It's been almost 55 years since the dune buggy took the Volkswagen Beetle chassis and turned it into an off-road icon. Volkswagen is bringing the idea back with an electric concept it plans to unveil at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The original Beetle and its air-cooled flat four made the perfect starting point for a generation of fibreglass off-roaders starting in the mid-1960s. They're still around today putting over sand dunes and even on city streets. Volkswagen wants to show off that its new MEB electric platform makes it just as versatile as the vintage bug.

"A buggy is more than a car. It is vibrancy and energy on four wheels," said VW Head Designer Klaus Bischoff, "These attributes are embodied by the new e-buggy, which demonstrates how a modern, non-retro interpretation of a classic can look, and more than anything else, the emotional bond that electric mobility can create."

Like the originals, this one gets big off-road tires, no roof or conventional doors, and big open side sills to give you maximum beach exposure. VW says that the platform has the potential to bring low-volume niche vehicles, though maybe not quite this niche, to production.

What electric powertrain will power this modern buggy? VW isn't saying yet. After all, they need to save something for the auto show. But the brand is definitely digging deep into its long history for the first round of electric concepts. The automaker has already said that an electric vehicle based on the I.D. Buzz Microbus concept should be arriving around 2022.

The Geneva Motor Show starts March 5th.