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The Volkswagen E-Bulli Concept Shows How You Can Electrify the Iconic Bus for $70,000

The Drive logo The Drive 3/26/2020 By James Gilboy, The Drive
a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Drive

Most folks with a passion for cars can't wait for the electric Volkswagen ID.Buzz microbus to become a reality, which it mercifully will, but Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has an interim solution that's sure to delight you until the iconic ride makes its comeback. It's called the E-Bulli Concept, and it's a restomod 1966 Type 2 "Bulli" upgraded to electric drive.

Use of the term upgraded might incense those of you who think that electric motors and old cars shouldn't be mixed, but you may reconsider your position after you look at the E-Bulli's spec sheet. In place of its 43-horsepower, air-cooled flat-four is an electric motor sourced from the Volkswagen E-Up! microcar, which almost doubles the Type 2's original power output to 82 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque. This pushes the E-Bulli's top speed from 65 mph to 80, allowing for newfound and occasional use of the passing lane.

a truck that is sitting on a motorcycle: Volkswagen E-Bulli Concept © Volkswagen Volkswagen E-Bulli Concept

This motor draws its juice from a 45-kWh battery pack, which grants up to 124 miles of range on a full charge. If completely discharged, the E-Bulli's CCS charge port allows for DC fast-charging up to 50 kW, permitting up to 80 percent recharge in 40 minutes. Stuffed in the floor for better weight distribution, the battery enhances the Type 2's handling with a low center of gravity, and it isn't the only improvement on this front. A multilink coilover suspension with adjustable shocks in the front and rear keep the Type 2 right side up, while updated rack-and-pinion steering and disc brakes further modernize its driving experience.

a airplane that is driving down the road: Volkswagen E-Bulli Concept © Volkswagen Volkswagen E-Bulli Concept

VW's EV conversion partner eClassics--also responsible for the "E-Käfer" electric Type 1 Beetles--refreshed the E-Bulli with two-tone paint and upholstery schemes, LED lighting all around, and a dark hardwood floor normally seen on yachts. It also reinterpreted the Type 1's instrument panel, which now features a digital display with remaining range--readable remotely through VW's We Connect app. The E-Bulli's sound system got a similar treatment, with a period-looking head unit that nevertheless speaks the languages of USB and Bluetooth.

eClassics will convert any Type 2 (including the later T2 and T3 generations) to E-Bulli spec for anyone willing to pay the $70,000 asking price. That includes the electric drivetrain, associated tech, and modernized suspension, and even the rejuvenated interior, in any color scheme you desire. eClassics officially will only perform the conversions for European clients, but one can't help imagining they'd say no to an American client for a few extra Benjamins.

Volkswagen E-Bulli Concept © Volkswagen Volkswagen E-Bulli Concept

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