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Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess is championing the development of an all-electric car that he hopes will help VW shed some of the negative light cast by the diesel emissions scandal.

Diess put out the challenge to VW’s engineers, saying that the car should be as iconic as the Golf and have an electric range of at least 300 miles. This car will be a watershed project for Volkswagen, acting as its first ground up electric vehicle based on the new MEB platform.

The platform was showcased by the BUDD-e concept (seen above), a re-imagining of the iconic Volkswagen Microbus, though that vehicle’s design will have little in common with the production car. A special team of engineers has been picked to build “the Volkswagen for the digital age,” as Diess called it, which will be just slightly larger than the current Golf.

It’s the blank sheet design that will help the car be so compelling according to engineers at the company. The new platform “heralds a fundamental change in electric cars, and thus for the car in general, because the MEB throws all fossil fuel ballast of the present overboard, having been designed specifically for electric cars,” according to a VW engineer.

Thanks to the platform, VW also says that a more spacious interior can be had with a smaller footprint, while driving agility and connectivity will be improved upon compared with the brand’s current cars. “It will make a huge statement,” an unnamed senior engineer told Autocar. “It’s planned to use cutting-edge technology but at a price that makes it attainable for the average motorist,” he said.

The car is tentatively stated to arrive by 2019. As of now, Volkswagen plans to have 20 electric cars or plug-in hybrids in its lineup by 2020.

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