VW Bulli EV Van Dead, 313 MPG XL1 Arrives Next Year


Many a Volkswagen fan fondly remembers the Type 2 bus, AKA the Westfalia, AKA the Volkswagen Van. It is, in many ways, the ultimate hippie mobile, and aging hippies the world over have been waiting for a 21st century version to hit dealerships. Alas, it does not seem to be, as VW has ended development of the Bulli, a modern EV version of the Type 2.

But all is not lost, as VW has confirmed that the 313 mpg XL1 will debut sometime next year.

The VW Bulli concept debuted in March of 2011 and was widely praised by many media outlets as the return of the hippie van. With an iPad dock for the center console and plugs ready to power your campsite, the Bulli had a theoretical range of up to 186 miles. Alas, due to a shortage of demand, VW execs told What Car? that production of the Bulli had been halted. How quickly things can change.

Yet Volkswagen is moving forward with a production version of the XL1 concept, a diesel-electric hybrid that can get between 261 and 313 mpg. That is an insane level of efficiency, although don’t expect much in the way of acceleration; the 27 horsepower electric motor and 48 horsepower two-cylinder diesel engine are all about fuel economy, not fun.

Volkswagen execs say that a production version of the XL1 will go on sale (and with limited availability) sometime next year. It probably won’t be cheap, and it probably won’t be popular. But the XL1 could usher in a new wave of uber-efficient vehicles if it proves to be effective at efficiency. And if these spy shots are to be believed, it won’t look half bad either.

So sad news about the Bulli, but good news about the XL1. Which one are you more excited about?

Source: What Car?

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Jason Carpp

    Who the hell makes that decision? I, personally, have never owned a VW Vanagon, or VW Westfalia, or Bus, but I believe there’s always a need for a people carrier. So why discontinue something that people like?

  • WTF? What rocket scientist (pun intended) thought that we didn’t need an updated microbus to paint piece signs on? Make it a plug in coupled to a TDI and you would have the ultimate concert mobile! Well Hell! I guess this means that I’ll have to keep my over-engineered constantly needs attention 96′ Passat TDI until Mazda puts a diesel in the 5 van. Now if you’ll excuse me the UPS man just pulled up with my rebuilt window motor.

  • Bulli please! If they made it as a van and a people carrier, it would get the attention of both families, aging hippies and corporations looking for a low cost delivery van. The XL1 whatever, sounds like something to feed the ‘we are the most efficient’ ego of VW.

  • george

    You could always import a VW minivan from Europe or Asia.

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  • euroflycars

    Sorry to disappoint all VW fans: remember the VW Lupo 3 liter (per 100km)?

    The scoop was announced by a full page ad showing the car at the column of a gas station (in faint shades of gray…) with a slogan in big letters across the entire page: “You will not see it often at the column”.

    The VW marketeers must have laughed their heads off at all these people naively believing the reason was the incredible frugality of the car — whereas they knew the real reason was the car just wasn’t designed for more than a few confidential sales…”

    • Ed Wolf

      Disappointed again. When VW makes a safe van that is in the 2001 concept style, and it is a plug-in / Hybrid, they will look back and ask “Why did we not do this sooner.” You couldn’t pay me to buy their current American looking van. I would however, buy a new one if it is anything close to the last few concept vehicles. Just do it. It is your (VW) Brand. It will never be forgotten so you can’t run into “to little too late”. It will only be late.

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  • Gendotte

    If it is priced within sanity, I would buy it.

    • Is this like that thing where anyone driving faster than you is a maniac and anyone driving slower than you is an idiot?