The Combi Van is back, well let’s hope so, in the form of the Bulli compact people mover shown at the New York Motor Show last week.
The Original Combi Van debuted over 60 years ago in 1950 and just like the Beetle it became a cultural icon and a favourite of surfers and getaway families across the globe. Even today, there are still a sizeable number of these vans on the road.
The idea for the Volkswagen van didn’t come from Germany though; it was the idea of Dutch VW importer, Ben Pon, who sketched the world’s first van (people mover) in 1947 over a picture of a Beetle.
Whichever way you look at it, the Bulli microbus concept is ‘cool’ and if Volkswagen decides to build it, then we can see an equally large following from surfers, weekend adventurers and small families needing space before power.
Although the Bulli can be fitted with an array of Volkswagen’s direct injection petrol and diesel powertrains, this particular concept is powered by an electric motor and can seat six people. The Bulli is a zero emissions vehicle, which can output 85 kW of power and 270 Nm of toque from standstill.
It’s not exactly slow either, accelerating from 0-100km/h in 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 140km/h, and in this country, that’s plenty.
Combined with a lithium-ion battery, the Bulli will have a range of up to 300 kilometres on a full charge.
The two-tone paint job is a winner, as is the general design and styling of the Bulli, inside and out.
LED’s feature on the Bulli as daytime running lights, and side indicators, due to their strong luminous power and low energy consumption.
It might be a microbus, but there’s over 370- litres of cargo space behind the rear seats, and when you fold all other seats than the driver’s, there’s a whopping 1569-litres of load space or enough for two to sleep on a flat bed.
You’ll love the sound system too, it’s by that legendary Guitar and amp manufacturer, Fender, and I’m told the quality is stupendous.
What you won’t find in the Bulli is a tachometer or standard gearshift mechanism. They have been replaced with a rotary switch, which controls forward and reverse modes, while to start/stop the motor is via a push button.
The touchscreen is in fact a removable iPad, which serves as a controller for the Bluetooth phone and SatNav system, as well as the HVAC system.
There will be plenty of folks that will want to see the Bulli go into production, including your’s truly, but none more so than Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen USA, who says this project is as the top of his wish list.