Volkswagen Gives a Classic Bus an Electric Upgrade


Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) has unveiled the e-BULLI concept, an all-electric vehicle that produces zero emissions on the road. 

Equipped with the drive system components of the latest Volkswagen electric vehicles (EVs), the concept vehicle is based on a T1 Samba Bus produced in 1966 and comprehensively restored. VWCV partner eClassics is planning to offer T1 conversions in the style of the new e-BULLI.

VWCV engineers and designers formed a team along with drive system technicians from Volkswagen Group Components and the eClassics company, which specializes in electric car conversions. As the basis for the future e-BULLI, the team chose a T1 Samba Bus that, prior to its conversion, spent half a century on the roads of California. 

The 43-hp four-cylinder boxer engine gave way in the e-BULLI to a silent Volkswagen electric motor delivering 82 hp. Power transmission is by means of a single-speed gearbox. The drive system is coupled with the gear lever, which is now positioned between the driver’s and front passenger’s seat. The e-BULLI reaches a top speed of 80 mph (electronically limited). With the original drive system, the T1 managed a top speed of 65 mph.

All of the electric drive system’s standard parts are being made by Volkswagen Group Components in Kassel. The lithium-ion modules are designed at the Braunschweig site and are then transferred by eClassics into a battery system appropriate for the T1.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles modified the exterior and interior design in parallel with the new electric drive system. An interior concept has been created for the e-BULLI – the new look and corresponding technical solutions were developed by the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles design center in cooperation with VWCV Vintage Vehicles and the communications department. 

Volkswagen is offering the T1 conversion, complete with redesigned front and rear axles, at prices starting from €64,900.

Photo: Volkswagen’s e-BULLI concept vehicle

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