Volkswagen gives T1 Kombi an electric makeover

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Hannover, Germany - Volkswagen is going back to the future with its e-Bulli, which was revealed in Germany recently.

Based on a fully restored 1966 split-screen T1 bus, the restomodded Kombi is fitted with Volkswagen’s latest electric drive system. And it's not just a one-off project - Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, through its partner eClassics, is planning to offer similar recreations to customers. 

“It started with the seemingly audacious idea of switching an historic Bulli over to a drive system producing zero emissions on the road in order to bring it in line with the challenges of a new era,” VWCV said.

“To this end VWCV engineers and designers formed a team along with drive system experts from Volkswagen Group Components and the eClassics company, which specialises in electric car conversions.”

The original vehicle’s 32kW flat-four engine gives way to an electric motor that produces 61kW and 212Nm, which powers the rear wheels through a single-speed gearbox. The new drivetrain allows the e-Bulli to reach an electronically limited top speed of 130km/h, which makes it 25km/h faster than the original petrol model.

Power is stored by a 45 kWh lithium ion battery, which is mounted in the floor of the vehicle. It should manage a range of over 200km between charges, according to VWCV.

With a new drivetrain also comes a fresh chassis, which features multi-link front and rear axles, adjustable shocks and coilover struts, while the car also features a new rack-and-pinion steering system and disc brakes at all four corners.

The vehicle’s exterior has been freshened up with a new two-tone paintwork in Energetic Orange Metallic and Golden Sand Metallic Matte, as well as more modern LED headlights. 

The eight-seat cabin has been given a makeover too, with white and orange seat trim and a wooden floor that aims to give the e-Bulli a maritime feel. A large panoramic roof is also in place to improve the view.

The team couldn’t resist adding some smart cabin tech to the mix, in the form of a tablet that’s integrated into the roof console. This gives owners access to the ‘We Connect’ system where the owner can get information on the remaining charge time, current range, energy consumption and so forth. 

The radio also has the modern essentials such as Bluetooth and USB connectivity, although it is still styled to look like a period-specific sound system.

Prices in Germany for a completed vehicle are set to start at 64 900 euro (R1.22 million), and the company is also planning to offer conversions for the T3 and T3 Kombis.

IOL Motoring

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