The Volkswagen minivan, which has been around for over half a century and is associated with everything from camping out at Woodstock to family road trips, is finally making a return—this time with a sleek, modern twist on the original. After partnering with eClassics to produce an electric VW Beetle, Volkswagen used the same collaborative effort to make the 2020 VW e-BULLI, an all-electric conversion of a classic car.
For drivers, vintage car geeks, and anyone who’s dying to fulfill some nostalgic childhood memories, the e-BULLI can be purchased from Volkswagen for around $92,000 CAD. While this revamped model might look awfully familiar from the outside, a whole lot of changes have been made to create the modernized e-BULLI, given the moniker as a nod to the “Bulli” nickname of the classic VW microbus.
Here’s a look at what’s changed from the beloved original.
Auto Careers Pros Will Love the Electric Transformation
For its prototype model, VW has chosen a donor 1966 T1 Samba bus to showcase the rejig. A number of component replacements were made to transform the vehicle into a modern, electric version, all using Volkswagen’s cutting-edge electric drive systems. First, the four-cylinder box engine was replaced with an electric motor, taking the minibus from a horsepower of 43 up to 82. The e-BULLI tops out at 156 pound-feet of torque, and comes equipped with a one-speed gear box. These changes serve to increase the original van’s top speed from 105km/hr to 130 km/hr.
Students of automotive school may also be interested to know the e-BULLI is equipped with a 45kWh pack, which can last up to 200 km in between charges. The battery has solid charging capabilities, taking just 40 minutes to regain 80% of its power. The driver will be able to tell when the battery needs a recharge simply by looking at the associated LED indicators mounted at the rear.
Changes to the Chassis
The 1966 van has also received some exciting upgrades to its chassis. VW has improved the handling on its classic, with new adjustable suspension and shocks, as well as multi-link axles. Instead of the original’s drum brakes, the manufacturers have opted for ventilated discs, which pros with auto careers will recognize as the far superior, safer option.
Check out the e-BULLI here:
One of the coolest things about this classic upgrade is the revamp to the interior, which manages to retain the original’s charm. Covered with orange and white leather, the eight-seater minibus still has that same school bus-like steering wheel. Its driving interface, on the other hand, is completely new, with an electric drive selector replacing the gear stick. The driver will also discover a push-button start, and additional controls in the centre console. The radio still has the same classic look to crank out those road trip tunes, but gives the driver modern upgrades with Bluetooth, DAB+, and USB capabilities.
Interested buyers can have this modern twist to a timeless classic by purchasing the e-BULLI concept car either as a conversion kit from their own T1, or a new car through eClassics in Germany, with all parts manufactured by Volkswagen.
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