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This Volkswagen Type 2 bus now runs on electric power

It is propelled by an e-Golf powertrain with a range of 200km

We really want to own a classic vehicle powered by modern propulsion. Should be fun. PHOTO FROM VOLKSWAGEN

If there’s one automaker that can’t wait to transition to electrified mobility, that’s probably Volkswagen, the German car manufacturer that famously got embroiled is some emissions-cheating scandal involving its diesel engines. And now, it looks like the brand is having a lot of fun experimenting with electrification. Say hello to the Volkswagen e-Bus, which is essentially a 1972 Type 2 van (popularly known as Microbus, Kombi or Transporter) that has been fitted with the 2017 e-Golf’s electric powertrain.

Isn’t it surreal seeing a Kombi van with an electric charging port? Best of both worlds. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

Transformed by American electric-vehicle conversion specialist EV West, the iconic minibus is now propelled by a 100kW synchronous AC permanent-magnet electric motor that draws juice from a 35.8kWh battery system and yields some 200km of driving range from a single full charge. This powertrain replaces the vehicle’s previous 60hp air-cooled four-cylinder engine in the rear compartment. The setup is equipped with a one-speed transmission, like most EV systems are.

Your favorite neighborhood mechanic will probably just scratch his head in disbelief. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

Besides the electric motor, most exterior and interior features of the van have been retained. In fact, even its multifunction digital EV gauge adopts a retro appearance in keeping with the e-Bus’s overall hippie vibe.

There’s nothing in here to suggest that this is now electric. Unless you look closely. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

The e-Bus was commissioned by Volkswagen of America, and put on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, the other day (November 21). While this project seems like a purely amusing undertaking for now, it also brings into focus the possibility of automotive companies providing EV conversion kits for old automobiles. After all, who wouldn’t want to revive a classic car with a modern power source?



Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 24 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. The rest, as they say, is rock and roll. He writes the column ‘Spoiler’.



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