Volkswagen campers have been the choice of many road warriors since the 1950s. Now, the iconic car manufacturer has just unveiled an electric option of the classic T1 Samba Bus. Although the new-and-improved microbus still boasts its original hippie-era coolness, the revamped e-BULLI is now powered by a 61kW electric motor.
Since the 1960s, the T1 Samba Bus has been a symbol of road adventures across the globe. With enough seating to fit a large family or group of friends, the iconic microbus has been a top VW model for decades.
Now, the German car manufacturer has decided to bring the Samba into the 21st century by electrifying the beloved van. While keeping the recognizable shape of the 21-window body, VW added a 61kW electric motor. And lest you think that the new electric system will slow the van down, not to worry. The state-of-the-art electric motor actually provides twice as much power as the original engine.
The new version of the VW classic was made possible by a collaboration with eClassics, a firm specializing in electric car conversions. Working closely with VW, the company replaced the engines in the Samba Bus models Type 1, 2 and 3 to run on 82-horsepower electric motors instead of the Sambas’ original 43-horsepower four-cylinder motors. The motors work with a 45-kilowatt-hour battery pack, which can charge from empty to 80% in less than an hour. The e-BULLI comes with an estimated range of 124 miles. As far as speed, it can reach a top speed of 81 miles per hour.
The new electric system provides drivers with an extra-smooth ride. According to the company, “Compared to the T1, riding in the e-BULLI feels completely different. This is further enhanced by the chassis, which has also been redesigned: multi-link front and rear axles with adjustable shock absorbers and coilover struts, plus a new rack-and-pinion steering system and four internally ventilated disc brakes contribute to the new dynamic handling being transferred to the road with serene poise.”
With its eight seats and convertible fold-back top, the van still retains its classic style with a few twists. The exterior is painted in a mix of “Energetic Orange Metallic” and “Golden Sand Metallic Matte”. Inside, the seating and the central driver console area have been restored with modern materials, and the interior lighting systems were updated with LED lighting.
If you’d like to get one of these electric VW vans to hit the open road, it will cost $69,500. Unfortunately, they are only available in Germany at this time.
Images via VW