Just thing, VW will have an entire fleet of retro-styled EVS

The Volkswagen ID.4 launches for the 2022 model year, and it will look like a modern-day vehicle, albeit with some minor EV twists here and there. But, it is riding on VW’s MEB architecture, which is, essentially, set to be passed around the company like a dirty diaper and used to underpin an entire fleet of models. We’re talking about small hatchbacks, midsize crossovers, and even large vans, so it’s a very versatile platform. Following the ID.4, the MEB structure will underpin the retro-styled ID.Buzz and ID.Cargo, retro-styled vans. Now, it looks like the Buzz and Cargo might not be so lonely, thanks to VW’s new trademark filing for the name “E-Thing.” Can you feel the retro vibe yet?

Enter the Modern-Day Electric VW Type 181 aka The Thing

2019 Volkswagen I.D. BUGGY Concept
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If you’re not aware of what the VW Thing or Type 181 is, it was a civilian-spec version of the WWII-era Kubelwagen – a model that saw its fair share of battle.

Here in the U.S., it was marketed as “the Thing,” while Germany knew it as the Kurierwagen, the U.K. knew it as the “Trekker,” and Mexican’s knew it as the “Safari.” The Type 181, in a general sense, was basically a Volkswagen Jeep. It featured a convertible roof and removable doors. It wasn’t exactly the safest vehicle on the road, and I doubt you’d do a lot of rock climbing, but hey man, it’s the Thing, ya know?

Volkswagen Trademarks “E-Thing” As It Moves to Retro-Electrify Its Range
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From 1968 to 1983, VW produced more than 90,000 examples of the Type 181, and now it looks like the company is hoping to expand its retro electric fleet by adding the Thing into the mix. The trademark, which is listed as “e-Thing,” goes along with an older list of trademark filings that included the e-Beetle, e-Karmann, e-Kubel, and e-Golf Classic. Now, with this “e-Thing” trademark, we’re wondering if news that the ID Buggy project was canceled was just vaporware. Perhaps, just maybe, the ID Buggy Concept and “e-Thing” name will come together to give us an off-rood, retro-styled, go-anywhere Volkswagen. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a recipe for greatness to me. But, it could be something completely different too.

2019 Volkswagen I.D. BUGGY Concept
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VW could bring the Thing back from the dead as a small EV with the capability to do some light off-roading.

Think of something that would compete with, say, the Suzuki Jimny only with electric power (and not here because we don’t get the Jimny in the States, obviously). Either way, it could open the door for a new niche that gives an alternative to people shopping for the Wrangler or Bronco but want something more compact. One Thing is for sure, though. VW won’t drop the ball on the design or capability of the “e-Thing.”

Volkswagen Trademarks “E-Thing” As It Moves to Retro-Electrify Its Range
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The original Thing was designed by Ferdinand Porsche and, while it was originally a no-frills vehicle designed for military use, it found quite the following. If you aren’t aware, by the way, that’s exactly how the Jeep Wrangler came to be today – it was just known as the Willy’s MB way back when. History lessons aside, the Thing was somewhat of an icon for the Volkswagen brand post-WWII, and any new electric model that is designed with even a hit of throwback cues is bound to be awesome and beyond usable. Let’s just hope it’s better equipped and a little safer than its great, great, great, great grandfather.

Source: EUIPO

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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