The conversion specialist EV West has electrified a classic VW minibus on behalf of Volkswagen of America. The retrofitted classic car – officially VW Type 2 T2 – will be powered by the series production engine and the 35.8 kWh battery system of a 2017 VW e-Golf.
The background to the project is to highlight the suitability of the e-Golf drive system for electrifying VW classics. The T2 type Bulli originally left the assembly line between 1967 and 1979, the converted model in the colours Kansas Beige and Pastel White is a 1972 model year vehicle. Features include the large rear lights with indicators at the bottom of the front at the same time.
According to Volkswagen, the retrofitted nostalgia bus with the 100 kW electric motor and battery system of the 2017 e-Golf will travel around 125 miles (about 200 kilometres). The battery was installed by the conversion specialists in specially developed, fire-resistant housings under the front seats and in the place of the fuel tank. The unit consisting of the electric motor, transmission and charging system is located where the four-cylinder engine used to be in the rear part of the bus. An advantage in terms of power transmission is the independent wheel suspension of the Bulli, which the classic car comes with. However, based on the pictures of the charging connection, it seems as if the Bulli can only be charged with alternating current.
“Most of the other exterior and interior features of the e-Bus will remain, mostly unchanged,” continues an accompanying press release. The typical long gear lever remains, but it only determines the parking, reverse, neutral, driving and regenerative braking modes, as we know it from the e-Golf. In addition, EV West has installed a multifunctional digital display for the BEV functions in the cockpit, but this coherent to the rest of the interior designed classic.
“We are very excited to be a part of this project,” says EV West CEO Michael Bream. “Merging a historic model from an iconic brand with the technology of today, is just one of many ways that we can step closer to a more sustainable future while continuing to enjoy our rich automotive heritage.”
The Bulli with e-Golf genes is by the way not the first VW classic with a retrofitted electric drive. Just recently, the subsidiary Volkswagen Group Components (VWGC) and its partner company eClassics electrified the Beetle with the technology of the VW e-Up. The VW Group is even considering turning the subsequent electrification of vintage cars into a new business model.