VW Electric Microbus Expected to Bow at CES

Courtesy of Volkswagen

The reboot of the Volkswagen classic is part of the troubled carmaker's bid to build more electric cars.

Volkswagen is expected to unveil a battery powered concept based on its fabled Mircobus — icon of the 1960s and hapless, beeping co-star of Little Miss Sunshine — at the CES show in Las Vegas next month. 

Volkswagen stopped short of identifying the concept as a revamped Microbus in a press release that depicts the fascia of a van-like vehicle being unveiled, but it is widely expected that VW's chairman of passenger cars, Dr. Herbert Diess, will introduce the new Microbus during his pre-CES keynote on Jan. 5.

VW said that the concept car will "mark the beginning of a new era of affordable long-distance electromobility" and "increasing interconnectness" in its cars. The company currently sells the all-electric e-Golf.

A high-profile reboot of one of VW's most beloved cars might also deflect some of the relentless negative publicity that has engulfed VW since it admitted it had rigged the software of millions of diesel cars so that they could pass emissions tests but which spewed several times the allowable levels of nitrogen oxide and other gases in actual driving.

Last week VW chairman Hans Dieter Potsch characterized the preliminary findings from an internal investigation into the scandal as "not a one-off error, but an unbroken chain of mistakes." Volkswagen set aside $8 billion and curtailed development of some vehicles in the wake of the scandal. 

The CES Show runs Jan. 6 though 9.