My girlfriend is utterly obsessed with old school VW Vans, especially the Westfalia campers. So when I told her about the new VW Microbus EV concept unveiled in Geneva, she damn near stole the laptop out of my hands.
I don’t have to tell you how popular the old Microbus was with hippies and adventurers here in America and across the world wherever they were sold. Alas, the Microbus went out of style when big SUV’s became popular. Officially called the “T1” or “Transporter,” a raised-roof version of this popular bus is still sold in Brazil. VW actually has done this concept before, back in 2001, but that version of the Microbus never made it to production. So could the Bulli actually come to market? Maybe.
Powering this micro-Microbus is a 113 horsepower electric motor that, in theory, could propel the Bulli for up to 186 miles. That ain’t too shabby, though remember, this is just a concept vehicle. But the 40 kWh battery would provide ample power to motivate the Microbus almost 200 miles, and with almost 200 ft-lbs of torque on tap it would certainly be more powerful than its air-cooled predecessor. The 0-62 mph time is claimed to be 11.5 seconds, which doesn’t sound fast until you compare it to the original, which could take 30 seconds or more to reach highway speeds. I’ve actually experienced trying to accelerate one of these, and I thought there was something wrong. The only thing wrong though was the lack of horsepower, so I’m glad VW isn’t going to make that same mistake twice.
While this concept definitely recalls the original VW Bus, it is decidedly modern on the inside. There is no tachometer, but there is a removable iPad that communicates with the radio system. The rear seats can be stored, folded, and even turned into a bed, true to the Microbus’s camper roots. How awesome is that?
If VW actually built this bus (and it was big enough for me to sleep in) I’d sell everything I owned in a heartbeat and take to the road, just like those crazy hippies used to do. Would any of you embrace your inner hippy for this awesome VW concept?
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.