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T1 Samba enters the new era as VW e-BULLI

20 March 2020

VW showcased the cute e-BULLI concept
© 2020 Copyright Volkswagen UK press site

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles debuted a unique all-electric minibus. Called simply e-BULLI, the cute vehicle represents the carmaker’s attempt to bring back to life an already forgotten legend from the past – the classic T1 Samba (1966).

The result is a stylish retro-looking conceptual minibus, equipped with the latest drive system technology.

Under the bonnet, the old 4-cylinder boxer engine from the T1 Samba is replaced with a combination between an electric motor (83hp) and a lithium-ion battery pack with a usable capacity of around 45 kWh.

The transmission used is a revolutionary automatic, single-gear. A unique technical characteristic of the e-BULLI is the position of the gear lever – placed right in between the driver’s and the front passenger’s seats.

VW e-BULLI charging port
© 2020 Copyright Volkswagen UK press site

A notable detail is the position of the buttons that enable the e-BULLI’s driver to choose between different drive modes available. What’s special about them is the fact that during a certain mode, e-BULLI’s drive can choose the degree of recuperation.

Although quite compact-looking, the cute e-BULLI concept can reach a top speed of 131 km/h (electronically limited) – a lot more than its predecessor’s.

eBulli’s electric drive system is a product of collaboration between VWCV (Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles) and eClassics. Positioned at the rear of the car, it controls the energy flow between the motor and the lithium-ion battery pack. it’s during this process of energy exchange that the stored direct current becomes and alternating current.

All of the standard parts that are used for the electric drive system are in-house made by the VW Group Components manufacturing facility.

The inspiring interior of  VW e-BULLI
© 2020 Copyright Volkswagen UK press site

Just like the ID.3 and the upcoming ID.BUZZ, e-BULLI’s battery is placed underneath the floor panels – making more space for the comfortable ride of the passengers. This also lowers the gravity center of the e-BULLI, making it more stable, safer and with an enhanced performance during ride.

An intriguing detail of the e-BULLI is the battery charging process. It happens via a combined charging system socket, which means that e-BULLI can use either a direct current or an alternating current to fill in its battery.

The stylish coupe of  VW e-BULLI
© 2020 Copyright Volkswagen UK press site

When utilizing the direct current, VW e-BULLI’s battery will need just 40 minutes to recover 80% of its capacity. When fully charged, VW’s minibus will have an autonomous range of about 200 km.

Apart from the innovative drive system, the retro-looking vehicle comes with a revised suspension – now featuring updated adjustable shock absorbers and coilover struts as well as a new rack-and-pinion steering mechanism.

VW e-BULLI is a modern day vehicle with an old school look
© 2020 Copyright Volkswagen UK press site

Just like the exterior, the interior of the concept also sports a combination of old school and modern details. Soft leather upholstery in bright colors is combined with an updated look of the centrally positioned speedometer. It is accompanied by two digital screens that enable the driver to easily control the majority of the vehicle's functionalities.


Author: D. Ilieva