2020 Volkswagen Transporter (T7) spy shots

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Volkswagen is working on an electric successor to its iconic Microbus based on 2017's ID Buzz concept car. It's confirmed for a launch here around 2022.

However, concurrent with the development of the new electric van is a new generation of the automaker's popular Transporter series of vans sold overseas, as evidenced by the recent sighting of test mules.

The test mules are for a seventh-generation Transporter, or T7 to fans, but feature modified T6 generation bodies to hide their new mechanicals. The first prototypes should follow in the next 12 months, with the production version expected in early 2020.

Sadly, we're unlikely to see a local launch given VW's plan to sell the electric van here.

Volkswagen Budd-e Concept

Volkswagen Budd-e Concept

Some of the test mules are wearing the new multi-slatted grille destined for the T7 generation. The design was previewed in 2016 with the Budd-e concept, shown above.

The test mules also reveal a longer wheelbase and a longer front overhang compared to the current T6 generation. It's easy to spot the welds on the modified T6 bodies.

Our photographer also tells us that some of the test mules are switching between electric and internal combustion power, revealing that a plug-in hybrid powertrain is being developed for the new generation.

The Transporter series is actually the direct successor of the Microbus, with the T1 generation first sold here as the original Bus. We tested the current T6 generation in California trim earlier this year and may see the vans used by Apple for a self-driving shuttle service in the not too distant future.

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