1966 Electric VW e-Bulli: The Samba Bus gets a Restomod Power Upgrade

Just last month, the fun people at Volkswagen sent out a teaser image of an electrified Samba Bus they called the e-Bulli.

Originally scheduled to debut at the 2020 Techno Classica Show in Essen, it has understandably been delayed due to some global pandemic thing. Much like everyone else in the world, VW has decided to go virtual and debut the Samba online.

This automotive icon replaces the original 4 cylinder boxer gasoline engine with a 62 kW electric motor, so what does that mean?

  • Electric: 82 HP vs. Gas: 43 HP
  • Torque: 156 lb-ft vs. Gas: 75 lb-ft
  • Electric: Top Speed 81 mph* vs. Gas Top Speed: 65 mph

*Electronically Limited

Like most electric cars, the Samba Bus has a one-speed transmission and is controlled with a shifter in between the beautifully crafted front seats. To most people, the available settings look family: P R N D B, where B is the new member of the family that controls the amount of energy being recovered while braking.

As you may have guessed, the motor is mounted in the back and then 45 kWh battery is located along the middle of the car floor, which should give this Samba Bus improved handling with the low center of gravity. It’s safe to assume that to accommodate that battery, the VW engineers were more than happy to redesign the Bus with modern comforts like multi-link front and rear axles with adjustable shocks and coil-over struts.

Throw in an updated rack-and-pinion steering system and ventilated disc brakes at each corner and this has no climbed into the Top 10 of desired Road Trip Cars (that have a range of under 150 miles).

Using DC fast charging, the Samba Bus will be able to charge up to 80 percent in 40 minutes on 50 kW of charging power, which should get it just about 100 miles out of its 124-mile max range.

The interior of the e-Bulli features an amazing interior design with a dual-tone ‘Saint Tropez’ and ‘Saffrano Orange’ scheme, solid wood flooring, updated speedometer with only a two-digit display. Other modern touches are the touch display along with the front headliner, a modernized retro-style radio and of course, the start and stop button for the electric motor.

What’s all this going to cost you?

Try $69,200 at eClassics.

When you compare that with the new Tesla Model Y, which comes in at around five grand less and has a range that is almost triple, you would think that it wins hands down.

but . . . .

The style, nostalgia and wow factor on this Samba Bus are the priceless elements that keep it in the conversation. This could possibly be the perfect soccer mom car of the future.

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