VW Commercial Vehicles will be showing the e-BULLI based on the T1 at the Techno-Classica at the end of March, and have released the first photo in advance. The e-BULLI is intended to “build a bridge between the historic T2 electric transporter (1972-1979) and the future ID. BUZZ (starting in 2022)”.
The e-drive of the “Samba Bus” was developed on the basis of drive and battery technology from Volkswagen Group Components and consists of series components from the latest VW electric vehicles.
With the release of the first image, Volkswagen shows that the e-BULLI of 2020 is based on the ‘Samba Bus’ T1 produced in 1966, exported to Los Angeles and later brought back to Europe. The classic travelling van has now been rebuilt and fitted with an electric drive system.
Solid wood is used for the floor which VW Commercial Vehicles says gives the electric van in the look of a ship’s deck. With a large folding roof, the overall effect of this electrified ‘Samba Bus’, says Volkswagen, is an “almost maritime character”. From the van’s exterior, the fact that the classic travelling van holds the latest electric technology is only indicated in details such as the new round LED headlights. On the inside, the original speedometer is just the some only now it has LEDs to show the gear selected for the automatic transmission (P, R, N or D).
In 2019, Volkswagen showed an electrified Combi van in the USA: Volkswagen of America commissioned the conversion from EV West with the task of installing the e-Golf’s drive in the T2. The result is a converted van in Kansas Beige and Pastel White colours with e-Golf genes. Also last year, the subsidiary Volkswagen Group Components (VWGC) and its partner company eClassics electrified the Beetle – using the technology of the VW e-Up. Even back then, it was looking like the VW Group was considering making the retrofit electrification of classic cars into a new business model. The e-BULLI shows a more complete concept than a straight retrofit.
No details have been given on technical data for the e-BULLI or whether there are production plans for the new electrified classic. More should be revealed at the Techno Classica in Essen, Germany, from 25-29 March. However, since a number of transport industry events are currently being cancelled due to coronavirus precautions, we will hope for more material about Volkswagen’s plans for the modern classic around that time either way.