor in the original T1 Samba, calling it the e-BULLI concept. While the prospect of an all-electric van sounds very attractive and is an open market for VW, perhaps the company believes the Samba could return to the lineup.
The revived Samba, using one of VW’s turbocharged engines, could appeal to a slightly different market than the electric version. We’ll have to wait to see if anything comes out of this application. VW recently registered its Amarok pickup in the US, a model that has never been sold in that market. The Samba bus is an iconic car with a recognizable name, so if the brand decides to return it as an all-electric model, it is unlikely that the prefix “e” will be needed to attract attention.