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Car and Driver: New VW Microbus EV Concept Could Appear Next Month at CES

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Rumor has it that Volkswagen is getting ready to show an all-electric Microbus concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. That’s not terribly surprising in itself—VW has been playing with the idea of an all-new Bus for years, the most recent iteration being the Bulli concept, above, which was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2011.
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-But according to Autocar, next month’s Bus will be an all-electric concept car that gives a very close look at a production vehicle. And according to that publication, it’ll go on sale—in gasoline, diesel, and electric forms—in 2017.

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Volkswagen has been kicking around this idea for awhile. Back in April, Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, a product development boss at VW, told a group of journalists that an all-electric Bus, based on the automaker’s flexible, front-drive MQB platform, could be a priority in Volkswagen’s future.

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“We are actually thinking about how we can take all of the advantages of MQB and put it into a Microbus genetic code,” Neusser said in April. At that time, he described the key design elements: “First, the wide, solid D-pillar; second, the boxy design of the center section; and, thirdly, the front end must have a very short overhang—the distance from the A-pillar to the front end must be very short. Otherwise the hood is too long and it doesn’t look like a Microbus.”​

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In that conversation, Neusser also pointed out that an all-electric Bus would solve the packaging problems of trying to recreate the classic short-nose proportions on a front-wheel-drive platform. He also gave what could be a subtle hint that a new Microbus concept wouldn’t just be a design exercise: ​”I don’t [want] to show things we can’t [build],” he said​.

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And of course, given Volkswagen’s current woes with emissions-cheating scandals involving both diesel and gasoline-powered cars, the time is ripe for the automaker to show off an electric car concept that has no tailpipe.

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Autocar seems to think that the concept that will be shown next month will be very close to what a production model will look like. Further, the British outlet makes the even bolder claim that VW will put the new Bus into production in Mexico starting in 2017. We’re not so sure on that timeline—Neusser has explained in the past that an all-new Bus, if it happens, will debut alongside the third-generation new Beetle, and that car is slated for a 2018-ish return. Perhaps VW has shortened the schedule to try and get out from under its diesel scandal cloud.

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Update, 12/9/2015, 9:45AM: A Volkswagen spokesperson declined to comment on this rumor.

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This story originally appeared on roadandtrack.com.

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couldnt they make it a bit more curvier?

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