The Volkswagen Bus, namely the T1 Samba, has remained an icon to this day. Sadly it has been decades since it was last seen in production - but we may yet see its revival. Ditching its 4-cylinder boxer engine, Volkswagen has unveiled the e-BULLI concept, an all-electric Bus based on the aforementioned T1 Samba.
It is worth noting that what you see here is a T1 Samba Bus made in 1966. It is also worth noting that the e-BULLI is a conversion concept, and not something meant for production of the Bus from the ground up.
Outside, you see that this Bus has been given a two-tone finish in Energetic Orange Metallic paired with Golden Sand Metallic Matte. Gone also are the headlight bulbs of old as they have been replaced with LED units. LEDs are found on the rear as well, along with charge indicators which signal to a driver walking up to the e-BULLI how much charge the lithium-ion battery still has even before they reach the vehicle.
On the inside, there was, of course, a need to update the Bus. Gone is the old gear shifter of old and in its place is a new automatic transmission selector. The speedometer is still based heavily on the original cluster, but it now has a digital display built into it. There is also a tablet integrated into the roof console that provides more information for the driver.
While looking like a retro unit, the radio comes equipped with DAB+, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a sound system that boasts out-of-sight components and an active subwoofer.
Volkswagen’s We Connect system also allows for digital connectivity and essential information to be sent directly to the e-BULLI owner’s mobile phone.
Much like the exterior, the interior also gets a two-tone theme in Saint Tropez and Saffrano Orange. This being the iconic Samba Bus, it has seating adequate for up to eight people.
Powering the e-BULLI is a Volkswagen electric motor that has – wait for it – 82 horsepower with about 212 Nm of torque. Now while these aren’t stellar numbers, take note that these are double what the original engine of the T1 Samba Bus used to produce. Never before has an “official” T1 packed as much power and torque as the e-BULLI. Power is transmitted to a single-speed gearbox, and it can reach an electronically-limited speed of 129 km/h.
Charging of the e-BULLI’s batteries can reach 80% in 40 minutes, and it has a claimed 200-kilometer range.
For fans of the T1 Samba Bus, the e-BULLI concept may very well be their last step into finally completing their restoration project. Given that it will set them back around 64,900 Euros (approximately PhP 3.582M), which includes in-and-out paint jobs, plus the redesigned front and wheel axles, and the new electric engine, it really is a bit of a stretch, though. But for those who have a passion for it, and perhaps a bigger wish to help Mother Nature with a clean and green machine, then this may be worth its price.