The company that converted a BMW M3 into a battery-electric competitor for the Pikes Peak hill climb in the US has modified an almost 50-year-old Volkswagen Kombi to also run on electrics, in this case the powertrain from the outgoing VW e-Golf.
California outfit EV West replaced the Kombi’s original 44kW (60hp) air-cooled, flat-four 2.0-litre petrol engine with the 100kW (75hp) electric unit from the e-Golf.
But that’s about the only thing that differentiates the “e-Bus”from the original 1972 Type 2 Kombi – certainly to the naked eye.
As the pictures show, EV West kept the exterior – painted Kansas beige and pastel white – unmodified.
The old fuel filler flap is still there, only it hides the plug-in EV connection. The bonnet/cover over the rear engine bay is still there too, only it hides the electric motor.
Inside, the Kombi houses its batteries in reinforced, fireproof compartments under the front seats, where the fuel tank had been.
The conversion kept the automatic gearshift, though it now shifts to PRNDB – park, reverse, neutral, drive and B, for a regenerative braking mode – the same as the e-Golf.
The Kombi’s independent rear suspension mates with the transverse driveline contained in a single unit that houses the 100Kw synchronous AC permanent magnet electric motor, one-speed transmission and charging system. The powertrain and 35.8kWh battery system gives the e-Bus a range of around 200km.
VW North America says e-Bus showcases the “possibilities of the e-Golf powertrain to motivate class VW models.” Michael Bream, CEO of EV West, said: “Merging a historic model from an iconic brand with the technology of today, is just one of many ways that we can step closer to a more sustainable future while continuing to enjoy our rich automotive heritage.”