Volkswagen Bulli Concept

Concept Cars 17 Mar 2011
Volkswagen Bulli Concept

Presented at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Volkswagen Bulli Concept is a modern reinterpretation of the original 1950 Bulli – known as ‘Microbus’ in the US. It features a six-passenger cabin and an electric powertrain.

Volkswagen Bulli Concept The Volkswagen Type 2 (internal code T1 or Transporter 1) was presented in 1950 and introduced the “van” concept for the first time.

Just like the Type 1 (the Beetle) it became famous with different names: Bulli, Hippie-van and Microbus.

With the 2011 Bulli Concept, Volkswagen virtually completes its reinterpretation of this iconic model, started in 2001 when the Microbus Concept debuted at the Geneva Show; as Volkswagen states, “the necessary, sustainable technologies are now at hand”.

The exterior design combines modern lines influenced by the current ‘Design DNA’ with styling elements that are reminiscent of the original Bulli, such as the two-tone paint scheme and the front end with the distinctive “V” shape.

Volkswagen Bulli Concept Interior Volkswagen Bulli Concept Interior

The cabin has an essential design and can accommodate six passengers in two rows of seats, thanks to its flat floor.

Volkswagen Bulli Concept Technical Illustration The infotainment system features a removable iPad which serves as a multifunctional touchscreen., controlling the media center, the navigation system and the Bluetooth hands-free telephone system.

The electric powertrain uses a 85 kW motor which dlivers 270 Nm of torque and is fed by a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 40 kWh, allowing a maximum range of up to 300 km.

The Bulli accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.5 seconds, and reaches a top speed electronically limited to 140 km/h.

The new Bulli could establish a new model segment for the brand, next to the Caddy, Touran, Sharan and Caravelle models.

From the official Press Release:

The Design

Volkswagen Bulli Concept The team led by Walter de Silva, Head of Volkswagen Group Design, and Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the Volkswagen brand, developed the “design DNA” for the modern era based on styling principles of the bestselling Beetle, Golf I and T1.

The new edition of the Bulli is 3.99 metres long, 1.75 metres wide and 1.70 metres tall. The T1 was somewhat longer and taller, but narrower.

With a wheelbase of 2.62 metres, the Bulli utilises the overall length very well. Also striking here are the Bulli’s relatively large track widths (1.50 m front and rear) in relation to body width.

Front end

Volkswagen Bulli Concept Like the Samba bus before it, the Bulli being presented in Geneva also has two-tone paint – in this case white and red. The “V” on the bonnet, is kept white.

The hood does house the engine: instead of rear-wheel drive with a boxer engine, as on the Samba, the Bulli has an electric motor located forward of the front axle and front-wheel drive.

In keeping with the Volkswagen design DNA, there is a horizontal layout of the narrow dual headlights with L-shaped LED daytime running lights and turn indicators implemented as LEDs arranged in an inverted L shape at each outer corner.

Located between the headlights in the hood is, as always, the VW logo. On the level beneath, once again arranged in a horizontal line – are the air intakes for the passenger compartment and for battery cooling or for cooling the alternative conventional drives.

Finally, the bumper that is seamlessly integrated in the front end completes the design. Laterally, it exhibits a large round fog light on each side, another air intake in the middle, and a front spoiler in black below. This line matches the lines of the side sills.

Side profile

Volkswagen Bulli Concept The Bulli’s two-tone paint also distinguishes the sides. Treated in white is the entire area above what is known as the character line. Originating in the wings is a white stripe that runs to the distinctive D-pillars; above them, the entire roof section is painted in this color.

The continuous line of windows creates an especially striking contrast between the white sections. Here the visually slender black pillars executed in the style of the 2001 Microbus concept are visually striking. Painted in red are the door mirror housings protruding from the line of windows.

Beneath the character line is the red body area. Design elements such as the distinctive wheel housings, the additional shape modulation in the door surfaces above the side sills and the headlights that wrap around to the sides with minimal seams are details that would not have been possible to manufacture in this form and precision on a T1. Concealed in the sandwiched floor behind the sills is the 1,450 kg Bulli’s lithium-ion battery.

The white door handles are practical, opening in the direction of pull. The 18-inch alloy wheels are especially attractive. At their centers are stylized chrome hubcaps – another tribute to the bus of years past. Shorter than ever are the overhangs at the front and rear.

Rear section: The Volkswagen design DNA with its horizontal lines also dominates the rear of the new Bulli. Viewed from the bottom upwards, above the body-colored bumper (including black, stylized diffuser) there is the tailgate that extends across the entire width of the vehicle.

In the tailgate, the narrow LED rear lights continue a theme from the Microbus concept of 2001. At the center, but smaller than at the front end: the VW symbol. When all six seating locations are fully occupied, there is a 370 litre bootspace behind the tailgate.

Interior Design

Volkswagen Bulli Concept Interior The passenger compartment is immersed in light during the day thanks to its panoramic sunroof.

Like the T1 in times past, thanks to its level floor the new Bulli is also equipped with a single bench seat in front. The van offers space for three in the rear as well.

A removable iPad in the centre console serves as a multifunctional touchscreen.

Along with Internet-based iPad applications and the media centre, it also handles control of such functions as Bluetooth hands-free telephone and a navigation system. Integrated right on the iPad mount are controls for the climate control system and the centrally located hazard warning switch.

Volkswagen Bulli Concept Interior Running laterally across the entire width is a line with air vents. In front of the driver, there is a speedometer in the shape of a semicircle.

A color multifunction display, also semi- circular in shape, can be used to view and control (via multifunctional keys in the steering wheel and on it) the navigation system, telephone, trip computer and media centre – the entire unit of speedometer and multifunction display also communicates with the iPad.

The key word here is sound: the system is produced by guitar and amplifier manufacturer Fender.

What is not found in the Bulli is a tachometer (unnecessary with an electric motor) or a conventional gear shift or gear selection lever (also unnecessary with an electric motor). The latter is replaced by a rotary switch to the right of the driver, which is used to activate forward and reverse gears. A pushbutton in the same switch is used to start and stop the motor. Another rotary switch to the left of the driver is used to control the lighting functions.

The outer and middle seat positions of the front bench seat can be folded down (2/3 split); the rear beach seat, meanwhile, can be completely stowed. When the rear bench seat is stowed, cargo capacity increases to 1,600 liters. In addition – and here the new Bulli is reminiscent of its legendary ancestor – the seat system can be transformed into a large reclining surface with just a few manual movements. This turns the compact MPV into a compact camper – the ultimate companion for a weekend trip.

At least as important for many users, however, is that the seating system should not only be versatile but also offer maximum comfort.

The seat position is comfortably high and is equally relaxing. As an added benefit, it offers an optimized view forward as well, just like in the T1.

Contributing to peace of mind aboard today’s vehicle is the fact that the new era Bulli is equipped with all conceivable safety features. And that is the crucial difference: the car has essentially been reinvented since the days of the first T1 aka the Bulli aka the Microbus.


Image Gallery

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