Volkswagen unveils electric-powered 1966 van

This one’s a concept vehicle, but VW partner will offer such conversions for sale

2
3730
vw van
It may look like another nicely restored 1966 VW van, but this one is powered by electricity, not petroleum | Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles photos

It may look like just another, albeit very skillfully restored 1966 Volkswagen van, but this is the e-Bulli concept vehicle from VW Commercial Vehicles and its partner eClassics, an electric conversion specialist company which plans to offer such conversions to the public.  

The project marries a 1966 chassis with a 2020 electric drivetrain.

VW planned to unveil the updated T1 Samba bus at Techno-Classics in Essen, Germany, but that collector car showcase was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, VW Commercial Vehicles has made the vehicle’s debut a web event.

VW called the vehicle “an important message for all fans of the Bulli and of electric mobility: the combination of high-end classic and high-tech electric vehicle will be available to buy for real. VWCV partner eClassics is planning to offer T1 conversions and T1 complete vehicles in the style of the new e-BULLI.

The donor van was acquired after spending 50 years on the road in California, VW said. 

The original 44 horsepower 4-cylinder boxer engine was replaced by a 61 kW (83 horsepower) electric motor. The conversion also more than doubled torque, to nearly 160 pound-feet. And VW notes that that torque is available immediately; no need for the engine to build up its revs. 

RELATED:  The Journal hits 10,000 stories

The vehicle has a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph) compared with the gasoline-powered 105 (65 mph) max.

Instead of PRNDL, the automatic transmission selector shows PRNDB, the B indicating energy recovery under braking. The vehicle has a range of more than 200 kilometers (nearly 125 miles).

The restoration included an updated chassis with multi-link front and rear suspension, adjustable shock absorbers and coil-over struts, as well as rack-and-pinion steering and a quartet of disc brakes.

VW Commercial Vehicles updated the vehicle inside and out. 

Outside, the look was modernized with LED lamps as well as two-tone paint in Energetic Orange Metallic and Golden Sand Metallic matte. 

Inside there is seating for 8 and a Sanit Tropez and Saffrano Orange color scheme. Wood trim that looks like a ship’s deck is used. A computer tablet is built into the overhead console and the vehicle has Bluetooth and a retro-design radio face.

eClassics will offer its T1 electric conversions for €64,900 ($69,200) and also will do conversions for later-generation VW vans.


Advertisement
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Hipsters,
    Love this bus, man. The mile range could be better, 125 miles is just warming up. Maybe by time of production the battery life will be longer? Please keep us updated on battery life technology it is advancing rapidly, man. The price seem a little much for this old hippy but you know what they say, you can sleep in a car but you can’t drive a house, man.
    Happy motoring, man
    Ps. Please don’t email me, man

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here