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Volkswagen is bringing back the iconic Samba bus as an e-classic

Volkswagen is bringing back the iconic Samba bus as an e-classic

Dejan Jovanovic 8 months ago

For $70,000, and a donor vehicle, you too can whizz around silently in an all-electric Volkswagen e-Bulli

You can look at it both ways but the governments banning fossil-fuelled cars, at least in city centres, have opened up a new business opportunity for car manufacturers. Converting classics to run on electricity is a thing now. Aston Martin has recently announced a limited run of 38 electrically powered DB6 models, and Jaguar is offering the million-dollar E-Type Zero.


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The Germans now thought to get in on this action, only instead of a run of electric BMW 507s or Merc Gullwings, we’re getting a VW van. Wolfsburg has just revealed this e-Bulli based on the 1966 classic Samba bus and the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles division will offer the conversion for sale from $70,000, or around AED260,000, on top of the cost for a donor vehicle.

Contracting some of the work to eClassics, a company in Germany already doing electric Beetles, customers will eventually be able to buy electric T2 vans, known as Baywindows, as well as the boxy T3 from the 1980s.

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In the e-Bulli the old 40 horsepower air-cooled engine makes way for a one-speed gearbox and electric motor delivering 212Nm to the wheels, more than twice the power of the original flat-four. The top speed is also higher, limited in the e-Bulli to 130km/h, with instant-torque acceleration from the 45kWh battery pack.

vw volkswagen e-bulli-uae-price-ev1With a fast-charger it takes 40 minutes to charge to 80 percent and a full battery provides a driving range of 200 kilometres. If you’ve ever been in a T1 on the move you’ll be glad to know the e-Bulli comes with multi-link front and rear axles, a new rack-and-pinion steering system, and disc brakes at all four corners.

The lack of the characteristic air-cooled rattle following you around everywhere gives the game away, and you can also tell this e-Bulli apart with its LED headlamps and charge indicators (the charge plug itself is hidden behind the rear licence plate).

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The bigger changes take place inside, with a new centre console integrating the automatic transmission shifter and start-stop button, plus retro touches like a classic speedometer featuring a digital display showing your range and other information, and an authentic period-looking radio with modern tech like Bluetooth and USB. Up in the roof Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ designers planted a tablet to act as a display.

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Now that we’ve reached peak-Safari, when it comes to trends we can only sit back and watch where this whole e-classics thing takes us.


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