Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, Volkswagen’s new Bulli Concept revives the Microbus in modern form and stuffs it full of batteries to turn it into an all-electric vehicle with a stated 186 mile range. Among the six-seater’s modern twists, new VW Microbus uses an iPad to control the entertainment system, climate control and other functions.
The Bulli uses a lithium-ion battery pack to drive a 113-horsepower electric motor and interestingly enough, Volkswagen says that the van can be fully charged in less than one hour. Like the original Microbus, the Bulli presented in Geneva has two-tone paint and a distinctive ‘V’ on the bonnet. 18-inch alloy wheels are distinctive with stylised chrome hubcaps, another tribute to the Microbus.
The concept is slightly shorter and wider than the original, with a less boxy front. But there are plenty of nods to the original, including a three-person bench seat in the front and a two-tone paint job. New Bulli measures 3.99 m in length, 1.75 m in width and 1.70 m in height. Wheelbase is 2.62 metres. Bulli also has a wide track (1.50 m front and rear) in relation to its body width. Front and rear overhangs are very short.
The Bulli was the brainchild of a Dutch Volkswagen importer, Ben Pon, who in 1947 sketched out a simple public bus built on the wheels of the Volkswagen Beetle. The original Bulli was made from 1950 to 1967. Other versions followed, and the vehicle was eventually sold worldwide.
No word yet on whether the New Volkswagen Bulli will make it to production, but VW says it has the potential to establish a new, fifth brand of people carrier next to the Caddy, Touran, Sharan and its large counterpart – the Caravelle.