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Volkswagen electrifies classic Type 2 Samba with 82bhp motor

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Wolfsburg and eClassics team up again to create a zero-emissions variant of the iconic Microbus

Volkswagen and German-based electrification specialist eClassics have teamed up to build the new e-Bulli: a 1966 Type 2 Microbus fitted with an electric motor from the e-Up city car.

As with the electric version of the original Beetle revealed last year, the split-screen van has been completely restored, before having its flat-four petrol motor replaced by the e-Up’s 82bhp electric motor – making this the most powerful ‘official’ version of the Type 2. 

Power is sent to the rear axle through a single-speed gearbox and Volkswagen claims the van will hit an electronically limited top speed of 81mph – 16mph more than the original version.

A 45kWh lithium ion battery pack is fitted in the middle of the chassis for optimal weight distribution and it can be charged from empty to 80% capacity in 40 minutes. The e-Bulli’s claimed range is said to be more than 124 miles. 

As well as the all-new powertrain, eClassics has made a series of chassis modifications to enhance the vehicle’s usability. Adjustable shock absorbers and coil-over struts feature at the front and rear for improved ride comfort, while the old car’s drum brakes have made way for more powerful ventilated discs. 

The minimal visual exterior modifications are limited to the addition of LED headlights and rear-mounted charge-state indicators. The interior has been more obviously modernised and features a new automatic gear selector, ignition button, orange-white seating and marine-style wooden flooring throughout.

Like the e-Käfer electric Beetle, the e-Bulli features a modern infotainment touchscreen, which offers smartphone connectivity functions, displays energy usage information and plays music through an uprated sound system. 

The e-Bulli is not a one-off: eClassics will produce the electrified classic at its Renningen workshop alongside the e-Käfer, selling it in Germany for €64,900 (£59,200). London-based Jack’s Garage, which has the rights to build eClassics’ electric Beetle, also plans to offer the eBulli in the coming months. It is currently seeking external investment with the aim of establishing a mass-production output and bringing the price of its models down. 

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