- Volkswagen and eClassics have partnered to bring the e-BULLI EV Microbus conversion to life.
- The conversion uses VW electric components.
- The starting cost of $70,100 requires you already have a Microbus.
The electric version of the classic VW Microbus has been on the horizon, but not one quite like this. Last summer at its Innovation and Engineering Center, Volkswagen unveiled a Type 2 Microbus that was converted to an electric vehicle. They called it the Type 20, and it was amazing. Now the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) team has partnered with eClassics to bring an electrified 1966 T1 version of that bus to life.
Built with VW electric components, the e-BULLI conversion picks up where the Type 20 concept left off. (Quick history lesson: in Germany, Bulli was the nickname of the Microbus.) The VWCV and eClassic have removed the four-cylinder boxer engine and replaced it with a single motor that generates 82 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers may seem low, but they’re actually double that of the original powertrain. The top speed is a blazing electronically limited 81 mph.
Inside, the shifter has been moved from the steering column to the center console and now includes a B setting for adjustable braking recuperation. It’s also home to a stop/start button for the electric system. In the dash, an analog speedometer keeps the retro feeling alive but is augmented with a digital display that shows information such as range, if the car is plugged into a charger, and if the parking brake is on.
Like the original version of the converted vehicle, the powertrain is in the trunk. It’s joined by the charger unit, which supports 50-kW charging via a CCS port hidden behind the license plate. The 45.0-kWh battery pack under the floor provides a range of about 124 miles.
If you’ve ever ridden in a Microbus, you know the ride isn’t that great. Fortunately, the conversion comes with a new multi-link suspension in the front and back with adjustable shocks. That should smooth out those bumps much better than the 1960s technology of the original vehicle.
Inside and out the e-BULLI has received a two-tone make-over in Energetic Orange Metallic and Golden Sand Metallic Matte paint. Throw in some LED running lights, in the ceiling between the driver and passenger, and a companion we Connect app sharing details about charging, and the e-BULLI is an impressive fusion of old and new.
Really, the only issue is that eClassics is based in Europe. The company will do T1, T2, and T3 conversions with the T1 workover starting at $70,100. Plus you would have to ship them your Microbus. Of course, there are U.S. companies available, too. One that has been transforming old VWs into silent show cars is Zelectric. They’re not using VW components for their conversions like eClassics, but you also don’t have to ship your car to Europe.