eBus could become an official thing, long live the T1 split window!
Hipsters who wish to channel those hippie motoring memories of yore will rejoice at VW’s latest product announcement.
The e-Bulli concept might look like a VW T1 bus, but it features a wonderfully sophisticated powertrain, with zero emissions.
VW has built this e-Bulli concept as part of its drive to greater electrification. Partnering with eClassics, who specialise in converting older vehicles to modern battery drivetrains, the e-Bulli will hopefully become available commercially.
Powering the e-Bulli is a 45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This is effectively the lowest energy-density battery VW has designed, for its forthcoming range of ID platform vehicles.
The battery pack spins a 61 kW electric motor, with 212 Nm of torque That is nearly double the potency of VW’s original T1 air-cooled four-cylinder engine.
Aerodynamic realities and stability considerations have made VW limit the e-Bulli’s top speed to only 130 kph, which is still 25 kph more than an original T1 could manage.
Old-school bus underneath
The T1 platform structure has not been altered, but VW and eClassics have added many component upgrades.
Instead of traditional drums, there are ventilated disc brakes at all four wheel corners. A multi-link front suspension, with adjustable coil-over dampers, allows e-Bulli to add more compression damping when required – better balancing this eBus when it is heavily laden.
Beyond the new bits, VW and eClassics have managed to retain the retro feel, whilst adding daytime running lights and LED turn-signal indicators. Although the cabin might have the appearance of a fantastically 1960s design celebration, a Smartphone synching infotainment system has been integrated to the e-Bulli’s interior.
VW has built the e-Bulli as a proof of concept. The T1 is a very popular VW heritage vehicle with many still running in show condition. The vision is that owners could be willing to embrace the e-Bulli concept, which might trigger a viable upgrade option, from VW.