Picture of the Week – Blending Classic with Hi-tech Electric power: The new Volkswagen e-BULLI is a crossover of high-end classic and high-tech electric vehicle

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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) has premiered the e-BULLI, a unique all-electric vehicle that produces zero emissions on the road. Equipped with the drive system components of the latest Volkswagen electric vehicles, the concept vehicle is based on a Transporter T1 Samba Bus produced in 1966 and comprehensively restored. 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 (which specialises in electric car conversions) is planning to offer T1 conversions and T1 complete vehicles in the style of the new e-BULLI.

The original 32 kW (44 PS) four-cylinder boxer engine gives way in the e-BULLI to a silent Volkswagen electric motor delivering 61 kW (83 PS). The comparison of the engines’ power output alone makes it very evident that the concept vehicle has completely new drive characteristics, as the electric motor is almost twice as powerful as the boxer. What’s more, with maximum torque of 212 Nm, the new drive provides more than twice the force of the original T1 engine from 1966 (102 Nm). The maximum torque is also – as is typical for electric motors – immediately available. And that changes everything. Never before has there been an ‘official’ T1 as powerful as this e-BULLI. New in this form, it thus becomes a silent cruiser that combines the fascination of a zero-emission drive system with the incomparable style of a classic Bulli. 

Power transmission is by means of a 1-speed gearbox. The drive system is coupled with the gear lever, which is now positioned between driver and front passenger seat. The automatic transmission’s selector settings (P, R, N, D, B) are shown next to the lever. In position B the driver can vary the degree of recuperation, i.e. of energy recovery when braking. The e-BULLI reaches a top speed of 130 km/h (electronically limited). With the original drive system the T1 managed a top speed of 105 km/h.