The electrification of classic cars is increasingly common, but would you do it?
Isn't the rattly engine sound of a Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi part of the charm? Nevertheless, Volkswagen of America commissioned (American) west coast electric vehicle conversion specialist EV West to construct an electrified 1972 Volkswagen Type 2 Bus, using the e-Golf powertrain.
Imagine the petrol station attendant's face!
"Their passion for classic-car culture and commitment to renewable energy made EV West the ideal choice for this project," said Mathew Renna, VP G4, Volkswagen North American Region. "We thought, who better to see if the e-Golf powertrain would be the perfect fit for our older vehicles. It's great to see that the spirit of hot rodding is going to live on into the electric age."
The stock powertrain and 35.8 kWh battery system from the donor 2017 e-Golf gives the e-Bus an approximate range of 125 miles (just over 200km). The powertrain sits in the rear compartment of the e-Bus, which was previously occupied by that charismatic air-cooled 60-horsepower (45kW) four-cylinder engine. According to EV West the independent rear suspension of the Type 2 Bay Window makes a perfect mate to the transverse driveline which is contained in a single unit, housing the 100kW synchronous AC permanent magnet electric motor, one-speed transmission and charging system.
Inside, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference... but your ears will quickly notice something is absent!
The rest of the e-Bus remains mostly unchanged. The battery units are contained inside custom engineered, reinforced and fireproof enclosures located under the front seats and in the former location of the fuel tank. The standard long-throw gearlever also remains but now actuates park, reverse, neutral, drive, and the regenerative braking modes (PRNDB) that are all familiar aspects of the e-Golf. To further maintain its authentic feel, the e-Bus is fitted with a classically styled multi-function digital EV gauge in the dashboard. This gauge allows the operator to cycle through multiple views and monitor vehicle outputs.
Powertrain is borrowed from the series production E-Golf.
"We are very excited to be a part of this project," said Michael Bream, Founder and CEO of EV West. "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."