By Ami Cholia
Posting in Energy
Volkswagen revives its iconic Microbus as an all-electric camper called "Bulli."
Volkswagen takes us back to the summer of love by reviving the Microbus, one of the automaker's most iconic vehicles. Except this time, the Bulli -- as it's called in Germany -- is going all-electric.
Displayed at the Geneva Auto Show, the revived 6-seat camper concept is powered by a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery, has a top speed of 87 mph, 0-62mph acceleration in 11.5 seconds, and a range of about 186 miles. While that's not enough range for someone who truly wants to hit the road, the car manufacturer promises that the 85 Kw electric motor can be charged in less than an hour at an electric charging station.
Like the original, the car is finished in two-tone paint with the classic VW logo on its hood, and it also comes with a transparent roof this time around. The bus has bench like seats which can be folded into a bed; and for a true 21-st century touch -- an iPad works to control the vehicle's entire communications and electronics systems. There's no option of spending hours fidgeting with radio knobs here.
While the vehicle is still a concept at this point, Volkswagen says that both a gasoline and diesel tank can also be fitted under the hood (which would give drivers a few more options in terms of destinations).
No price points have been disclosed yet, but we're definitely excited about the ride.
Mar 1, 2011
I love the comments. Most are completely perfect for the VW's marketing team. Many wouldn't buy it because it is ugly. Many wouldn't buy it because it does not have the range or performance. And some even yell about electric as the same evil as gasoline. But, your missing the point. You are not the target audience. Do you think that they could profit from the American market? Of course, not. You have already agreed not to buy it. Does anyone think ridiculously high gas prices is some new phenomena? America has been the phenomenom. Gas is still cheaper in America. The difference we are still in shock that this is not a joke, that it is not going back down. The rest of the world is not scared, they can actually buy an all-electric vehicle that has the range and performance they need. We are the ones that are intellectually abused by marketing hype that claims to have the pannacea. But, all we really get is another mockery of engineering...the first car that is all electric, and in case of emergency, a gasoline reserve. The Chevy Volt. Let me ask you a question. Why is the electric range 50 miles and the gasoline reserve the same range of an all gas car. BECAUSE IT IS A MARKETING SCAM. YOU ACTUALLY USE THE RESERVE FIRST. THEN YOU HAVE A REGULAR CAR WITH NO DIFFERENCE EXCEPT IT COSTS MORE MONEY TO OPERATE, IT HAS A A RESALE VALUE OF A LAWN MOWER AND IT IS JUST AS UGLY AS THE VW. Ciao
Most of our electric power comes from fossil fuels. Burning coal or natural gas produces heat generates loss, also ; heat vaporizing water to steam has loss; using steam to turn turbines has loss; turning turbines to produce electricity has loss; electricity transferring to distant users has loss; electricity used to recharge batteries has loss; creating these batteries USES power, with various losses, plus, electric vehicles MUST continually carry heavy batteries, more mass, and more loss! The total losses here I do not know, but I do believe it's much more than 3/4 of the real total energy, start to finish. So much for the "efficiency" of battery powered vehicles. Notwithstanding, gas/diesel vehicles aren't any better, but also, not too much worse, energy-wise! One problem here is pollution, which we are improving daily, but mainly, it's diminishing oil sources, and the main reason why we are looking for alternatives. Our real continuing power source, other than water power, is the sun! The sooner we utilize as much of this as possible, the better. Right now, we need a way to transmit this direct to vehicles, ala Nicola Tesla! Work on that, scientists & inventors!
"....3 years, when gas will be maybe 30% higher, and solar panels 30% lower...." is wishful thinking. Your Prius, no matter the view, cost more to purchase and operate , over time, than a comparable size internal combustion engine vehicle. Ideologues, patricians, shills for the auto industry and people with lots of extra income purchase the US gov''t subsidized vehicles. Their cradle-to-grave cost still far exceeds that of any other vehicle at about $3.25 per mile driven. Hummers do better. And what to do with all of those nickel or lithium or lead batteries at your home and in your car as they age and rot. Mini-Love Canals all over the Country, methinks. And, to make matters worse, if the sun ain't shinin' you ain't drivin'.... I say, stop the pollyanna thinking and get rid of your unnecessary travel, buy a bicycle, walk, and use public transportation. Solve the obesity problem in America. More cars simply cause more problems, no matter the energy source.
