Volkswagen will be introducing a new electric microbus, known at the moment as the I.D. Buzz which was inspired by the hippie-era original, but that Sixties classic is not being forgotten because eClassics, a firm specializing in electric car conversions in association with VW is bringing EV power and modern updates to the original Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 buses. And, this e-Bulli Concept based on a Samba Bus made in 1966, is just the friendly face we all need to see in this worrying moment in time.
It features 82 horsepower electric motor in place of the 43 horsepower four-cylinder motor in the original T1 Samba Bus. Juice to motor is supplied by a 45 kWh lithium-ion battery while power is sent to the wheels via a single-speed transmission with various modes for regenerative braking assist. Top speed is electronically limited to 130kph, up from 105kph on the original model. It can be charged with alternating or direct current, and with DC-fast charging (up to 50 kW of charging power), it can reach 80 per cent battery capacity in 40 minutes.
eClassics did not just fettle with the drivetrain, they also redesigned the chassis, too. The e-Bulli features multi-link front and rear axles with adjustable coilover struts, a new rack and pinion steering rack, and disc brakes.
These 21-window Buses are beautiful (and valuable) vehicles highly desired by collectors, and eClassics made sure this one doesn't lose its retro vibe. The orange-and-white interior blends new and old design elements. Solid wood floors and a panoramic folding roof add visual interest.
Its analogue speedometer has a two-digit digital display showing range and charge level. But drivers can also use a smartphone app to check up on key stats for the e-Bulli. It's all good in there - apart for that modern gear lever. It looks out of place next to the giant steering wheel and retro seats...
The 45 KwH battery has a range of 200km and although VW had plans to debut the e-Bulli at Techno Classica 2020 this was cancelled due to the coronavirus, but we are glad we are seeing this classic beauty online now.