This is the Volkswagen e-BULLI – the German company’s first official attempt at creating an all-electric version of the classic T1 Samba Bus. It was pieced together with the help of electric vehicle conversion specialist, eClassic, and boasts a modernised chassis and a range in excess of 200km on a single charge.
It features a 45kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a small electric motor lifted from the Volkswagen e-Up city car. The system develops 60kW and 212Nm, which is more than twice the output of the van’s original 1.5-litre air-cooled flat-four petrol engine. Top speed has also improved, rising from 105km/h to 130km/h.
Like the upcoming ID.3 hatchback, the e-BULLI’s battery pack is mounted under the floor of the vehicle, while the electric motor and its associated hardware occupy the same space as the old engine. There’s also standard support for 50kW DC fast-charging, which Volkswagen says can provide an 80 percent recharge in just 40 minutes.
To cope with the extra grunt from the electric motor, Volkswagen has completely redesigned the T1’s chassis, adding new multi-link front and rear axles with adjustable dampers, coilover struts and vented disc brakes. There’s also a new rack-and-pinion steering system to replace the van’s old-world steering box, as well as larger wheels and tyres.
Cosmetic enhancements are subtle, stretching to a pair of LED headlamps with daytime running lights and a new two-tone colour scheme. There’s also a handy LED charge indicator at the rear of the van.
Inside there’s a new automatic gear-shifter and centre console, a solid wood floor, a new analogue speedometer with an integrated digital display and a retro-styled DAB head-unit linked to a handful of hidden speakers. The seats have also been re-trimmed in a blend of orange and white leather, to match the van’s exterior.
The e-BULLI camper will soon be available for purchase in Germany, through Volkswagen’s partnership with eClassic. Prices start from €64,900 (around AUD$110,000) for a fully converted vehicle, although retro-fit parts kits will also be available for qualified dealers. Whether or not the e-BULLI will be sold in the Australia is yet to be confirmed.