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VW Bulli electric minivan promises 186-mile range and integrated iPad

We wish bad things to buses on a daily basis, but we might have to make an exception for the Volkswagen Bulli -- a compact electric minibus microbus concept.

Rory Reid

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As car fans, we wish bad things to buses on a daily basis, but we might have to make an exception for the Volkswagen Bulli -- a compact electric minibus microbus concept doing the rounds at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

The Bulli's design pays homage to Volkswagen's iconic Samba bus, nodding vaguely towards its predecessor with a two-tone paint job, a (sort of) V on its bonnet and Samba-inspired hubcap-style 18-inch alloy wheels.

It's an attractive little thing, measuring 3.99m in length, 1.75m in width and 1.70m in height, which allows for a six-seater, three up front, three at the back configuration.

The Bulli's front and rear seats are actually benches. Usefully, the rear set fold flat and transform into beds, which appeals to our music festival-going, hippie sensibilities. Users won't be averse to spending time inside the Bulli, either, thanks to an integrated iPad that gives you full control of the vehicle's entertainment system.

The Bulli is powered by an electric propulsion system that comprises a front-mounted, 85kW electric motor and a whopping 40kWh lithium-ion battery mounted in the floor. The battery, for reference, has a far greater capacity than the 24kWh battery in the Nissan Leaf so, unsurprisingly, the Bulli has a whopping 186-mile range -- nearly double that of most electric vehicles.

That range doesn't come at the expense of performance, either. Volkswagen says the Bulli will hustle from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds and go on to an electronically limited top speed of 87mph.

Currently, there's no word as to when the Bulli will be released, but we'd love to see this cruising the streets sooner rather than later, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Have a gander through our photo gallery above for a closer look.

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