With the e-BULLI, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles shows how icons can be given a new life in the zero emissions era, as the classic bodywork and design of the Samba T1 Bus combine with hi-tech components of the electric drive system.
Electrification is one of the cornerstones of future mobility, but it can also play a key role in helping to give classic vehicles from the past a new lease of life – as the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ e-BULLI project demonstrates. The German brand, in partnership with the specialised firm eClassics, carried out a complete conversion. They started from a vintage T1 powered by a conventional engine and turned it into a fully electric vehicle using Volkswagen Group’s latest electric drive system components.
The project can be easily replicated, which will allow all owners of older Transporters – including T2 and T3 generations – to continue driving them in 100% electric versions. That means driving with zero emissions while enjoying all the benefits of vintage vehicles with no limitations. And, at the same time, the conversion preserves the vehicle’s originality.
The Samba Bus evolves
Based on a Samba Bus produced in 1966, the e-BULLI links the classic Transporters to their successor, the ID.BUZZ, which is based on the MEB platform and will be rolled out to the market in the coming years. The electric drive system of the Samba Bus has been developed using the latest standard components for Volkswagen electric vehicles, produced by Volkswagen Group Components.
It features a 45 kWh lithium-ion battery, housed in the vehicle floor, which provides a range of more than 200 kilometres and can be charged to 80 per cent in just 40 minutes at a fast-charging station. The e-BULLI’s 61 kW electric motor is almost twice as powerful as the original internal combustion engine, although its top speed is limited to 130 km/h. Transmission is handled by its 1-speed gearbox.
Original and modern
In any case, you don’t need to drive fast to appreciate the mood of the interior in the electric T1. The original concept has been preserved down to the last detail, albeit with a few modern touches. The only completely new elements are the automatic gear lever, which also allows the driver to manually select how much battery energy is regenerated under braking conditions, the start/stop button and the tablet integrated into the console to control the e-BULLI’s functions and display a selection of information.
The interior has been redesigned to take on a maritime feel, an impression strengthened by the nautical-inspired wooden flooring. The visual impact is heightened even further by the large panoramic folding roof. The harmonious design makes the iconic e-BULLI the perfect zero-emission companion for travelling in vintage style.
Source: Volkswagen Veicoli Commerciali