2011 Volkswagen Bulli Concept live photos
2011 Volkswagen Bulli Concept live photosEnlarge Photo
If you're in the States, you may be just starting your day.
But in Switzerland, the flurry of activity during the first media day at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show is at its peak.
With record numbers of concept and production-car launches, our team is shooting photos and posting details as fast as they can.
Their latest concept "has the potential to establish a new people carrier," VW said, which may be code for a thought something like, "This one we really do intend to launch as a production car."
Unlike the rear-engined original, the Bulli Concept is driven by an 85-kilowatt (114-horsepower) electric motor powering the front wheels. Volkswagen says the 40-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack provides roughly 185 miles of range.
Acceleration isn't spectacular, at 11.5 seconds for the 0-to-62-mph sprint, but then, the same distance in the old bus was measured in minutes. Top speed is limited to less than 90 miles per hour.
The Bulli is also designed to accept VW's conventional front-wheel-drive powertrain as well, using either gasoline or clean diesel engines. At 13 feet long, 68.5 inches wide, and 66 inches tall, it is shorter but wider than the original Microbus.
Clever interior features include a front bench seat that both splits and folds, a rear seat that stows for more cargo space, and even a camper function using a sleeping platform made by flattening the seats.
The name Bulli is what Germans called the original Type 2 Volkswagen known in the States as the Bus or Microbus. Sadly, once again, a German name turns out to mean something not very pleasant, just like Audi's e-tron line of electric cars.
Largely indistinguishable from a conventional V-12 Phantom on the outside, it houses a fully electric drivetrain with a lithium-ion battery pack roughly the size of the Houses of Parliament.
More precisely, that would be a 71-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that provides current to a pair of water-cooled electric motors producing 290 kW (388 hp) of power.
Recharging the regal beast--a task delegated to the help, naturally--is accomplished via a pair of large three-phase chargers of the sort normally used only in large commercial vehicles.
The electric Phantom is only an experimental vehicle at the moment, as indicated by its 102 EX designation in the Rolls-Royce prototype log. But the car has its own website, so perhaps production may not be entirely out of the question.
Cost? If you have to ask ....