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Volkswagen New Bulli concept

Volkswagen is hoping to court a new generation of Earth-loving types with a modern, electric rendition of the famous Type 2 Microbus.

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Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Name that car

Volkswagen is hoping to court a new generation of Earth-loving types with a modern, electric rendition of the famous Type 2 Microbus.

Volkswagen enthusiasts will welcome the sight of a plate-sized VW badge, made famous by its presence on the Type 2 van. In the US, this vehicle was colloquially dubbed the Microbus, while in Germany the car became popularly known as the Bulli, hence the name of the new concept.

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Electric hippie, part I

Unlike the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive Type 2, the New Bulli has a front-mounted electric motor and is, naturally, front-wheel drive.

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Electric hippie, part II

Volkswagen claims impressive numbers for the drivetrain, such as the 300km range and a one-hour charging time.

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Of doors and windows

The Bulli's doors are hinged, similar to those on the Type 2. Later Volkswagen Microbuses would get sliding side doors. One area where the Bulli does not compete with the Type 2 is quantity of windows, which numbered up to 23 in the original vehicle.

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Chill man

The chrome dish alloy wheels evoke the look of the Type 2's hubcaps. The electric motor and 40kWh Lithium-ion battery give the Bulli 85kW of power and 270Nm of torque. It gets to 100km/h in a sedate 11.5 seconds.

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Mmm sandwich

The Lithium-ion battery pack is sandwiched in the chassis, which keeps its centre of gravity low. Volkswagen says the platform could also accommodate one of its petrol or diesel engines.

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People or things?

As the Bulli is not nearly as long or tall as the Type 2, its cargo space is smaller, but the rear seats can be folded flat to maximise space.

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Things

The front bench also folds down in a two-thirds split, leaving the driver's seat up.

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Apple power

Volkswagen ditches the excellent RNS510 system for an integrated iPad, complete with a mount, that handles all the entertainment and navigation functions.

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Bench warmer

With its bench seats, the Bulli can carry up to six people.

Via CNET

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