Remember these items: this vw will be out in maybe 3 years, when gas will be maybe 30% higher, and solar panels 30% lower (those are the current trends). The likelihood is in 10 years solar power will be very competitive with coal, and this VW can be charged off the grid, from your roof. Watch the oil companies, as they'll try to derail these healthy electric vehicle trends. They'll lie and corrupt any politician they can to protect their profitable businesses. But the trends are unmistakeable. My next car will be a plug-in hybrid, maybe a 2012 Prius, with the first 100 miles every day on batteries, charged from my roof to a 2nd battery pack in my garage, reducing my annual gas use 80%, and sticking it to the Arab sheiks and the oil companies. Vote with your next wheels! Klaus in Seattle
We should remember this VW will probably not be available for three years. By then fuel will be maybe 30% higher, and solar panels 30% cheaper. By the way coal fired electric power still consumes less than half the equivalent as gasoline, and usually is remote from cities, keeping them cleaner. In 10 years, if the planets align, solar power will be cheaper than coal power. And remember that a solar panel, once built and paid for once, will last probably 50 years. (They don't know the life of solar cells yet, as the first ones built 40 years ago, are still working). If we can keep the oil companies from sabotaging these good trends, I think our energy problems will be much reduced in 20 years.
I knew the VW Microbus, and the Bulli is no VW Bus. ----------------------- Just think, if everyone had a four cylinder air-cooled engines, we wouldn't need electric, hair-lipped, half-breed, iron-man glitzy vehicles that cost >$30,000.00; there'd be less importation of foreign crude and we'd all live happily ever after. Doesn't it ever occur to anyone that Electric Power Plants burn FOSSIL FUELS that feed these Electric Cars? HELLOOOOO!!! Man, we are dumb breed of folk. Instead of getting simpler, efficient vehicles, we are being fed, complicated, sophisticated technology that requires expensive repairs and upgrades. Glitzy sells; simple economy doesn't.
I am sure the "both a gasoline and engine tank" option was a miss discription. (Engine Tank?) I think that if Germany wants to make the best vehicle of this type sell in the USA theywould heed some of the neat comments of some of these writers. There is a passion for this type of vehicle they might not understand. The flat nose of the past models has to stay. Confusion otherwise and a lot of upturned noses. Take your time VW. TS
CaptOska I have a HHR and an Astro van. This thing looks nothing like a HHR! But does look like someone tried to customize an Astro.
It has potential- I hope it will live up to it! Also, it sort of looks like Iron Man. Haven't decided how I feel about that yet.
bb-aptix Apparently you have never driven an original VW Microbus. The original 25 hp unit took 75 seconds for 0 to 60. The 36 horse version was wimpy. The high powered 40 horse version was great. You could almost maintain 45 miles an hour into the wind on a flat road. I drove one on the beltway during a heavy storm. I could barely maintain 40 headed west, into the wind. When I got far enough to be headed east I was up near 80 sailing along.
Modifications: Offer a camper. Add SOLAR for an electric/solar Vanagon Camper that wouldn't even need an electric charging station! Solid color. Central cargo space like a truck only better! Truck at home; cheap fun travel, with bed + central space to change(curtains)/eat/relax (not a bus) for vacations.
I think people need to be aware that this appears to be a prototype and not the finished version. Batteries and charge times are improving year over year, and will get there in the next few years (as will the infrastructure - as a charging station was just put in down the street from me). These electric vehicles are currently for early adopters with $$ ( similiar to many things we take for granted today - cell phones, televisions, cars, and computers - I assume if you are on this website then you have adopted some of these technologies). @hoodedswan - just to clarify what I believe the article states- it says that it will be capable of being controlled by an ipad, not that that will be the only method to control. I agree that would be idiotic if that was the case, but does not appear to be so. Innovation in any field is challenging and takes a lot of hard work, effort and ability to rapidly change when needed, or stay with the course even when others doubt....
Top speed of 87 mph 0-62mph acceleration in 11.5 seconds A range of about 186 miles. It makes the original micorbus seem fast... wieloszynski is correct when he says, "An electric microbus for folks wealthy enough to go to their beach houses on the ocean"
Brings back memories of the camper we had when I was a kid. May not be the most attractive vehicle around, but if the price hits an affordable range, my family and I would love one in a few years.
1. A long motor vehicle for carrying passengers, usually along a fixed route. 2. Informal A large or ungainly automobile You have to understand, these were originally manufactured in Germany for German use. Since at the time (1947) streets in Europe, where they were drivable at all, were positively tiny; even public transportation vehicles had to be designed to be miniscule. So the Germans built this to actually BE a bus, and with variations, as a platform for a cargo and utility truck too. I'm just disappointed they sloped the front. There's no real reason for it as there isn't an engine to stick out there for cooling, it doesn't go fast enough long enough to make much difference in charge to range ratio, and sloping the front cost at least a half dozen cubic feet of interior space compared to the original microbus design.
it looks are similar to a ford flex, or a Kia soul, or a like a Chevy HHR, or a.... but most definitly NOT a microbus.
Ain't "going green" grand? An electric microbus for folks wealthy enough to go to their beach houses on the ocean. Next up: all electric motor homes.
A pure electric vehicle that recharges in less than an hour is an improvement but still doesn't cut it as an only vehicle or a long trip vehicle for Americans. Cool idea to use a tablet computer to run the car instead of a built in 1, but you're in deep trouble if the tablet gets lost, stolen or broke.