After years of teasing the public with Microbus concepts, some of which actually looked pretty close to the original thing, VW VW, -1.30% will resurrect the popular 1960s MPV as an electric vehicle. Autocar reports that a production version of the recently seen BUDD-e concept will use the MEB platform alongside the ID, which recently made its debut in concept form at the Paris motor show.
The electric Microbus will offer seating for seven, which means it won’t be a crossover made to merely look like the original on the outside. One element that should make fans of the original warm and fuzzy will be the location of the 122kW electric motor; it will be integrated into the rear axle and will drive the rear wheels. A liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery will occupy the floor as in the ID concept, and the longer wheelbase and the wider track should give the battery plenty of room
According to Autocar, the electric Microbus will have a range of 500 kilometers as the ID concept promised, which translates into 310 miles on a single charge. When it comes to the exterior design, the EV is expected to follow the looks of the original’s upright windshield and an upright rear end, with the interior designed to maximize space. Don’t expect a blunt nose like on the original Bus — it will still need to pass crash tests. The EV is also likely to be slightly shorter than the current Transporter, which is no longer offered in North America.
The BUDD-e concept seen above is not how the Microbus will probably look; the design has not been completed and will inevitably be larger than the BUDD-e to offer seating for seven. Whether it will retain the door architecture of the original remains to be seen — the new MPV is unlikely to rely on a difficult-to-access third row of seats currently offered in a number of SUVs.
When will you be able to silently cruise the Pacific Coast Highway with a surfboard on top of the electric Microbus? VW plans to produce the ID starting in 2019, and it will be one of five electric models alongside the Microbus that the auto maker plans to bring to market before 2020.