Monday, February 28, 2011

Volkswagen Reinvents the Microbus with Bulli EV Concept Study

Volkswagen will show a new concept model in Geneva called the Bulli, which is a development of the Microbus study from 2001. However, at 3.99 meters long, 1.75 meters wide and 1.70 meters tall, with a wheelbase of 2.62 meters, the six-seater compact is more compact than the its predecessor. Volkswagen claims that the interior is spacious enough for six passengers, with three seating up front and three at the back.

The boot volume is 370 liters, but it can be extended to 1,600 liters when the rear bench is folded. The Bulli can also be turned into a camper van, since the seat system can be transformed into a large reclining surface.

The minivan is fitted with a removable iPad in the center console that serves as an infotainment touchscreen, controlling functions such as Bluetooth hands-free telephone, navigation system and media center.

The concept is powered by an electric motor linked to a battery that enables it to cover up to 300 km (185 miles) on a single charge. The motor's output is 85 kW, while torque value is 270 Nm (199 lb-ft), available from the first push of the pedal. The lithium-ion battery has a maximum storage capacity of 40 kWh, with Volkswagen claiming that a complete recharge of the battery takes less than an hour when done at an electric refueling station.

The company said the Bulli Microbus accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h [62 mph] in 11.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph). The concept can also incorporate VW's petrol and diesel engines, with displacements between 1.0 and 1.4-liter.

Volkswagen doesn't say anything about the Bulli going into production, but admits it "has the potential to establish a new, fifth brand of people carrier next to the Caddy, Touran, Sharan and its large counterpart – the Caravelle".

By Dan Mihalascu


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