You gotta like this one. Amid all the microbe-driven histrionics, Volkswagen got to cement a memorable chunk of its design history into a modern concept vehicle and have some serious fun in the process. This week in Hannover, German, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles showed of the E-BULLI, a concept that combines one of Wolfsburg’s most instantly recognizable vehicles with a modern all-electric powertrain, a technology that has powered to the fore of Volkswagen’s global campaign of late. The vehicle is based on a Hannover-assembled 1966 T1 Samba bus, known affectionately in its home market as the Bulli, and here largely as the Microbus. This 21-window Samba – a vehicle that attracts huge sums in factory condition at auctions today – was exported to the United States, where it spent more than 50 years in California before returning to Germany for conversion.
The E-BULLI is a zero-emissions vehicle whose 36hp air-cooled, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine was yanked and replaced by a single electric motor rated at 61 kW, motivating the bus through a one-speed transmission that includes a setting for regenerative braking. The gearbox and electric motor provide power to the rear wheels, just like the old flat-four did. A lithium-ion battery is also positioned at the rear of the vehicle. The E-BULLI will allegedly make just under 81 electronically governed MPH at full chat, which is considerably better than its gasoline-fueled forebear could manage. Do we like it? As Stone Cold Steve Austin would put it, hell yeah. And if you desire an E-BULLI, the firm eClassics in Germany will build you one for 64,000 Euros; drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just the ticket for silently slipping up on a foaming pipeline along your favorite hang-ten beach.