This may look like an ordinary 1972 Volkswagen Type 2 Microbus on the outside, but it packs some modern technology on the inside. VW replaced the original internal-combustion engine with an electric powertrain from EV West — a company that specializes in electric conversions. It’s the latest example of the trend of electrifying vintage cars.
The electric powertrain was taken from a 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf. The electric motor, one-speed transmission, and charging system sit in the rear of the vehicle, where the stock 60-horsepower flat-four engine originally sat. With an output of 134 hp, the electric motor is a major upgrade over the original gasoline engine. The Microbus’ independent rear suspension allowed everything to slot into place easily, according to VW.
A 35.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack allows for a range of 125 miles, Volkswagen claims. That’s the same as the e-Golf the battery pack was taken from. The pack is actually divided into multiple units, housed in fireproof enclosures under the front seats, and in the former location of the fuel tank. VW and EV West kept the stock manual shifter, but it now actuates park, neutral, reverse, driver, and increased regenerative braking, just like in the e-Golf. A charge port sits behind the stock fuel door.
This isn’t the first classic car Volkswagen has converted to electric power. The automaker electrified an older 1962 Microbus to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Silicon Valley research center. That ‘Bus, dubbed Type 20, had other modern features, including a facial recognition scanner and holographic infotainment system. In Germany, VW offer an electric conversion kit for the Beetle. Aftermarket companies like EV West will sell you the parts to give your classic an electric makeover, while Jaguar will build you a complete electric E-Type.
Volkswagen is planning new electric cars as well. The company just started producing the ID.3 hatchback in Germany, and broke ground on an expansion of its Tennessee factory in anticipation of electric car production in 2022. One of the new electric cars will be a modern interpretation of the Microbus, based on the ID.Buzz concept. That model has already been confirmed for the United States, along with a crossover based on the ID.Crozz concept. We’ll likely get a production version of the recently unveiled ID.Space Vizzion concept as well.
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